National Children’s Bureau

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The National Children’s Bureau (NCB) has been campaigning for young people’s rights since 1963. The charity was based for many years in a building in Angel, Islington, but decided the time had come to relinquish its formal, inflexible work environment for a fresh start in Hackney.

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National Children’s Bureau


Office Design, Construction


8,000 Sq ft


London, UK

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The brief

Its workforce had been spread across several buildings, so the key goal was to gather everyone under one roof. The charity wanted to introduce flexibility in the use of space and support for new ways of working. At the previous office everyone had had their own desk, so the relocation was an opportunity to introduce a more agile approach. Last but not least, the design had to incorporate a strong element of fun.

The solution

We were responsible for the Cat A and Cat B fit-out of the basement and ground floor of the new building. The ground floor was designed for agile working in an open-plan layout, with opportunities for collaboration, quiet working and private conversations. Partitions can be used to reconfigure the flexible meeting and conference space, and there is a visually dynamic innovation area for brainstorming. The basement is brought to life by a cheerful colour palette and playful furniture set-ups to inject a sense of fun. Throughout the space we used colour, imagery, contemporary furnishings and features such as raw brickwork, shapely luminaires and exposed services to create energy and interest, marking a break with the staid office culture of the past.

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Project insight

Project Designer at Area commented, ‘We worked in collaboration with the client’s leadership team, steering them through obstacles, organising presentations and obtaining feedback to ensure the best result. For example, we circulated an accessories sheet to help them pick the furnishings they wanted to fill the space. They really enjoyed that.’

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