Online | Interiors

Future Office

London, UK

Stylish co-working has landed in London's Knowledge Quarter courtesy of The Office Group and Universal Design Studio

In the age of hybrid working, physical offices are having to work harder than ever to meet the demands of modern professionals. This is more apparent than ever following the opening of 210 Euston Road, the latest venue from workspace brand The Office Group (TOG), designed by Universal Design Studio. Gone are the days of minimal design and playground gimmicks; here, co-working spaces are carefully planned to balance the requirements of a professional environment with a high level of flexibility, comfort and, above all, design quality.

The venue offers a range of workspaces and meeting rooms, along with amenities that include health and wellness facilities, an on-site cafe run by Caravan, a members’ lounge and 16 balcony terraces. The location is a refurbished seven-storey building in a part of London dubbed ‘the Knowledge Quarter’, because it is also home to an array of institutions that include the British Library, the Wellcome Trust and University College London.

We wanted the space to feel elegant and not too of-the-moment

Universal designed the interiors to reflect the grown-up nature of this setting without being too institutional themselves. This is most visible in one the ground-floor workspace, which pairs library-style desks and lamps with an undulating, illuminated ceiling, and in the lobby, where oak-panelled walls are offset by a zigzagging leather desk and sprawling blue velvet lounge seat.

Carly Sweeney, associate director at Universal, says the aim was to create a sense of timelessness. ‘We wanted the space to feel elegant and not too of-the-moment,’ she says. ‘These kinds of buildings age really well, so we didn’t want to do anything that might date it.’

Universal certainly knows a thing or two about designing for longevity. It has been nearly a decade since the studio completed one of its signature projects, the Ace Hotel in Shoreditch, and while the hotel has been recently taken over and refurbished, many of Universal’s interior details were retained rather than replaced. The hope is that 210 Euston Road might repeat the same formula. The key, explains Sweeney, is to focus on high-quality, robust materials and crafted details. ‘It’s about making sure it will wear in a nice way, not wear out,’ she says.

There are many examples of this on show here, from the cork ceiling and tiled bar of the members’ lounge, to the gridded glass partitions that divide up the workspace floors. Flashes of colour and personality are then provided by the more transient elements, like the monochrome-striped textiles, playful lighting fixtures and curated artworks.

TOG offers a range of rental packages to suit small and medium-sized businesses and individual co-working, plus members have access to more than 50 other buildings across the UK and Germany. While the role of the office post-pandemic may still be up for discussion, this workspace model looks set to endure. But even if it doesn’t, it seems likely that this building will.