UK-based interior design practice Bernard Interiors has been undergoing a programme of planned growth since 2017. As the team expanded they began looking for new premises with more space to be both comfortable and creative.Towards the end of 2018 they found a disused church hall, built in 1900, with potentialto become thenew studio and office.
Jen Bernard, founder and managing director of Bernard Interiors said: “We had spent time togetherdiscussing the type of space we needed and working up concepts to help in our search.
“We were particularly inspired by the New York loft apartment style and influenced by the Woods Bagot Studio offices in Perth and BrandBase HQ in Amsterdam, which successfully combine several different functional elements without compromising aesthetics.
“The Church, although in need of significant redevelopment, had everything we were looking for.It combinescity location, 5,000 sqftfloor area, abundant natural light andarchitectural interest with the opportunity to develop a secondary1,000sqft area with mezzanine levelas required.”
The project was completed in June 2019. Black aluminium framed windows, doors and screens add to the sense of light and space in the building and allow the meeting room, offices and lobby to feel connected to the main studio. Walls are painted throughout except for the lobby where a textured grasscloth wall covering has been usedto create warmth, a reflection of the Bernard Interiors brand and style.
The main studio offers flexible open plan working in a bright and inspiring space. Multiple break out spaces provide areas for impromptu meetings and conversations and the open plan design allows us to hold events - lunchtime yoga, client drinks, CPD workshops or table tennis tournaments.
Full video conference facilities help the team to work with clients and architects across the UK and abroad.
The studio also includes aproduct and specification library and kitchen with island and large dining table. Shower facilities encourage employees to leave the car at home and either run to work or take advantage of the practice’s recently adopted ‘bike2work’ scheme.
“So much has changed in the world since we originally moved in a year ago,” said Jen. “We have been working from home since the UK lockdown in March in response to Covid-19, and just recently began to move people back in to the studio, following government guidelines.
“Our existing layout already allows for the whole team to practise social distancing, and no furniture has had to be moved, though minor organisational changes have been made.
“The old studio was a series of interconnected rooms, so we always appreciated the light, airiness and openness of The Church. But it is now really proving its worth and we are very pleased with the way the spaceis performing under these new circumstances.”