The historic district of Islington is the part of London most coveted by creative artists, stylists and designers, full of fashion stores and trendy establishments, so it is no surprise that some of the main English multinationals have chosen to locate their communication units there. Clerkenwell Green lies right at the centre of this lively community, unique of its kind, dominated by the austere profile of The Buckley Building, which was a factory in the Thirties and has recently been renovated and converted for the prestigious offices of leading international brands.
The 7,910 square metres of perfectly restored spaces are distributed inside a sophisticated building that is completely environmentally sustainable, culminating in a spectacular terrace from which the breathtaking panorama of the London rooftops can be admired. Developer Derwent London pre-let part of the building and the rest of the building was let after completion: the two lower floors are occupied by the renowned restaurant Granger & Co., while the offices located on the four floors above are let to Unilever, Hill+Knowlton, Tipp24 and Deloitte Digital.
img.0The Buckley Building - London
The architectural design by architects Buckley GrayYeoman emphasized the original features of this jewel of industrial archeology. Elevational details display alternating white bands of plaster and exposed brick walls, punctuated by classic Crittal windows with accentuated vertical dimensions. The interior architecture plays a decisive role, due to the quality of the technological equipment - absolutely at the cutting edge - and especially the very high aesthetic content of the spaces, the selection of which was based on a limited palette of ‘raw” materials, deployed with great refinement.
From the polished concrete floors, pillars and walls rise up made of rust-coloured bricks, typical of English industrial construction, while simple steel columns painted black break up the wide open spaces, bathed in the clear light that streams through the large windows. It seems incredible but, in this little paradise of contemporary Brit-style, a well-known Italian company has also been at work. All the interior partitions in steel were made and installed by Marzorati Ronchetti, the world leader in the “tailoring in metal” type of processing.
Apart, obviously, from the load-bearing structures and the works in cement, brick and plasterboard, everything that is visible and close to hand in the prestigious rooms of The Buckley Building was produced in the Cantù factory: walls, doors, staircases, balustrades and handrails, down to the splash panels of the washbasins and base panels of the toilets. The most characteristic area of this delightful construction is, without doubt, the reception. The wax-finished, black iron wall panels create a background in various shades of mottled grey that softly diffuses the national light without resorting to reflective surfaces. A rare example of Italian style in the heart of the City.
img.1The Buckley Building - stairs
img.2The Buckley Building - detail
We were commissioned directly by the general contractor to create the interior architecture and we worked on the project throughout 2013 and part of 2014. The most representative area, with strong iconic impact, is, without doubt, the reception. Photographs displaying details of the wall cladding can be viewed on the client’s website www.derwentlondon.com - a tangible sign of how much our contribution to the image of the rooms was appreciated: Marzorati Ronchetti is a “brand” that even across the Channel lends prestige to a project.
As often happens, the architects conveyed to us the aesthetic precepts that we would have to follow in order to meet their aesthetic and obtain the sought-after results, leaving us plenty of space to develop our ideas from an engineering and construction point of view, down to the definition of the formal details. The choice of the material, used in very thick slabs, and the construction technique of sharp edge bending were the elements that convinced the designers, to whom we presented a mock-up for approval before moving on to the production stage.