The new showroom, for international furniture designers Orangebox, is next to the Grade 1 listed Finsbury Health Centre in Clerkenwell, and is part of a campus of buildings that make up the Bowling Green Lane estate.
The main brick elevations refer to the varied local warehouses and frame a rhythmic composition of two and a half storey high windows. The building form achieves clarity despite complexity balancing the constraints imposed by being next to a listed building in the St Paul’s viewing corridor, rights-to-light issues and local conservation area concerns.
A shaded courtyard defines the building entrance, set back to enclose an existing tree and offers a moment of repose before entering. Concrete floor slabs are exposed and rake back dramatically to reveal a lower ground floor. Each floor of the building has a different plan dictated by the building form, and connected by a sculptural helical stair that winds through the centre of each space. A series of voluminous and interconnected spaces culminate in roof terraces designed by Todd Longstaffe-Gowan, which offer large outside spaces and impressive views.
At each step the building seeks to integrate with its surroundings and carefully improve upon them, respecting local height restrictions, and using striking modern design rooted in a palette of contextually sympathetic materials.