Location: London, UK
Scope: Office reception + Meeting spaces
Area: 525sqm
Stage: Competition
Client: Derwent London and Office Concierge
Architect: Studio Seilern Architects

The inefficiency of the current configuration of a reception area lies in that in many ways it does neither help the efficiency of getting to a meeting, nor reflect the familiarity of the contact once inside the visited office. In a multi-tenanted office building, the reception area would never be able to reflect the corporate personality of the visited office (one image cannot suit all tenants), nor can it pretend to schizophrenically transform itself and become familiar enough with every visitor.
This has been to date transcribed by creating a space that is neutral and enticing enough not to offend or excite. Reception spaces are mired with a feeling of emptiness and under-use. It is currently used as an over-sized transit space. If the reception is treated like a park (a destination), it has a chance to become vibrant and used by the building community, fostering interaction between building tenants.
The scheme provides a butterfly enclosure that becomes a destination for people to come and visit. Instead of a receptionist or security guard we will replace them with a gardener who looks after the plants as well as the butterfly's. There is a communal meeting / conference space that floats above the suspended butterfly enclosure, creating a vibrant and surprising environment.
Create a park instead of a lobby, allowing nature (plants and animals) to inhabit the space. The receptionist has a love of gardening and tends for the plants. Nature is permanently changing in character and allowing the lobby space to take on a changing character is key to the interest and dynamism of the space. Lighting, plant selection, and all-encompassing butterfly enclosure animate and inhabit the space, giving it a living and poetic character.