159 St John Street, Hawkins\Brown’s Studio \

Our home in the heart of Clerkenwell

Conversion of the former Hammond & Champness lift factory into a creative workspace for us to call ‘home’.

The Challenge

In 2013, having almost doubled in size in 2 years, we had out grown our Bastwick Street studio and were looking for new premises with enough space for us to expand further.

We wanted our studio to reflect our culture and ethos, promoting co-working and collaboration. We often encourage our clients to consider the benefits of open plan working, and this has been a great opportunity to test some of these ideas.

The Big Idea

A new internal staircase connects the two floors, and is positioned to optimise the visual links between the levels.

The concrete structure has been stripped back to create an open, non-hierarchical space in keeping with the practice’s ethos, and to make the most of the building’s natural daylight. The slender floor plates follow the same layout throughout, with private workspace running alongside break out and meeting areas, allowing staff to move easily between traditional desk space and shared working areas.

Our original design included a fireman’s pole for speedy travel to meetings from upstairs - health and safety foiled this plan but we can still zip about the office on our handy scooters.

The Small Detail

Our architects and interior designers worked together to create flexible workspace, informal break out areas and meeting rooms – each with their own personality. Furniture and high-backed booths are positioned to provide privacy, and a series of bespoke exhibition units present models at eye-level as well as providing areas to display drawings.

  • Project Details
  • Lessons Learnt
  • Sustainability

Project Summary

Project Team

Service Engineers: Arup
Contractor: City Sq
Property Owner: Meritcape

Lessons Learnt

The studio has become a great example of successful open plan working, and a brief visit often helps clients clarify how they can make use of their own facilities. Its success in providing areas for conscientious working alongside more vibrant, collaborative spaces has dispelled many concerns surrounding open plan working.


The office is naturally ventilated and employs a daylight sensitive lighting system. Custom designed units, incorporating supply storage and bins, help us to minimise the waste we produce. In up-scaling our studio we were able to reuse a large amount of our existing furniture, and what couldn’t be used was given to local schools and charities.

Type in your search and hit enter