Renowned law firm Mishcon de Reya have transformed this traditional Midtown property from a multi-let standard office into a HQ space where staff and clients are able to work in confidence as well as collaborate in the open. Waverley were employed by contractor Overbury to provide high quality blinds and curtains for this fit out, as well as bespoke fabric panelled features to the ground floor reception and café areas.
The firm have been present in Holborn since the late 1960s but, due to expansion and subsequent use of several offices around the area, their footprint had become scattered. Mishcon needed to bring staff back together under one roof and a Midtown location was important to them. Africa House provided the potential to create the space they wanted with 122,000 sq ft of Grade A space on what is almost an island site.
The expertise of architecture and design firm tp bennett was enlisted to help with the refurbishment and fit-out of Africa House, together with involvement from Mishcon partners, their estate division and their staff.
The brief for this partially listed building required solar shading and lighting to be automated for enhanced energy efficiency, and for the provision of curtains in meeting areas to create an aesthetically pleasing working environment. We were also commissioned to work on ‘lighting and fabric’ ceiling features in the café and reception.
The Challenges & The Solutions
Lutron blinds were identified as meeting all the criteria required to provide an exceptional user experience, integrating seamlessly with the Lutron lighting system. The blinds were to be concealed in bulkheads which brought challenges for the installation teams. We supplied and installed Lutron Sivoia QS Roller 64 Blinds in a screen fabric with Lutron Sivoia QS Smart Power Panels to provide power supply. These blinds have ultra-quiet motors.
We worked closely with tp bennett on the design of a stunning bespoke ‘lighting and fabric’ feature for the ground floor reception and café areas: a bespoke arrangement of folded fabric panels with light boxes behind, and pendant lighting beneath. After detailed collaboration with the fit out contractor and the architect, we achieve the desired result.
We supplied and installed static voile fabric panels in Kvadrat Noon fabric in colour 102 (White), with sewn pockets at the top and bottom of each panel. White aluminium bottom bars were inserted in the bottom pocket and 8mm square steel bars with white powder coated finish were inserted in the top pocket. High strength magnets were supplied and fixed above the ceiling panel to hold the panels in place.
“Walk through the grand entrance off Kingsway and you may think you are going into a traditional, formal office block, with its marble floors, sweeping staircases and portrait of the firm’s founder Lord Mishcon, keeping watch on all who enter. As you are ushered through to the reception area, visitors are transported to an upmarket hotel lobby. You then float through to the main reception area where baristas offer you coffee and pastries.
“The wide expanse of the reception lobby has been designed by partners specifically for clients. It is a space where people can get together and chat – privately, in one of the booths, or more openly around the bar.
“Mishcon’s goal was to create a reception that did not feel like an office, but instead offered an informal but organised space where clients could turn up to meetings an hour early to work, relax, or even hold meetings of their own” – Estates Gazette
What They Say
“We are very proud of the achievement of turning a building from multi-occupancy to single occupancy and for blending the traditional with the modern” – Chairman, Mishcon de Reya
“This iconic building has both heritage and now state-of-the-art facilities, but impressively also embodies the link between work, life, brand, values and quality. It is a unique contributor to the contemporary workplace and a leader for others to follow” – Chief Executive, InMidtown