Sea Containers House was originally designed in 1974 as a waterfront hotel to boost tourism but instead functioned as offices for shipping company Sea Containers until 2007. Now the Blackfriars Bank icon has a new lease on life following a stylish redesign by Matheson Whiteley and BDG A-D.
The architecture practice and workplace design specialists won the commission for their ambitious design to transform the 20,000 sq m space into a dynamic workplace for OgilvyGroup and MEC, two of the Uk's most prominent marketing agencies. (This will be the first time in the companies' respective histories that their entire London team sits under one roof.)
Matheson Whiteley and BDG A-D's ambition was to bring ‘Sea Containers into the cultural, creative and commercial life of London’. A mean feat achieved by ‘dedicating the upper-level spaces to the most public program components, including a 200-person amphitheater and new roof-garden, establishing the building as a lively character along the River Thames.’
In a modern twist on tradition, the architects chose to place the building’s workspaces in the lower parts of the building, reserving the higher floors for hospitality facilities including a bistro cafe/bar, private dining and the aforementioned amphitheatre and roof garden.
The offices' interior layout was designed around the building's pre-existing structural elements, using them to their advantage whilst fulfilling the brief of enhanced communication through movement, choice and availability of multiple work spaces. After all, isn't life better when you are on the move?