With its ‘never ordinary’ mantra, the iconic Grade II listed Battersea Power Station has become one of London’s most iconic cultural and commercial destinations – a place for locals, tourists and residents to enjoy a unique blend of restaurants, shops, parks and cultural spaces.
This landmark site has attracted global brands, including Apple, whose 450,000 sq ft campus will be the largest in Europe. The distinctiveness of the development has been created around careful selection of independent retailers and restaurants. The Battersea Power Station Development Company (BPSDC) has taken five units within the development, with each space utilised for specific functionalities.
Every aspect of the design is underpinned by BPSDC’s promise to go ‘beyond expectations’ – a philosophy which was embraced right from the outset to help remind all involved of the responsibility to deliver an exceptional experience for everyone who works, lives and visits the campus.
Every unit is designed to foster collaboration, communication, and support interdivisional efficiency. Crucially, the offices had to provide an inspirational environment to celebrate BPSDC’s values, principles and aspirations. Our brief stipulated that the environment should be cutting-edge and original yet not opulent. A key challenge for our design team was to bring the heritage of the development into every aspect of this project, bringing the wider scheme to life through meticulous consideration of materials and finishes.
Future flexibility had to be strategically captured in the original brief. All facets to the workplace design had a dual purpose to facilitate multi-functional use as contractor zones, expansion zones and presentation and workshop zones.
In keeping with the brief for a ‘raw,’ authentic feel, existing concrete columns were retained to expose the original base-build and emphasise its beauty. This also allowed for the marriage of new high-end finishes with the existing base-build, blending old and new to echo the project’s status as a landmark development.
This project adheres to the BCO guidelines and are embedded in our approach to design. The power station’s heritage is conveyed throughout the design. The parquet floor resembles that featured in the control room; the dials used there are referenced in a bronze ceiling feature. A further bronze thread connects all five buildings. All meeting rooms in the offices are named after films shot at the power station.
The same standards and specifications were employed in all units to give continuality. There was no ‘back of house’ facility – all units are on the ground floor, and therefore visible to the general public as a precedent to the site build. A high standard of working practice has been implemented to give visitors a flavour of what the finished development will look like.
All mechanical and electrical design is of the highest specification – achieving BREEAM Very Good.
The wellbeing of staff is a central consideration. The design allows for natural light to flood in to the ‘engine room’ of the open-plan working floorplate. In addition, supporting circulation to promote cross-pollination of teams, various ‘bump’ spots have been created through the floorplate to encourage this. Lastly, a large tea point and breakout zone is connected visually and physically to the open-plan floorplate, creating a central hub for people to congregate.
As one of Europe’s biggest developments, this is a landmark site that puts Battersea back on the map, restoring the power station to its true, iconic status. As the flagship offices for the entire development, the designs for BPSDC anticipate – and celebrate – what is to come in future years. Crucially, the offices create an inspiring environment for the staff who will guide and deliver the success of the development.
With reminders of the location’s history embedded into the design and branding of the offices, the project fulfils the remit to be ‘never ordinary’ with a substantial wow factor. At the same time, the project goes ‘beyond expectations’ by marrying the site’s heritage with a progressive vision that is sustainable and committed to staff wellbeing.