We asked Chris Savva, Associate Director of BGY Architects to describe the design concept for the re-modelled reception area of our redevelopment project 68 King William Street in London. 

Chris: The original concept was to bring clarity to the design through the use of a simple palette of materials to create a gallery like feeling within the reception space. 

High quality stone, timber and polished plaster have been used in a contemporary way to respond to the historic qualities of the existing building.

A feature double height polished plaster wall extends the view upwards creating an impressive sense of arrival, mediated by a feature chandelier which adds a human scale to the space along with a change in scale as you move through into the luxurious timber lined lift lobby.

The reception desk and seating were carefully designed using similar materials to build on this gallery idea and almost appear as a ‘family’ of objects/artwork within the space

Increasing the window openings has improved the natural lighting within the space and provided an opportunity to ‘exhibit’ the space from the street.

BMP: It worked out great Chris, so what were the main challenges / opportunities presented by this building and the entrance area in particular, from your perspective?

Chris: The main challenge was working with the size of the space. The existing interventions seemed to jar with the scale of the space rather than complement it. 

By removing the single height timber datum and focusing the new materials on one double height feature wall we were able to accentuate the double height and create a more dramatic space.

BMP: We then spoke to Laura Koriakinaite, Designer at OKTRA, who worked on the Cat B office floor design of 68 King William Street to ask how her team interpreted the brief. 

Laura: Our design concept aims to highlight the beauty of the existing building, by using a light and neutral colour palette, we want to enable light to bounce across the floor plate. 

A neutral palette will also allow prospective tenants to add their own branding/identity to the space.

The existing Cat A ceiling provision was a base standard 600×600 ceiling tile positioned at 2.7m height. Whilst we recognise that this a challenge on the 2nd floor, it simultaneously presents an opportunity for enhancement. 

By partly exposing the ceiling to create a central feature spine, we will enhance natural light levels whilst creating a sense of space. Occupiers will be looking for something exciting that the existing interior is sadly lacking. 

We believe that people cannot see past what is already existing in the space thus it will be imperative that we expertly demonstrate the art of possibility.

In the early stages of the design, the spinal concept was introduced. The ‘spine’ was positioned centrally to follow existing building architecture and create a central hub area with a mix of different collaboration areas as well as the main reception.

BMP: We then followed-up by asking about the green procurement strategy implemented for this project.

Laura: Oktra has a sustainable procurement policy in place that is implemented on all of our projects. The policy ensures that materials with low VOCs, recycled content, EPDs and sustainably sourced materials are prioritised. 

All soft furnishes within the space comply with low VOC requirements. A few other examples are the Forbo carpet (contains 60% recycled content in the backing, comes with an EPD and has a BRE A rating.), the Tarkett carpet (32% recycled content, VOC emissions compliant with ISO16000-9), Modulyss carpet (50% overall recycled content, 100% recycled content in the backing, M1 certification for low emissions, EPD), joinery items (all FSC certified and E1 certification for low emissions).