London based architecture firm Emulsion have completed the redevelopment of the reception area for the British Council’s head office in central London. The striking transformation was a result of an invited competition to redesign the area to suit the multiple needs of the organisation.
With the brief to transform the reception into a multipurpose area, capable of holding events and temporary displays, Emulsion fitted the space with pivoting hinged walls to create a flexible layout with integrated AV facilities for multi-media presentations and installations. At the centre of the redevelopment is a prominent brass reception desk that doubles up as a welcome desk for events and exhibitions. Acoustic ceiling tiles are installed to soften noise in the space and are positioned in diagonal lines from the entrance axis of the building. Soft lines of lighting, including fittings by Flos, run diagonally with the ceiling grid, complementing the light-coloured flooring and the brass covered desk and magnetic steel column claddings. Other features include a cast concrete map of the world, custom-made by Gray Concrete, located on the wall behind the reception desk.
The entrance to the building is lined with brass and wrapped in contrasting zinc-coated steel, a materials palette that runs throughout the reception. Grey tiles provided by flooring company Domus link the lower interior gallery to the existing wood parquet flooring on the raised entrance level.
Vicky Richardson, Director of Architecture, Design and Fashion at the British Council comments:
“We wanted to open the ground floor of the building up to the public as we realised it had great potential as an exhibition space. Emulsion has created a flexible gallery with a number of options for configuring the space. At the same time, we had a new tenant moving into the building, so we also needed a reception desk that could be a focus and a welcome point for a variety of visitors.”
Achieved on a strict schedule and budget, Emulsion have created a thoughtful and well-executed reception that unifies the entrance of the building with the existing experience felt throughout the rest of its layout.