The reinvention of an Art Deco office building for Great Portland Estates utilises a deliberately nostalgic approach, with finishes chosen to recall the building’s past.
Elsley House, a former ‘rag trade’ building in London’s West End, has been completely refurbished, and is now occupied by the marketing, media, and creative industries. Great care has been taken to ensure that interventions complement and enhance the original Art Deco building. Past alterations to the interior have been stripped back, with original features such as bespoke moulded architraves, brick walls, and riveted iron columns re-exposed and restored along the way. Two formal and symmetrical reception areas have been remodelled and updated using a carefully curated material palate; patterned terrazzo floors, mirrored surfaces and brass detailing adds a touch of 1930s glamour to define the public space. The original fine metal windows of the building have been painstakingly restored, with micro double-glazed units greatly improving their thermal performance. Throughout the building, office spaces have been transformed through a series of simple steps; false ceilings have been removed to increase floor to ceiling heights, and existing roof lights have been refurbished to bring in soft, natural light, whilst a new central void provides a dramatic physical connection to the lower ground floor.
Within the courtyard pavilion lobby area to the rear of the building, partition walls have been removed to accommodate a relaxed seating area, suited for meeting, greeting, and congregating. Providing a quirky reminder of the building’s past; heavy industrial roller doors which were once concealed within the walls, now provide a striking focal point within the space. A series of new planted roof terraces at the upper levels provides break-out meeting and amenity space in the warmer months.
The project was a finalist in the 2020 BCO Awards for the London Region.
Client: Great Portland Estates plc
Lead Architect: Burwell Architects
Structural Engineer: AKT II
Services Engineer: Chapman BDSP
Quantity Surveyor: Gardiner and Theobald
Contractor: Elev8 Interiors (Phase I) & FaithDean (Phase 2)
GIA: 4,588 sqm
Form of Contract: Traditional