De Beauvoir Block is an Edwardian industrial building in Hackney that was transformed by developer The Benyon Estate into a workspace for 26 creative businesses, as well as freelancers dropping in to use its flexible desk spaces.
Having initially approached the client to suggest creating a retail space and workshop for the building, branding and spatial design agency Sella Concept was ultimately tasked with overseeing an overall strategy for the interiors.
The consultancy, which was founded this year by designers Tatjana von Stein and Gayle Noonan, proposed the idea of incorporating co-working within spaces that were originally planned to be used simply as standard offices.
The result of the spatial re-evaluation is a communal area on the ground floor containing a cafe, lounge, reception and meeting spaces that are available for use by any of the building's tenants.
The studio worked on the interior concept for the communal areas and for dedicated co-working space, as well as De Beauvoir Block's new boardroom.
Sella Concept's design focuses on imbuing various spaces with a unique atmosphere while tying them together through a material and colour palette that was based initially around the colour of fresh plaster.
"We spend most of our days at work, so it seems crucial to develop a space that calls upon your various moods at different points of the day," said Von Stein, "particularly in creative industries, where a shift in your environment can take you to a more inspiring headspace."
The designers worked on the layout of the rooms and created bespoke furniture to complement the relaxed, eclectic ambience they had in mind.
The communal reception area and cafe features elements of British colonialism in the form of plantation chairs and cane furniture, which combine with industrial details such as the metal-legged tables and spun-metal lighting.
The space is arranged around a central bar run by local business De Beauvoir Deli. Custom-made tables featuring rough-edged wooden planks set on metal frames provide spaces for coffee breaks or informal meetings.
The rest of the room is divided into zones, including lounge areas with soft seating and wooden bookshelves, bistro-influenced dining spaces and counters for a quick drink or laptop-based work.
"It's hard to create a community and culture without a beating heart at its epicentre," added Noonan.
"We wanted to challenge the large open room and the industrial fabric of the building through a cocoon of rich materials and colour that creates a feeling of movement throughout."
The flexible furniture and variety of spaces ensures the communal room can adapt to various uses throughout the day, from lounging during downtime to post-work drinks.
Sella Concept created the wooden tables, as well as a circular reception desk, the banquette seating and a quirky pattern painted on the polished concrete floor of the co-working space to add bespoke touches to the interiors.
Graphic artist Emily Forgot was commissioned to produce a series of wooden assemblages and collages distributed throughout the building that evoke its architectural and cultural fabric.
Photography is by Nicholas Worley.