16 Sep 2021 • Work
9 to 5 no more: a London co-working space is designed for the post-COVID work world
A new entrant in London’s Design District, Bureau offers those in need of a flexible workspace an accommodating hybrid ‘third space’.
Occupying two of the 16 buildings in the Design District, Bureau is suited to the needs of freelancers, independent creatives, start-ups and even larger organizations looking for a mix between the freedom of at-home working and the structure and sociability of being in office. In designing the interiors, Roz Barr Architects considered the new modes of working that have emerged since the onset of COVID-19. Each space is catered to these styles – from suites specifically adapted to video-conferencing needs to outdoor terraces for lounging and relaxed work. Members can choose between lounge, hot-desk, fixed-desk and serviced studio settings, all rendered in a utilitarian aesthetic.
The layout is targeted at giving the users the feeling they are in the midst of a creative ecosystem. One area, dubbed The Salon, was built for Bureau’s extensive event programming – it’s ‘available for professional and social occasions at every scale’. The space can also be transformed into cinema for post-work film screenings, just one of the myriad ways the office encourages networking and creative stimulation. ‘Our design for Bureau recognizes the fact that the way we work and how we use office space is changing,’ says Barr. ‘It’s not about rows of booths and cubicles anymore – we need places where we can connect with each other, build ideas together, and enjoy the magic of chance and happenstance.’
Work-from-home fatigue has many people turning to co-working spaces. For many, it’s a good middle ground between distracting domestic environments and potentially unsafe large offices. The Wall Street Journal reported that, this summer, shared workspace providers – think WeWork and Industrious – have seen a rise in sales. Whether this trajectory will continue as employers find more sustainable solutions to bring their workers back in office remains to be seen, but for those companies that have foregone physical workspaces, offering employees the option to work in spaces like Bureau seems certain.
Roz Barr Architects’ balanced consideration of the new ways humans have learnt to work effectively in the past 18 months is clear in the spatial programming, which smartly respects that, for many, getting down to business looks a lot more casual than it did pre-COVID. The incorporation of recreational and networking-focused spaces addresses the fact that a lack of connectivity and continued isolation for workers is a preeminent issue that design has a place in resolving.