The East London office space for Black Kite, an independent visual effects and design studio, has been completed by Bureau de Change. Referencing the site’s industrial past, the practice curated a series of intersecting and carved-out cylinders, configuring a sequence of spaces with differing degrees of privacy.

Project Name: BlackKite Studio London
Studio Name: Bureau de Change architects

BlackKite Studio London by Bureau de Change architects - Sheet4
©Bureau de Change architects

A controlled working environment was specified in the client’s brief, with the need for production and colour suites that are shielded from outside lights and sounds. In response to these conditions, Bureau de Change developed a spatial strategy that was informed by the site’s historical function as an Engineers and Iron Foundry. The region was active throughout the Victorian era, composed of industrial sites and stables.

“We are proposing a scheme that extracts and interpolates volumes and motifs of traditional Victorian foundries and kilns to create a gradient of introvert to extrovert spaces, seamlessly integrated together through a bespoke layout and design language,” said Katerina Dionysopoulou, co-founder and director of Bureau de Change.

BlackKite Studio London by Bureau de Change architects - Sheet6
©Bureau de Change architects

Existing structural columns provided a grid layout for the geometrical forms of traditional kilns to inhabit, organising a spatial composition of dispersed intersecting circles. The controlled and private production, editing, and colour suites are enclosed in a rectangular void that exists within each circular volume. Transitioning thresholds are created by intersecting smaller cylinders with the private working areas.

“Each of the volumes are cladded with painted routed timber surfaces, informed by the verticality of traditional iron kilns’ construction seams. This offers a sense of continuum through the coherence of materialities, textures, and colours.” explained Billy Mavropoulos, co-founder and director of Bureau de Change.

BlackKite Studio London by Bureau de Change architects - Sheet7
©Bureau de Change architects

Carved-out spaces were carved from the volumes and undulating external surfaces at intervals.

Each cavity corresponds to an enclosed working suite, serving as a semi-private break out room. This produces a dual sense of space within a single volume, divided by a single wall. The interior of the cut-outs is finished with natural clay plaster, which contrasts the cylinders’ more angular textures with its warm, uneven surfaces. The positioning of each excavation enables a smooth transition between the closed-off work spaces, the semi-private breakout spaces, and the central open plan work area.

BlackKite Studio London by Bureau de Change architects - Sheet9
©Bureau de Change architects

The open plan lounge in the centre of the ground floor creates a transitioning connection between the front reception area with the open plan production desks. Undesignated exposed production desks allow for accessible and flexible spontaneous usage. One of the cavities houses a stainless steel cladded kitchen, reflecting light to serve as the room’s focal point, located adjacent to the entrance. The curved recycled plastic countertop is encircled with handmade glazed ceramic tiles. Placed among the cavities and negative spaces formed between the volumes are carefully curated furniture, elivening the area to construct a homely and congenial environment.

Varying degrees of porosity and permeability in the work environment is achieved through the bespoke layout, taking into account and accommodating different people’s preferential cultures, values, and behaviours. Each space is carefully placed among others, rendering a seamless integrated layout that provokes a sense of discovery through the layers of spaces.

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