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In January 2018 Roz Barr Architects were commissioned by Selfridges Group to design new Creative Studios for the Creative Direction team. The commission followed a successful interview with Selfridges and Publica in August 2017, where we were selected as architects to become part of their Neighbourhood plan, consisting of a group of 10 international architects that Selfridges have selected for their new strategic projects — a huge honour for our small emerging practice. 

 

The commission allowed for developing a new type of studio through the design of flexible working and meeting spaces for an office of 80 employees. All members of this team are responsible for the creative direction of the world famous store. We worked closely with the client team to create an innovative and inspiring interior that allowed for groups to pin up and brainstorm ideas, show films and presentations, and a library that encouraged less screen time and more research through books and magazines. They also wanted a sustainable approach where possible and something that moved away from the corporate world of office interiors.

 

The palette of finishes and detailing of our interior was formed of natural materials. A black linoleum floor was installed throughout and the existing office floor plate was stripped back to expose rough plaster columns and a concrete soffit which we rendered using a natural clay plaster. We used linoleum pin-boards to create panelled walls for pin up presentations and moveable panels to conceal AV and plasma screens.

 

A new Forum for talks, screening and presentations forms a new type of meeting space for the group and also a venue for events. Tiered seating creates a new landscape in which this multi functioning space can be adapted. A baby blue felt curtain lines the three sides of glazing to this space, improving acoustics and adding a sense of theatre to the room.

 

Birch plywood screens were designed with book shelving and glazed openings to frame offices and meeting rooms, articulating the open plan studio spaces and the interior rooms. The birch plywood also continues to form the ceilings in these cellular rooms improving the acoustics and hiding services which are left exposed throughout the larger open plan office floor plate. Intricate detailing forms a rhythm to these new walls and gives this space character. This palette of materials was complimented and completed with natural plaster walls with a wax finish. The common room and library were framed with full length mesh curtains to allow transparency but contain activity in this space. Meeting pods and sofas were arranged around the library and offered more informal areas for meeting.

 

The main entrance was defined by a new natural Anodised Aluminium entrance door and lockers inspired by mid century American mail rooms. The approach to this project shows the practice’s response to new forms of office design through the specification and detailing of a natural palette of materials and innovative intervention.