Matheson Whiteley configures a nineteenth-century building as a twenty-first-century workplace for design studio North


Maris Mezullis

Matheson Whiteley’s new studio for design agency North is located within the ground floor of a commercial building in London’s Clerkenwell.


Before work began on the project, it seemed that the base building dated from the 1960s, but the process of removing the internal walls and linings revealed a much older warehouse and adjacent infilled light-court that, it was discovered, dated back to the 1870s.


Matheson Whiteley reconfigured the main volume of the studio as a single workspace, drawing its character from the fabric of the original warehouse structure, which has been carefully repaired and exposed. Two floor-to-ceiling steel frames define the support spaces at either end of the main volume. These are partially filled with patterned laminated glass sheets to provide privacy from the street at one end, and a semi-enclosed meeting room at the other. A series of bespoke joinery items have been designed to encourage staff interaction by centralising shared resources such as printers, books and pin-up space.

The infilled light-court has been reconfigured for social gathering, with new softwood wall linings that integrate the kitchen and storage functions. The existing rooflights were updated and motorised to provide natural ventilation and daylight within the depth of the plan.

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