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    Picture: Uncommon

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Tree tops new office development

Jez Abbott
Tuesday 12 Mar 2019

A five-metre tropical tree is to crown a new office space by being craned to its top floor.

Construction work at the 42,000sqft flexible office development on Liverpool Street, London, is nearing completion and due to opening on 4 April.

Ahead of the opening, the team is to crane in one of London’s largest living trees in a workspace - the 500kg, five-metre Ficus benjamina tree.

The design by Uncommon includes 850 desks and draws inspiration from Scandinavian design, using rich textures and tonal colours to stimulate focus and calmness.

In addition to the Ficus tree, a vast tree trunk will also be craned in. The trunk has been halved and polished to form two long desks.

Living greenery is central to Uncommon’s wellness strategy and the Liverpool Street space houses over 500 plants to help filter the air and provide a more natural feel.

Central to this is the Ficus benjamina situated in the central atrium of the top-floor communal mezzanine space.

Surrounding the tree will be hanging chairs for relaxation or break-out meetings. Native to Asia and Australia the Ficus tree is the official tree of Bangkok and can grow to 30 metres.

The reception of the Liverpool Street space will feature an interactive light installation from designer and director Marcus Lyall.

It will be activated through pulse; individuals can place their finger on a censor which monitors the heartbeat and in turn. It will pulse with each heartbeat.

Lyall said: “I’m currently exploring how light and sound can help us understand our body’s internal signals and wanted to explore this combination in a creative way.’’

Interior fixtures and furnishings have been sourced from Italian artisan designers, specifically for their ergonomic qualities.

Stand-out pieces include two large custom designed co-working tables from Riva 1920 cut from a single tree trunk, bespoke meeting room tables and sideboards from Cattelan.

Specially designed angular polished Portoro marble bars, brass and bronze detailing, smoked glass shelving, a feature fire place made from perforated extruded metalwork and hand-crafted, walnut-clad relaxation pods also grace the space.

The space also incorporates the principles of Activity Based Working (ABW), which research suggests can help increase productivity and overall effectiveness.

ABW is a method, where instead of forcing individuals to carry out the majority of work on a designated desk, it encourages people to recognise that different work activities can be better supported by spaces and features designed specifically for a task.

Founder and interior designer for all Uncommon spaces Tania Adir said: “Our goal was simply to create the best flexible office building in London.

“The building benefits from an unbeatable location and an abundance of natural light, we have then added the elements that make it an Uncommon space.”

The World Architecture News Awards showcase the best international design in both current and future projects. Entries for the 2019 Awards are now open - for further information please click here.

To see the full list of winners of the WIN Awards 2018, click here

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