This Sophisticated and Stylish London Coworking Space Stands Out In A Crowded Market

Moxon Architects and Od Interiors have completed LABS House, a stunning new flagship coworking site designed with technology, innovation and people at its core.

LABS House atrium

Moxon Architects, in collaboration with Od Interiors, has completed LABS House, the new flagship site and the latest addition to the LABS Holborn campus. The 80,000 sq ft scheme sees the redevelopment of the existing Bupa House, located on Bloomsbury way, into a nine-floor coworking space with a combination of private and public member areas. The public areas feature a restaurant, two bars and working lounge, whilst the private members’ coworking areas feature 34 meeting rooms, 108 cellular offices, two members bars, an event and presentation space as well as numerous open plan collaborative workspaces and private phone booths.

Premium wood floors, airy settings, and flattering lighting with an energizing color scheme combine to make this more than a place to work, it’s a place to grow and thrive. The design team worked hard to retain the building’s original charm and character, while adding forward-thinking features to make everyday life even more efficient.

With this new opening in the LABS Holborn Campus, LABS continues to create sophisticated, stylish, technology driven workspaces for startups all the way through to established businesses. The growing Holborn campus will allow large communities to collaborate across one of the most iconic areas of London, whilst realizing the company vision for urban communities built with technology, innovation and people at its core.

LABS House seating area

When was the project completed? 

January 2019

How many SF per person?

47 sq. ft per person (80,000 sq. ft in total)

How many employees work here?

Coworking space for 1,700

LABS House meeting space

What kind of meeting spaces are provided?

There are a full range of meeting spaces to suit diverse needs.

What other kinds of support or amenity spaces are provided?

Large capacity lockers for foldable bikes and area in the basement for non-foldable bikes, smaller lockers for personal items, bars & restaurants, member’s gym, all services are pre-bookable online and hirable offices/meeting rooms can be booked via a phone app, large events space, pets allowed, 24-hour access.

LABS House kitchen

 

What is the projects location and proximity to public transportation and/or other amenities?

Set in an area renowned for its rich publishing heritage and stellar transport links, LABS House is surrounded by some of London’s finest bars, restaurants, and entertainment. You are two minutes away from Holborn station, eight minutes from Tottenham Court Road, and a short walk from Oxford Street. A central location and excellent transport links make it the ideal hub to give you access to the city.

Any other information or project metrics?

LABS House is the flagship site for client, LabTech, and the latest addition to the LABS Holborn campus. The 80,000 sq. ft scheme saw the redevelopment of the existing Bupa House, located on Bloomsbury Way, into a nine-floor coworking space with a combination of private and public member areas.

The nine-story scheme, which has an increased capacity of 1,700, combines cutting edge access technology with market leading facilities, all supported by a distinctive design that retain the building’s original charm and character creating a unique and characterful workspace.

The client wanted to create a state-of-the-art coworking facility that really stood out from an already over-crowded market of coworking offerings.

LABS House entrance

Was the C-suite involved in the project planning and design process? If so, how?

During the design and build process, the client was heavily involved in the spatial and aesthetic design development. This allowed for Moxon and Od Interiors to easily develop the project and configure the spaces according to LABS’ branding and future office use with any possible changes or issues quickly resolved.

Please describe any program requirements that were unique or required any special research or design requirements.

The ground floor entrance was reconfigured to provide coworking and break out space for both public and private member use.

A newly formed double height atrium was crucial for spatial intervention and drawing natural light into the open plan entrance that accommodates lounge seating and designated desk spaces for coworking. The atrium was enlarged through the structural frame by more than 100 percent.

LABS House bar

Was there any emphasis or requirements on programming for health and wellbeing initiatives for employees?

The scheme incorporated the typical selection of flexible workspace features that are expected within today’s coworking communities. However, the client was keen to pursue innovative ways to enhance their coworking environment and provide additional facilities that would help them stand out from the crowd. Additional facilities included a member’s gym, cocktail bar and public restaurant.

Were there any special or unusual construction materials or techniques employed in the project?

