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100 Liverpool Street office interior by Universal Design Studio

Universal Design Studio uses terrazzo train tracks to guide visitors through City of London office lobby

Interior design practice Universal Design Studio has incorporated seating areas and terrazzo tracks into the lobby of an office building on the former site of a railway station at 100 Liverpool Street in the City of London.

Universal Design Studio fitted out the lobby within the Hopkins Architects-designed office block in Broadgate, London, to create a space that welcomes visitors and encourages people to linger.

Universal Design Studio 100 Liverpool Street
Universal Design Studio designed the lobby spaces at 100 Liverpool Street

"We wanted to facilitate a paradigm shift away from the archetypal corporate lobby experience – often stifling and alienating," said Paul Gulati, director of Universal Design Studio.

"Instead to create a crafted, contextual space that feels open, engaging and approachable with a strong focus on placemaking and fostering a spirit of community within the City of London," he told Dezeen.

cafe on London office by Universal Design Studio
The lobby includes a cafe

Built adjacent to Liverpool Street Station, the lobby for the 10-storey office block will see large amounts of foot traffic during early mornings and afternoons.

Universal Design Studio's design aimed to balance the need for coherent routes for workers and visitors entering and leaving with creating a space that could be used throughout the day.

Breakout areas in office lobby
Breakout areas are positioned alongside the main access routes

The large first-floor lobby space is accessed by two pairs of escalators from entry points on either side of the building, and has two sets of lifts that give access to the office floors above.

To guide people through the space, the studio created a system of terrazzo tracks informed by the building's location on the former site of Broad Street railway station.

Terrazzo tracks in office lobby by Universal Designs Studio
Terrazzo tracks guide people through the space

"Working with data analysts we utilised pedestrian movement simulations in the main concourse to inform spatial planning and to allow optimal functional performance for the space," said Gulati.

"Primary circulatory routes are mapped out in linear 'tracks' embedded in the terrazzo flooring, ensuring the continuous flow of people throughout the day remains seamless and intuitive," he added.

Seating are in office lobby
Seating areas are placed around the edges of the space

Alongside these primary routes, the studio created the building's main reception desk, a cafe and several informal meeting and flexible work areas. 

These areas are defined by changes in floor colour and material and are intended to be used by staff throughout the day.

Workspaces in lobby
The lobby contains workspaces

"Our concept focussed on creating a series of zones across the multi-level lobbies where people are encouraged to dwell for longer periods in more activated and alternative modes of working," said Gulati.

"The various zones each have a particular emphasis and accommodate informal meetings, focussed work, team collaboration and ample space for socialising."

Seating area
The seating areas are defined by different flooring

Overall Gulati hopes that the various seating areas and workspaces will mean that the lobby is active throughout the day, so that it is a welcoming space.

"This kind of hybrid thinking should ensure that these public areas are usable and stay active throughout the course of the day – providing a lively environment rather than stark and alienating entrance spaces," he concluded.

London-based Universal Design Studio was established in 2001 by Edward Barber and Jay Osgerby, who also run design consultancy Map Project Office.

The studio previous designed the interiors of its own office in Clerkenwell and a reusable pavilion for the BBC that was assembled in Cannes.

Photography is by Charles Hosea.

More images and plans

100 Liverpool Street by Universal Design Studio 
100 Liverpool Street by Universal Design Studio 
100 Liverpool Street by Universal Design Studio 
100 Liverpool Street by Universal Design Studio