Kibre Rose to the Occasion in Soho
Interior designers Kibre have created a stunning workspace in Ilona Rose, a new mixed-use development in the heart of Soho
Kibre were appointed by an investment services specialist to design their new office space within Ilona Rose, an impressive 300,000 sq ft mixed-use development in the heart of Soho.
In total the building boasts eight floors of prime office space, each one accompanied by expansive garden terraces, providing a harmonious blend of nature and urbanity. This client had commissioned Kibre to design its previous workspace in nearby Soho Square before a rapid upturn in headcount meant it required more space. The company has taken 12500 sq ft on the 7th floor of Ilona Rose, which incorporates a vibrant public realm featuring a café and restaurant-lined mews connecting Manette Street to Greek Street.
The brief was to design a space that would accommodate this growth while prioritising sustainability, biophilic design, and capitalising on the breath-taking views of London. Kibre delivered a sophisticated, inspiring workplace, encompassing private video conferencing areas, versatile meeting rooms, and an exceptional event space capable of hosting up to 120 people.
The office is essentially ring-shaped, ensuring the London skyline was an aspect of each area. Because of the way the floorplate is laid out, it was essential that each area flowed seamlessly. This was achieved through clever use of materials to create a sense of space and openness. Floor to ceiling heights were maximised despite the large volume of M&E.
The original inspiration for the design drew from the warmth and shared dining space of an Italian family farmhouse, a nod to Dawn Capital’s staff retreats in Umbria. This Italian influence is evident as soon as you enter the office and are welcomed by a beautiful reception desk, the base of which resembles a giant smooth stone. Above the desk is a bespoke circular light designed with wooden slats as the shade which create a striking visual centrepiece. To the side of the desk are stunning oversized Mediterranean antique clay pots that are the home to an array of large-scale plants. The flooring in the reception area is reclaimed oak boards, sourced from the Ukraine, which celebrate the intricate imperfections of wood.
The generously proportioned reception area, warm neutral tones and antique pots do give the impression of an elegant Tuscan farmhouse; however, the design also takes in Japanese influences, notably the craft-based aesthetic and focus on perfect imperfection of the wabi-sabi design movement.
This can most notably be seen in the covering of the exposed ventilation system. Each flume has been meticulously wrapped in a wet muslin to create a tactile, plaster-like look and making a feature of the overhead engineering. There are several meeting rooms which were designed alongside Rimadesio glazing. Each has its own ambience and energy, framed in recycled rosewood and with a beautiful, glazed sheen to add privacy to the spaces. Sprayed ceiling panels from Baux, composed of compressed straw and wool provide both an acoustically outstanding and sustainable solution.
The desking area has a raised floor to ensure that staff can have a clear view of the London landscape whilst working and also add a feeling of openness. The workspace also has a huge entertaining area which can be used for meetings or events. This area was specifically designed so that it has uninterrupted views of the skyline at all angles. Ambient lighting by FUTURE Designs balances beautifully with the natural daylight provision. Wall finishes in the main office areas and meeting rooms meanwhile are from Clayworks, combining an appreciation of ancient, vernacular building materials in a truly modern setting.
Dominic Coleman, Kibre director says, “The use of space was key and we did not want to fill the floorplate for the sake of it. The ability to have that openness allows a greater sense of serenity and flexibility that is perfect for this client.”
Haakon Overli, general partner, Dawn Capital added, “Kibre has delivered a fantastic workspace for us, perfectly reflecting our needs as a business. The end result has been fantastically received by staff and visitors alike.”
In terms of sustainability credentials, Ilona Rose is one of the top-performing buildings in London with a BREEAM Excellent rating. Green elements Kibre employed in this project for Dawn Capital included the use of reclaimed flooring and sustainable wood veneers as well as London-based joinery firms for the furniture and built-in joinery and solar glare blinds to reduce unnecessary AC usage. These combine with a strong aesthetic vision and a high-level of flexibility to ensure the workspace is fit for purpose for the client for years to come.