Fletcher Priest Architects have redesigned the 160,000 sq ft office building at 155 Bishopsgate as part of British Land and GIC’s £1.5bn masterplan to transform Broadgate into a world-class mixed-use destination.
Fletcher Priest’s main objective was to introduce a sense of theatre into the space. The building features travertine walls, marble floors and the giant bronze torsos of Jim Dine’s East End Venus.
The architects were determined to retain as much embodied carbon as possible while redesigning and updating the interiors to suit 2021 expectations. As a result, the development reuses 90% of the existing structure and façade.
Having successfully worked with Edge Interiors on several past projects, Waverley were called in by them to add the ‘wow factor’ to communal areas in the face of challenging decorative conditions.
They gave us a brief to install mesh curtains as decorative features over the coffee bar in reception and above the escalator. The curtains were to complement and reflect the feature lighting.
We created hanging artistic features through the use of curved aluminium coil mesh curtains. In the reception area, we installed a complex coil mesh arrangement with a drop of 6.7m from a suspended track over the central coffee kiosk. The purpose of this was to reflect the light and add decoration which complements but does not detract from the famous sculptures on either side.
A second installation hangs above the escalator. Three intertwining curtains ranging in depth from 1.7-6.3m fill the void and attract the eye as visitors rise through the building.
In a final touch, coil mesh curtains were also added as decorative screens, dividing seating areas on the first floor. The total installation utilised over 650m2 of mesh which represents the largest single installation of coil mesh curtains in the UK to date.
Installation was a challenge due to the size of the space and the fact that so much of the original building was being retained. The reception area decoration had to be fitted over a new coffee bar which was erected first. Waverley had to use two spider Mobile Elevating Work Platforms (MEWPs) as direct access from underneath the space was not possible.
Two MEWPs were needed because the finished curtain weighed over half a tonne.
The giant torsos of the East End Venus framed our working environment. Any mistakes or loss of control of the spider MEWP would not only have financial implications but would impact on the historic value of the space.
To overcome this challenge, we worked with a specialist MEWP operator to drive the vehicle and control the platform. He kept in constant communication with the Waverley team during the process enabling them to focus solely on the installation.
Waverley’s decorative curtains now play their part in enhancing the public realm in this wonderfully refurbished commercial complex.
Wayne Lipman, Director for Edge Interiors commented:
“As soon as we became aware of the project, we knew Waverley were the ones to call due to their experience in managing complex, challenging and bespoke installations, which this certainly was.
We had complete faith in their technical expertise, detailed understanding of our products and knew Waverley would step up to the plate and we’re delighted with the results – they took our coil mesh material and literally elevated it to deliver a stunning interior.”
Ben Vowles, Head of Specification at Waverley sums up:
“This project illustrates how, when used imaginatively, there are no limits on the ability of curtains to transform a space.”