The Soho headquarters of advertising agency M&C Saatchi have a calm ambience and promote an open, non-hierarchical working culture. Designed by Harper Mackay.
The project was designed for the new advertising agency M&C Saatchi, as its first home after its launch in 1996. The design capacity of the accommodation is 320 people. The building as redeveloped comprises 5,519 m2 gross and 3,550 m2 net of office accommodation and ancillary facilities. The latter entails a large reception space part of which acts as a cafe area.
The development comprises two original buildings. Fronting Golden Square is the principal building of 8 storeys plus two basements. Originally constructed in 1914 to designs prepared by Leonard Stokes, the structure is one of the earliest examples of a steel frame property in Central London. It is a listed building. This was subsequently extended by a 1950's addition - based on a concrete frame structure - which extends the building through to Beak Street on the rear. This component is 4 storeys, plus one basement.
The two parts are disjointed both in plan and section. The redevelopment retained the existing hybrid structure and located an atrium at the junction. At ground level, the atrium base is designed as continuous space with the reception area. There is no vertical framing nor distinction in floor surface.
Given the location of 36 Golden Square, access by public transport is excellent. The building provides 18 car parking spaces, in the upper basement of the Beak Street building which also includes spaces for motorcycles and bicycles.
The approach to the project is a positive exemplar of sustainability, in terms of its location and re-use of existing structure. It is also instructive in providing accommodation for an advertising business in a simple, seamless and direct manner, rather than replicating the hectic theming and funkiness that is pervasive in the sector.