‘Jo has the ability to think in three dimensions and to appreciate texture, colour and their interplay. This is a relatively rare gift and allows her to diagnose problems with the performance of spaces and then create innovative, bespoke, aesthetically elegant solutions. Allied to this, JWD’s forensic approach to detailing and understanding of the procurement process make them a formidable ally in the hunt for perfect product.’
Nick Corbyn, M3
Now a fresh new development and the home of fashion house, Michael Kors, this 59,000 sq ft Edwardian building was the former headquarters of Ofsted. Aviva acquired it and appointed JWD to produce a pre-concept analysis of the entrance, reception, atrium and related common parts. The challenge was to improve circulation, utilise dead space and create proportional compatibility between areas. JWD produced options to re-orientate the existing core, compare reception volumes and reposition the main entrance within the Kingsway elevation. Through this process, a new spatial arrangement was agreed and JWD were retained as lead designers for the entrance, reception and atrium.
JWD’s scheme models the reception and atrium into two distinct spatial volumes and emphasises their offset relationship. A series of feature lights, reflected in polished lacquer wall panels, accentuates the asymmetry and the overhanging atrium wall. An oblique line in the reconstituted stone floor acknowledges the shift in geometry. It also indicates the flow of circulation leading to the stunning atrium in which the central ellipse suggests arrival and a milling space.
JWD’s entrance solution veils the pristine, modern interior from Kingsway’s dirt and traffic. A deep, polished white frame is set within the old structural opening and defined by a line of light. Within this, a series of glass doors, stove-enamelled in an irregular pattern of fine white stripes, unifies the various functions. To give brightness and street presence, backlit white glass panels flank the interior lobby.
The palette is tightly edited using predominantly white with warm grey neutrals, dark grey and a single feature colour of vivid yellow. Yellow appears in the desk and in the stitching of the leather wall panels. It culminates in the atrium with a soaring lift wall, clad in glass panels of vibrant daffodil. Textural contrast is a pervading theme. A wrapping wall of padded leather accompanies the visitor from the desk to the lifts, contrasting with the polished white walls opposite and providing a soft backdrop to the sharp seating by Patricia Urquiola.