PROJECT: Designing a new home for BMB
"Home from Home"
We set about concepting Advertising Agency BMB’s new London workspace in the depths of winter.
Our task was challenging. To move a highly creative, nostalgic team from their much-loved characterful Covent Garden office - a characterful building full of nooks, crannies and twisty turny staircases - into a hyper modern new build in London Bridge. ‘The Crane Building’ is slick and contemporary. A world away from BMB’s style.
So we quickly resolved to make theirs a floor like no other in the building. Our clients needed BMB-ers to feel like they were coming home after a long trip away. For us to create a scheme which greeted staff warmly. With a comfy sofa and a giant cup of tea. Original and quirkily stylish our design needed to be, but more than anything, welcoming.
EXECUTION & CREATIVE APPROACH
Our design took shape, brimming with green and pleasantness and lashings of homespun magic. The brief called for it to be Flim-flam-free, populated with stuff that would stand the style test of time. Our mission was also to infuse the place with the warmth and charm BMB is renowned for. Everything is shiny and new in The Crane Building, so we proposed ushering in lots of well worn bits, bobs and beautiful things with a story to tell.
The Clients agreed whole-heartedly and opted for the kind of furniture you treasure. Letting us mix up design eras in contemporary and quirky ways. The pieces we bought were solid and substantial. No flimsy one-night-stands. The keeper stuff that survives the test of time and will go with any new decorative palette we try out, when we and BMB fancy a change a while down the line. We went for vintage finds and furniture with soul. Which was truly made to last.
A Home From Home
During the space planning, bubbling and zoning stage, we worked out what should go where, fitting everything in its place. We also re-branded the standard-issue office spaces. Turning meeting rooms and canteens into much more familiar havens of domesticity. The boss’s bolt hole became ‘The Den’ and front of house was turned into a ‘Drawing Room’. The boardroom became ‘The Dining Room’, the canteen ‘The Kitchen’ and the new cut-through opening up two separate offices was dubbed ‘The Hallway’.
Fusing Interiors and in-venue Graphics
The new office has way more glass than wall space, so the treatment of glazing needed to be central to the concept, not an afterthought. Our Run For The Hills studio is made up of interior designers and graphic designers. So the styling and in-venue branding was concepted by one team.
BMB’s creativity and friendliness is palpable. So our designs for wayfinding and meeting room graphics were about bringing to life their sense of fun and tone of voice. Using hand drawn decals to provide privacy and add character to the crittal-style glass. Transporting the agency’s creative minds to far-flung places. Taking you out of Bermondsey. And out of London.
Running throughout the office space are scores of white structural columns. Given the lack of wall space to hang art or work, we decided to turn the columns into our brand canvas. Hiring a real-life-fly-posterer across three days to paste layer upon layer of posters onto them, peeling and distressing them to look as if they’d been there for years. Mixing up iconic street posters with newly created posters of BMB’s own creative work. Creating a unique brand statement, which can be added to whenever the agency creates some cool new work. Just pasting on a new layer or two.
"The Drawing Room Reception"
A bold colour palette was used in the entrance, with deep and richly painted teal walls, accented by a gorgeous tropicana-style palm wallpaper from Cole and Son. Rich, suede-velvet caramel drapes hung behind our custom-designed reception desk, to screen the ‘Guest Room’ where Clients could choose to stay and work after a meeting. Our reception desk was crafted from a giant slice of Scottish oak, by our almost in-house forrester, Kenny.
"The Dining Room"
In keeping with our home from home concept, we re-branded the boardroom the ‘dining room’, giving the space a glamorous, relaxed domestic vibe. Working with the lovely ‘H’, we designed a very long, very lovely 4m+ table with Farrow and Ball pop-yellow-legs. Encircling it with an eclectic mix of vintage and one-off dining chairs. Loading the drinks trolley, ready for a hard day’s creativity and a celebratory tipple after the Clients' successful pitch.
Botanical bliss was our inspiration for ‘the garden’. A creative, safari break-out space, lovingly styled with an awesome Christian Lacroix jungle wall mural, midnight blue Anthropologie chesterfield and a selection of vintage and new rattan furniture. The Run For The Hills graphics team created hot pink glazing graphics, screening the rooftops beyond. Everyone loves the garden.
"Jack and Ada’s kitchen"
The kitchen is the beating heart of any home. For BMB, we decided to make it a homage to the much-loved parents of their founder. ‘Jack and Ada’s kitchen’ welcomed hungry BMB-ers and makes them smile, pull up a stool, tuck into seconds and have fun licking the bowl. We sourced a gorgeous armoire and created a kitchen island with a soft wrap-around Irish linen curtain (cleverly shielding acres of hidden storage underneath). Our graphics team infused the windows with BMB’s signature tone of voice via a series of illustrations and quirky kitchen table banter, fond memories of the founder in Jack and Ada's kitchen of his youth.
A super fast design and install of just 4 months from start to finish was a bit hairy at times. But we pulled it off and the Clients are super delighted with their new home:
“Wow, I’m not sure where to start to express my utmost gratitude to you all.
As you know, i was dreading the move and risking leaving an office that has been both our home but also a cultural beacon that has made bmb the creative, homely and happy nest that it has been for the last decade.
But you have exceeded all my expectations. You have created a space that is even more 'BMB' than Shorts Gardens. It oozes thought and creativity at every single point. You embraced our brief, our precious items that have come with us, our attitude and culture.
I can’t wait to show off our new home. Thank you a hundreds times over.”
Aimee luther, Managing Director, BMB
SBID International Interior Design Awards - Finalist - Workspace Design Category
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Run For The Hills has been a Contributor since 25th November 2015.