Monotype, a leader in empowering expression and engagement through type, technology and expertise, has just opened the doors of a brand new UK headquarters in London’s centre of tech and creativity: Shoreditch.
After months of meticulous interiors work by Ben Adams Architects, with the collaboration of SEA Design, the new Monotype building is finished, and it’s an architectural love-letter to the art of typography.
Ben Adams, director of Ben Adams Architects
“Monotype needed an agile and inspiring workplace for now, and for its future needs. Our scheme provides designed–in scope for expansion and picks up inspiring cues from their amazing archive of typefaces.”
‘The glyph is always the hero.’
Around the office, elements that appear innocuous at first glance are often much more than they seem – small, subtle details that the untrained eye might miss, but which reward those who look again with charming references to the typographic world. Laser-cut directly into the doors, the handles of storage units are shaped to represent a single bracket glyph. These too are set in varying typefaces, including Laurentian™, Soho™, Quire Sans™ and Linotype Gianotten™.
The glass walls of meeting rooms and phone booths are flecked with similar type treats, including lines of 474 full stops, each set in a different font, and calls to the historic greats of type design are featured in the names of each meeting room: Warde, Morison, Dreyfus, Tracy and Lanston.
‘Everything we do here attempts to tell a part of our story. Balancing the past 100 years of type with where it’s going over the coming years informed our approach to the environment design. We let the type stand in the foreground, celebrating its details, its silhouette, its ink trap, its subtlety. We also try to hide details in places for the curious. Wherever possible, our other brand ingredients have been kept to a minimum, expressing the simplicity of type and material – such as the wooden corridor laser etched with several hundred Ms.’
– James Fooks-Bale, creative director, Monotype
In keeping with this ‘let the type do the taking’ approach, the interior palette is a sleek neutral blend of pale timber furniture from Wellworking, soothing greys and contemporary pendant lighting. One feature wall includes shelving cut specifically to fit Monotype archive boxes.
To maximise the possibilities for collaborative working and team expansion, the space is designed to be as versatile and adaptable as possible. A dynamic wall of bespoke plywood joinery divides the main space into distinct zones for collaboration, display and quiet, focused solo work, while a simple change in layout can introduce 32 new workstations, as well as additional meeting space. “We needed a flexible working environment,” says Fooks-Bale,“A scalable space to allow for a growth in head-count and, more importantly, a space for different working environments: open-plan in places, but with defined quiet space and areas to spread out and collaborate.”
The Monotype team moved into their new headquarters in October, returning the company’s UK arm to the heartland of London’s creative community and putting them within easy reach of the hundreds of design studios, commercial clients, agencies and institutions they work with.