Timber Office

This is an old fashioned office in a simple old building, filled with light. Its programmatic challenges were decades old: to manage massive amounts of paper filing; create elegant offices for the company’s directors; and to shape an efficient open-plan work space for staff.

We collapsed as many of these things as we could to create a super-dense information core in the heart of the office that could do everything for us. Consolidating all the filing/printing/copying and IT tools here shaped a single destination for all hard-copy information and placement at the office centre delineated staff and director areas.

Material and details developed from the language of dense filing drawers and cabinets in the information core. Fingers of oiled mahogany protrude at staccato intervals and walls are lined with neat rows of files, drawers, and brass label-badges establishing order in this archival area. Entering this little lane in the middle of the office, the flooring changes underfoot, light softens, and space contracts.

Slipping out through a small opening in the cabinetry, the ceiling soars, light floods through windows in ivory plastered walls, and space expands. A deep burgundy carpet continues the rich material palette throughout these workspace areas.

The information core reconciles two worlds. On one side of the core are stamped anti-hierarchical rows of staff teams, on the other the irregular and hierarchical spaces of their directors. Within the core, one side is defined by old-world paper, the other by contemporary information systems. A glowing lattice picks up these two orders as they approach the ceiling, and reconciles them with crystalline geometry.

Not all companies are made for open-plan offices. Not all need break-out spaces, exposed ductwork or putting greens. Some companies do simple things well, and wish simply for space that offers efficiency and quiet dignity.

Photography by Jeremy Toth