Many a visitor and metabroadcat have remarked on the unusual office we occupy. A candidate joining us for a day in the office last week said it best, though: it’s a house! It very much is, and we treat it as such.
Every room has its own name (!), look, and feel, despite a fair bit of common elements: lights, plants, whiteboards, speakers and screens. Three rooms have desks in a similar fashion, but one room has glass tables, another a small wooden table with dining chairs, and the sixth—marble tables. There are sofas and armchairs.
The loos are not marked with any of the familiar words but are furnished with the same love and care as the rest of the space. They’re meant to be places where one not only performs functions, but gets to pause and regroup.
We love the original features of the building, and have worked hard in the past six years here to restore and maintain their former glory. We even turned the tiny, dark and dusty courtyard into a welcoming, if not jolly scene.
So this is what MetaBroadcast feels like: three floors of a house over a century old where mahogany balustrades snake up and ginger jars collect, where an office happens to exist among brass ceiling lights and palm trees. Cat 5 cable and optical fibre are running through these old walls, but you wouldn’t know it. The windows to the street are lined by thin pink lights at night, but you wouldn’t know there’s an office behind them and those fancy blinds.
It probably explains why half the visitors walk past the door: searching for something office-like. Should they keep walking, one minute away westward rises St. George’s, the local parish church designed and built between 1716 and 1731 by Nicholas Hawskmoor. One minute eastward you’ll find Bloomsbury Square (formerly Southampton), laid out in 1660 by the 4th Earl of Southampton, and the first formal square in London to be called a square.
The terrace houses around the square and beyond were at first home to gentry and aristocracy, then to the middle classes (eg, the family of the future British PM and European statesman Benjamin Disraeli) in the 19th century. Offices only took over in the 20th century, so in the life of a London building like ours, they could be just another stage of many to come.
Treating this house in a manner respectful to its life and bones, if not elegant in places, and housing modern function here with a mindful mix of soul and ingenuity seems just right, and serves us well, surrounded as we are by dusty 20th century and cold 21st century architecture.
If we had a pound for every guest who said this is not what I expected (ie, from a software company), well, we’d be eating a lot more cake 😉 A lot about us is not as expected, and this fabulous house makes all that tangible. You can get a further peek at all this by using the slideshow option in our sidebar. Enjoy!
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