Leading shared workspace provider Central Working has launched a new co-working hub for innovation and enterprise within Grosvenor Britain & Ireland’s new Eccleston Yards development, on the boundaries of Belgravia and Victoria in central London. With interiors by Kinnersley Kent Design, one of London and Dubai’s most prestigious design studios, the new hub anticipates the needs of the modern startup community with an all-inclusive hospitality-first approach.
Central Working Victoria is the anchor tenant of Eccleston Yards, which brings together food, fashion, retail, co-working and wellbeing. Central Working Victoria is designed to host over 500 entrepreneurs and businesses of all sizes within a refurbished Victorian electrical substation. Catering for a group that rarely conforms to a nine-to-five routine, a chill out room is available to provide rest and relaxation, as well as a 70-seat auditorium to accommodate visiting lecturers from the tech and creative industries. The 25,000 sq ft space is split across three levels, and features flexible work areas including drop-in desks, private offices, phone booths for private calls, a members’ lounge, and a variety of meeting spaces from boardrooms to huddle rooms.
Central Working Victoria is one of the latest sites designed by Kinnersley Kent Design in partnership with Central Working. Other recently completed sites including Reading and Slough, with more coming soon.
Jill Higgins, partner at Kinnersley Kent Design, said: “The design challenge was to create a creative strategy for Central Working’s interiors, developing principles that can be applied and adapted to different locations. The aim was to create a sense of consistency while enabling each club to have a unique look and feel. Alongside establishing a clear identity for the brand, the design had to complement the wide range of different businesses and members. The interior identity is designed to work across a very diverse range of sites, offering the flexibility to reference each club’s locality and specific building, whilst creating spaces that are identifiably Central Working. The result at Eccleston Yards is vibrant yet understated aesthetic with a strong sense of context and place.”
Grant Powell, Managing Director at Central Working, commented: “We’re proud to be supporting the growing business community in Belgravia through our collaborative new campus at Central Working Victoria. From day one, Kinnersley Kent Design recognised that our brand of design hinges on delivering spaces that accommodate the diverse needs of our members while encouraging a collaborative atmosphere. Kinnersley Kent Design were able to look at the design features that have become Central Working staples, such as flexible private office space that can be opened to the wider area to encourage collaboration, and matched this with an innovative approach to transform an old electricity substation into the ideal community environment for the modern business.”
THE DESIGN STRATEGY
Rather than create one concept to be replicated in every location, Kinnersley Kent Design developed a flexible, creative strategy for Central Working’s interiors that is grounded in spatial planning principles.
At each location, space is divided into a range of adaptable, functional and interesting work areas that foster collaboration while providing varying levels of privacy. In place of the long corridors typically found in office buildings, Kinnersley Kent Design tailors the layout to create a wide variety of breakout areas, unexpected niches and ‘hideaways’. This approach influences how members navigate and share space, creating more than one way to get from A to B and plenty of opportunities for chance encounters.
By following Central Working’s design ethos to create spaces that accommodate modern businesses and promote collaborative communities, the interior identity is able to flex across diverse locations with sensitivity to different buildings, whether new builds or heritage sites. In tailoring the design to each location in partnership with STUDIOLAV, Central Working’s stylists, Kinnersley Kent Design ensures that each design is unique while also recognisably Central Working, with private offices that can be opened to the wider community with double strength doors, break-out spaces to encourage mixing between members and auditorium facilities that provide members with free-to-use venues for community events.
Celebrating Central Working Victoria’s unique identity
In line with Central Working’s service-led approach, Kinnersley Kent Design’s concept for Victoria puts social hospitality at the heart of the experience with a central members’ lounge and kitchen. By planning the layout according to the overarching creative strategy, the designers housed the 500 desks required in a way that breaks up the vast space and creates interesting new sightlines throughout the building, introducing outdoor views and daylight from every angle.
Central Working Victoria feels welcoming and creative, combining high-level service with a comfortable atmosphere that is more domestic than workplace. The core colour palette is built around sophisticated shades of blue, ensuring a seamless feel across the old and new areas of the building without making the space too uniform. The colour palette varies in different rooms, from greens to greys and blues, helping to demark the different zones. Accents of yellow – ranging from lemon to burnt ochre – are peppered throughout, adding personality and reinforcing the stylishly eclectic look and feel.
The interior design celebrates the architecture of the Victorian industrial building, highlighting architectural nuances by juxtaposing original features with modern interventions. Prior to the redesign, most of the historic aspects of the building were hidden behind boards and layers of plaster. The designers brought the building’s character to the fore, revealing its original brickwork and glazed tile arches.
The materials palette underscores the site’s former industrial use as an electricity substation while adding a refined elegance. Materials include steel, light and dark timber, brass highlights, glass, exposed brickwork and off-white metro wall tiles, and slim black metal-framed portals that emphasise transitions between the old and new areas. ‘Arcade B’ wallpaper from Texturae’s ‘Warp’ collection decorates statement walls with trompe-l’oeil arches, echoing those of the building. Meanwhile, the members’ lounge at the heart of the building features a black and white ‘Victorian’ checkerboard floor. Distinctive and hardwearing, it further enhances Central Working Victoria’s slightly quirky, individualistic feel.
The designers chose a considered mix of contemporary furnishings, with hardworking office furniture appearing alongside modern design classics. Key pieces include furniture and from B&B Italia, HAY, Moroso, & Tradition, Gubi, Normann Copenhagen, Norr11, Muuto and Classicon.
STUDIOLAV collaborated with Kinnersley Kent Design and Central Working to style the interior with a ‘Cabinet of Curiosities’ feel, drawing from both the interior concept and the Victorian era. The eclectic choice of artworks, plants and accessories reflects the intriguing and often eccentric collections amassed by affluent travellers during this period. STUDIOLAV created a ‘Lost and Found’ display wall on the first floor to showcase a mix of ‘excavated’ discoveries found during the refurbishment, which include books, an old water tank, and even a teddy bear which had been hidden in the walls behind layers of plaster since the 1990s. These items are displayed in bell jars alongside modern day curiosities to create a playful museum aesthetic. The wall will be added to over time with modern-day lost items, continually growing Central Working Victoria’s own unique story and personality.
Interior Architecture & Design: Kinnersley Kent Design
Partner in charge: Jill Higgins
Associate Design Director: Jenny Andersson
Senior Designer: Simon Krapf
Interior Styling and Accessories: STUDIOLAV
Photography: Adam Woodward
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