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Douglas House

Introducing Douglas House, a six-floor office building on Great Titchfield Street in London. Our latest collaboration with TOG (The Office Group), with the ambition to create a workplace where people can feel stimulated by their environment and thus be truly productive.

The connection between our environments, our emotions and our productivity has become increasingly clear in recent years, and the awareness of this relationship has informed the design concept for the project. In Douglas House, we aimed to create somewhere that surprises you from the moment of entry, as well as engaging the brain with touches of the unpredictable, administering what we would like to call a ‘gentle punch’ to all who step in off the street.

  • Project facts
  • Client: The Office Group
  • Location: London, GB
  • Year: 2020

The overall architecture dictated the rationale for the workspace floorplan to a significant extent, which offered us the opportunity to re-conceive the layout so that it flows on a horizontal axis rather than the previous layout that awkwardly connected the building vertically.

Douglas House is a 47,000 sq ft building at 131–151 Great Titchfield Street on the Langham Estate in the West End. When TOG acquired the lease, the 1930s block was devoted to functional but uninspiring office space. TOG had previously called onNote to design the interiors of its office space Summit House in Holborn and were hugely impressed with the way the Stockholm-based practice was able to translate the art deco exterior into a high-level contemporary design that complemented and enhanced the Grade II-listed building. Douglas House’s post-war architecture offers less for both design teams to respond to creatively, so the challenge here was to give it a strong identity that would enable it to hold its own against its more dramatic neighbours in Fitzrovia

The most striking feature of the design is a curvilinear wall of glass blocks that runs the entire length of the ground floor. Based on the idea of a hand-drawn line, the wall creates a sense of light, transparency and openness throughout the space, which is split into three ‘rooms’ by the building’s two stair cores. As well as creating a passage between the rooms at the rear, the wall creates a visual connection between them with material intensity and unexpectedly fluid wavy forms, echoed in the custom-made lighting rafts. On the other side is a bank of courtyard-style meeting rooms, each with a unique layout created by the irregularity of the wall’s shape.

This was a way for us to be disruptive and to challenge the standards of an average refurbishment–to create a space within a space, a world of its own within the old building.

Johannes Carlström — Interior Architect / Founder

The wall also marks a shift in the interior colour palette, with warm woody neutral sand desert shades defining the communal spaces and break-out areas and cooler, softer blues used in the meeting rooms and working areas where concentration and focus are required. 

It has a lot more expression than you normally see in a traditional office. Our ambition has been to make something that communicates with you intuitively, so that when you enter the space, you can feel the interior almost physically

Charlotte Ackemar — Product Designer

Certainly the building fulfils the practical needs of a modern workplace, but our focus has been on the emotional qualities of the space to stimulate the users’ minds with a lot of different experiences when they move through the building, taking a big step away from the conformity of most office spaces.

Jesper Mellgren — Architect