How will we work in the future? Smartworking company Orangebox believes “We need to stop talking about office buildings and start talking about Relationship Buildings®.”
If the office of the future is to be a place for collaboration, creativity and nurturing relationships, then companies must offer spaces which intrigue people and draw them in.
Architects Perkins&Will redesigned the Upper Ground Floor of Orangebox’s showroom for Clerkenwell Design Week 2022 to illustrate how space design can better foster relationships, boost productivity and engender comfort.
The project gave Waverley an opportunity to build a partnership with Orangebox and demonstrate our excellence to architects and designers, particularly to those located in Clerkenwell.
Perkins&Will’s vision utilised curtains to transform the Upper Ground floor of Orangebox’s Smartworking space into a series of flexible areas. The purpose was to create different zones for co-working, meetings and quiet concentration, which could be opened up instantly into a large collaboration space when required.
Orangebox wanted a space they could showcase for Clerkenwell Design Week to demonstrate a modern, adaptable, multi-functional and purposeful working environment with minimal environmental impact.
The architect approached fabric specialist, Kvadrat, who recommended Waverley as sub-contractors to fabricate and fit the curtains due to our great reputation and long-standing partnership with Kvadrat.
The original plan was to complete the project in 2019. Unfortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic delayed the project and caused the cancellation of Clerkenwell Design Week in 2020 and 2021. The delay also created an issue with material supply, as the resumption of manufacturing led to a huge spike in global aluminium demand. Environmental initiatives like the development of solar panels and electric vehicles is also increasing demand for aluminium.
From a design perspective, the specification was complex, with set out fitting zones and dividing areas. Waverley had to make sure the back-to-back curtains didn’t clash or interfere with one another.
The tracks also had to be dropped to avoid the building’s ceiling-mounted electric conduit and lighting systems. For meeting spaces, Waverley would normally undertake a direct fix to the ceiling, because this gives a better acoustic performance than suspending the curtain from a rail.
Waverley supplied and fitted 100m of wave curtains on Silent Gliss track with Kvadrat fabrics. Three different fabric densities were specified to zone different types of usage areas. The track was suspended from the concrete ceiling so it hung just below any obstructions. We minimised the height of the suspension to create the best possible acoustic result.
Kvadrat Ginger 2, Kvadrat Daybreak 2 and Kvadrat Zulu 2 fabrics were chosen to create the different zones. The use of transparent fabrics added to the mystery, encouraging guests to peek inside to discover and use the various spaces.
We curved the tracks to make each separate zone interesting in its own right and create a dynamic flow for people moving from one area to another. The user is never moving in a straight line, and the consequent obscuring of what’s round the next curve further emphasises the privacy of the spaces.
The result is an aesthetically-pleasing, flexible, collaborative space which can be used for all types of conversations as well as independent working.
Many of the Design Week attendees were intrigued by the acoustic properties of the various zones. Although the architect did not specify acoustic fabrics for this project, even the relatively lightweight fabrics in this space influence how people perceive sound.
Visitors were impressed. Orangebox Marketing Manager, Liz Walker said:
“We’ve had lovely feedback on the way the curtains have been specified and how well they work within the space.”
On selecting Waverley, Orangebox’s London A&D Manager Luke Richardson said:
“We went out to three different companies for quotes but felt Waverley’s approach, service and enthusiasm in collaborating on the project set them apart.”
Alison Jones, Head of Major Projects UK at Kvadrat, added:
“It was really inspiring to work alongside Perkins&Will to realise a new workplace concept for the Orangebox showroom using Kvadrat’s sheer curtain ranges. Waverley were always happy to meet on site to share their expertise and ensure we delivered the brief to the exact requirements of the design team and client.”
This high-end corporate project has become a permanent feature of Orangebox’s showroom environment. The curtained zones frame and contextualise the products Orangebox has on display. From our perspective, the adaptable space helps architects visualise the impact and the technical construction of Waverley curtains.
The project also demonstrated Waverley’s ability to turnaround a complex brief under pressure and to short lead times. The company was able to source the aluminium profiles, fabricate the track and curtains and turn the whole project around in just six weeks in time for Clerkenwell Design Week 2022.