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Thursday, March 17, 2016

Of Brass Ribbons and Radial Geometry!

By Nitika Agarwal
Photography: Courtesy the architects

bespoke brass ribbons

Bureau de Change chisels a fascinating office space in Central London to cultivate a distinct brand identity, creating an environment that has a stimulating impact on its users and visitors both, from inside and outside…

The existing building with three transparent fa├žades offered an interesting challenge to designers and principals Katerina Dionysopoulou and Billy Mavropoulos, to fabricate a space that could be utilized for multiple businesses under one roof, and held special appeal for its neighbourhood, visitors and users without compromising on internal privacy.

glass box enclosure with brass ribbons

The heart of Crown Office, as it is called, is the central ‘elliptical’ volume, developed by a unique assembly of 1 mm thick, twisted, brass panels that slide along the ceiling and fold sharply at the edge before landing to the floor, where they are anchored into the concrete via custom-built metal plates. This installation that yields an intimate room within the glass box also serves to circulate air and camouflage existing services in the ceiling.

radial geometry with brass ribbons

Designed like a piece of art, the meticulously prefabricated central space is installed on site using 700+ discreet fixings, suspending the brass panels from the ceiling. The vertical and horizontal planes are tied together with custom-built components to ensure accurate alignment. The installation celebrates the art and science of its making by inducing curiosity and comfort within a transparent enclosure.

brass ribbons

Consequently, the office is defined by two distinct spaces – the central dynamic volume also known as the ‘events’ space, animated by the performance of shadows and reflections on the polished floor; and in stark contrast - the warm, monochrome office, workshop and meeting rooms. This contrasting atmosphere provides an intriguing appeal to the space, while addressing the functional requirements of the program.

specially crafted table
table legs
table top detail

The architects were also asked to design an exclusive meeting table for 4-5 people and have seamlessly translated the architectural vocabulary into this furniture piece that’s built out of 50 mm thick walnut veneer resting on 3 mm thick ‘brass’ legs. The table top sits like a jewel over the legs that incline inwards, providing sufficient room to its users.

Once again, this project is reflective of the studio’s consistent design approach that tends to exemplify the character of a space through innovative application of high-quality materials, engagement with natural light, craftsmanship, interrogation and continuity. 

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