The scheme sought not only to break the mold of a traditional commercial office environment but also to create a series of unique spaces to support a new type of coworking for individuals and businesses. The building can now comfortably accommodate varying scales of diverse businesses with the agile work spaces designed to actively encourage collaboration and integration. Material choices deliberately veered away from those typically associated with office interiors. Moxon’s creative approach sees the floors stripped back to maximize ceiling height and accentuate the buildings primary structure. The plaster on the existing columns has been removed to reveal the concrete encased steel, serving as a complimentary material to the new pallet that includes oak, black metal, white ceramic tiles and exposed plywood joinery.

LABS House bar

What products or service solutions are making the biggest impact in your space?

Spatial flexibility was a key requirement of the brief. Construction commenced without any tenancy agreements secured. Therefore, the ability to efficiently reconfigure workspaces (both economically and physically) to suit future tenant occupancy expectations was crucial. The key design principal aimed at limiting the potential disruption associated with spatial reconfiguration was to future proof the services installation. Both high- and low-level services were strategically positioned to accommodate both cellular and open-plan spatial arrangements where possible (fit out flexibility). Whilst some disruption associated with partition relocation was inevitable, the high costs typically associated with services alterations were avoided. Movable and stackable walls were also installed to the meeting room suites to provide further ability for reconfiguration to suit user demands.

The majority of the building’s floors suffered from low ceiling heights. By stripping out all suspended ceilings and leaving high level services exposed the visible volume of the floors was significantly increased. This spatial expansion was further enhanced by spraying the exposed structural soffit white. As well as tying in a variety of historic unsightly floor construction methods – originally designed to be concealed – it also provided a constant reflective surface that passively improved lux levels and helped reduce the number of new light fittings required.

LABS House meeting room

What was the hard cost PSF/construction?

£10.5m

What kind of branding elements were incorporated into the design?

Throughout the building, the logo and icon were incorporated onto the glass partitions, holding screens on the TVs.

LABS House lockers and open space

What is the most unique feature of the space?

One major enhancement was the creation of a double height entrance space at ground floor. A small enclosed existing double height volume was tripled in size and opened up to the first floor creating a three-sided mezzanine level overlooking the main entrance spaces. Significant structural alterations were required to accommodate this sizable structural opening that created one of the key interventions of the scheme.

Providing sufficient and varying collaborative working zones, in addition to enclosed office spaces, future proofs the building as the coworking community’s operating procedures move away from desktop orientated tasks. Workloads are becoming increasingly team driven to which the building responds by providing flexible spaces, meaning it should stay fit for purpose for a longer period of time.

LABS House bar

Are there any furnishings or spaces specifically included to promote wellness/wellbeing?

Part of the basement was repurposed to accommodate plant rooms and back of house kitchen and general maintenance facilities. However, the remaining areas (that amounted to more than half of the overall footprint) were converted into a member’s gym and space for bicycle storage. We also incorporated over-sized lockers within a bespoke storage wall on the 7th floor that were specifically sized to store foldable bikes. As well as an abundance of strategically placed planting interventions across all of the shared spaces, visible surfaces for all new joinery installations were finished in exposed plywood to ensure a strong biophilic link was achieved across the building.

What kinds of technology products were used?

The flexible and varied design with high tech digital features allows LABS House members to choose their seating according to their preferences. All services are pre-bookable online, and hireable offices/ meeting rooms can be booked via a phone app.

The building provides state of the art audio visual conferencing equipment within all of its meeting suits as well as uninterrupted WiFi connectivity throughout. An audio system has also been installed across all of the shared spaces to provide background music to help contribute to the occupants’ wellbeing.

Large integrated wayfinding graphics provided the focal interest within the cores and stairwells providing a low cost but effective design solution for these areas. With the exception of scene setting controls in meeting rooms all lighting across the building was controlled by presence detectors.

LABS House bar

Tell us about the LABS House project team.

Construction Director: Paul Fitzpatrick, Od Interiors

Commercial Director: Tom Buckley, Od Interiors

Project Director: Peter Heath, Od Interiors

Lead Designer: Tim Murray, Moxon Architects

Quantity Surveyor: Rider Levett Bucknall

Building Control: Butler & Young

M&E Consultants: ETEC

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