British luxury brand Mulberry has combined its previous two London offices into one single location spread over 40,000 sq ft on Kensington Church Street. Strong recent financial results and a continuing global excitement about Mulberry has led the brand to seek a London headquarters that reinforces its position as a leading purveyor of luxury British products. The move in early March 2011 has more than tripled the brand's previous working space in the capital and provides its staff with facilities such as a design atelier, global showroom, photographic studio and four floors of offices and meeting space.
Mulberry worked with Universal Design Studio, who also created its 50 New Bond Street flagship store concept, to construct a space that suits the brand's commitment to heritage and traditional craft, as well as its affinity for innovative design and a touch of English brand eclecticism. The brief was to create a suitable, functional working space for a unique fashion brand, and not a dry "office" environment. Spaces are open and organic, and reflect a mix of natural, low-key textures with innovative space and light elements.
The entire building has been designed to reflect light and a welcoming, open ambiance. The reception floor features a glass wall with views out to the courtyard and an atrium view down to the basement lounge cafe. The range of materials used in the design and for furniture is restrained; focusing on warmth and authenticity to complement the spacious, contemporary layout. This natural material palette creates a flexible, neutral backdrop from which Mulberry artwork and branding installations can stand out, and change to correspond with each fashion season.
The design of each floor creates empathy with the architectural conditions already in place, such as the pitched roof, exposed steel trusses, full height sash windows and double-height arched windows. These elements inspired a different "character" for each area, rather than a bland uniformity throughout. Office floors are arranged to encourage communication between teams, and black raw-steel furniture items consolidate storage and provide a visual anchor for the open plan work area.
The new London headquarters are inherently very Mulberry; playfully British in spirit, organic, joyful, and authentic and with a history of craft and tactility. "Universal has been delighted to be part of creating a new home for Mulberry to support the future chapters of their success story," commented Hannah Carter Owers, Universal Design Studio Director. "Creating a place of work (and play) for such a dynamic organisation with great taste, has been a rewarding experience, and a real pleasure."
Photos: Courtesy of Universal Design Studio