gpad london delivers prime office space in Grade II Listed Seven Dials Warehouse refurbishment

BCO award winning London architectural practice, gpad london ltd, has completed a high end office refurbishment of CBRE Global Investors’ Seven Dials Warehouse at 42 Earlham Street, Covent Garden, London.

The Grade II listed Victorian warehouse has been sensitively refurbished and now has 40,000 sq. ft. of prime office space over five floors. The ambitious project created an expansive 3,000 sq. ft. roof terrace boasting panoramic views as well as an enhanced street presence, remodelled reception area and high end workspaces.

The design highlight is discovered on the fifth floor – a suspended folded steel staircase bespoke designed by gpad london ltd which appears to levitate above the office floor. Housed within the existing glass roof lantern, the feature staircase creates an intervention that connects the existing fifth floor office to the new roof terrace.

Reminders of the warehouse’s rich heritage have been celebrated throughout gpad’s design, with original features sensitively retained and restored with an industrial-luxe aesthetic. The Earlham Street entrance has been given a new presence, with large glazed windows, sympathetic street signage and the façade returned to its former raw brickwork. The building entrance has been reconfigured to create an enlarged reception area, intimate reception desk with breakout seating areas. The black metal Flos Infra-Structure lighting system (which is adaptable as usage changes) provides a visual connection of spaces through the lower and upper reception areas.

To inject character and provide a sense of place, areas of exposed original brick contrast with clean white plasterboard ceilings and meticulously detailed exposed services. Contemporary elements have been brought into the workspace floors giving an interesting juxtaposition with earlier features. The existing suspended vaulted ceilings and chilled beams were removed, increasing the floor to ceiling head height. New air conditioning FCU’s have been concealed within Optimus Prime (Transformers) inspired galvanised steel encasements. The lighting provides a striking visual appearance to the office space, running rhythmic linear strips across the building, orientated north-west to south-east. The Superloo bathrooms have threaded hexagon porcelain tiles, antique bronze fittings and cast concrete basins, with robust mid-century style doors.

A new 30 cycle store was created including hanging bike racks, shower facilities, drying area and lockers which can be accessed separately from Shelton Street, and now also links back to the main reception to improve connectivity.

Laura Wilson Brown, Director, CBRE Global Investors said:

“This is a rare opportunity for the London office market. The building is steeped in history and the refurbishment brings the modern and old together offering fantastic office space.”

Simon Fancourt ARB RIBA, Architect at gpad london ltd, comments:

“The Seven Dials location is one familiar to Londoners and tourists alike. When refurbishing a Grade II listed building such as Seven Dials Warehouse, we knew that we would need to have a sympathetic approach to the building history and heritage. However, whilst being sensitive to the past we were challenged by our client with creating a 21st century office workspace. Our brief was to deliver a building design that would attract large global tech companies to London, but more specifically the Covent Garden location, offering something unique within an area already rich in character and history. Our roof terrace addition provides a truly unique oasis for relaxation and entertaining within the heart of Covent Garden.”

Danny Shafrir, Creative Director at gpad london ltd, says:

“The building’s character and prominent location were used as inspiration for the scheme’s design. The material palette was carefully selected to celebrate the building’s industrial past while looking to the future, creating a fully modernised office space”.

Paul Smith, Director & Co-Head of London Offices at Colliers International, comments:

“The Seven Dials Warehouse offers highly specified, contemporary office space with a sophisticated design which sensitively pays homage to its rich history. The interior scheme gpad london came up with was very sympathetic to the vernacular of the building. It is no easy feat to incorporate today’s design elements without diluting a building’s character, however here gpad has done it very successfully; in time and on budget.”

Alan Lace-Evans, from structural engineers Thomasons says

“Historic buildings always need careful handling, especially if they’re considered of national importance, but this isn’t necessarily a barrier to making significant additions, provided they are of design merit and sensitive to the original building. The creation of a viewing deck accessed by a seemingly floating folding steel plate staircase is both wonderful and useful.”

Fast Facts – Seven Dials Warehouse

  • Location: 42 Earlham Street, London, WC2H 9LA
  • Type of project: B1 Commercial Office Refurbishment
  • Gross internal floor area: 3,957.8m2 / 42,601.4 ft2
  • Architect: gpad london ltd
  • Client: CBRE Global Investors
  • Planning consultant: CBRE
  • Project Managers: CBRE
  • Structural engineer: Thomasons
  • M&E consultant: GDM
  • Quantity surveyor: BAP
  • Planning supervisor: Camden Planning
  • Main contractor: Scott Osborn
  • Joint agents: Bluebook, Colliers International
  • Funding: CBRE Global Investors (PEC Neale Ltd Fund)
  • Tender date: 28th October 2016 – 25th November 2016
  • Start on site date: 30th January 2017
  • Completion date: 9th October 2017
  • Contract duration: 36 weeks
  • Total cost: £4.4 million