Studio Octopi were appointed in June 2015 following an invited design competition. In December 2015 the team completed the 4,300 sqm CAT B fit-out for immediate occupation. Five floors of the C-Space building now comprise all the MullenLowe Group agencies including advertising agency MullenLowe London, activation agency MullenLowe Open, digital agency MullenLowe Profero and the Group’s global headquarters.
After a consultation with the staff, Studio Octopi presented an overarching concept that integrated the three agencies as the ‘City of MullenLowe’ with the unifying motto ‘non mihi, non libi, sec nobis’ or ‘not for you, not for me, but for us.’ The consultation highlighted a desire for each agency to maintain a level of individuality within the larger Group. This has been achieved by subtly varying the core palette of materials across each agency. Despite this there is a strong homogeneity within the building, referencing both the CAT-A works and the building’s former use as a carpet factory. The choice of materials and layout of the spaces were particularly influenced by the building’s urban context, referencing Shoreditch’s alleyways, warehouse facades and temporality.
The Ground Floor is the Group’s shared space and adopts the role of ‘Town Square’. 500 sqm of open plan, Reception, Library, Cafe and Bleacher Seating spans the entire length of the building. At the eastern end, four client-facing meeting rooms and the boardroom are arranged around a quieter ‘alleyway’. Each room is separated by an ‘in-between space’ providing Break-Out areas lit by festoon lighting and lined in Baux acoustic paneling. The joinery is all constructed from Spruce plywood with a white oil coating which has echoes of utilitarian construction site hoardings or temporary structures. MullenLowe Group hosts events, talks and agency meetings in the ‘Town Square’, much as citizens might gather in a city’s public space for events. The Ground Floor has encouraged a sense of togetherness that the Group lacked in the old building. A new sense of community has been established.
On the First Floor, the typical agency layout has been reworked. Creative teams have been removed from individual offices and now form the spine of the floor, open to their colleagues; account handlers and planners. Each team is separated by 3/4 height partitions that provide enough privacy to encourage ownership of the space. The plywood partitions combine with four variations of Portuguese cork pin board and exposed galvanised drywall framing. The layout is a bold change and one that is already resulting in increased collaborative working across the disciplines. The Second Floor is shared between MullenLowe Open and MullenLowe Profero. The two agencies unite around a break-out area called the Lawn.
On Lower Ground the space is dominated by the five edit suites. Each suite is lined out in acoustic panels in various colours. The suites are visible from Epworth Street and along with the Ground Floor activities, provide a sense of theatre for Shoreditch flaneurs.