Grand designs

The architects behind TOG buildings describe what makes them work

Grand designs

White Collar Factory, EC1
Key statistics

Gross area of building: 340,000 sq ft
Gross area of TOG floors: 42,000 sq ft
Net area of basement/gallery space: 10,700 sq ft
Floor-to-ceiling heights: 11.5ft

This is a warehouse for the 21st century. Old warehouses have a character that makes people want to live and work in them. This is a modern building designed to offer the same character and robustness to change.

It’s a pared-down shell that’s infinitely adaptable, giving tenants everything they could possibly need, but nothing more.

Things have changed from 20 years ago, when it was thought that people might move away from offices and do more work from home. People want human contact
and private space. WCF is somewhere people want to spend time and be at their most creative. It’s not about ping-pong tables and helter-skelter rides; it’s about fun, intelligent space that’s attractive for people to work in. Only then will you get the best out of them.

There’s a running track on the roof, with a bar, cafe and a winter garden that’s closed off from the weather, which any of the building’s tenants can access. The sunsets are incredible up there...

The ground-floor reception is raw and industrial, with desks on
scissor jacks so they can move up to become a standing desk, or down to become a bench. They’re on wheels so they can be moved out of the space altogether, so the reception can become a party room or gallery space.

TOG will occupy the first three floors — they’ll be the most closely associated tenant with main reception. It will feel like they have the whole building!

Stephen Taylor, associate director, AHMM. White Collar Factory opens in spring.;


81 Rivington Street, EC2A
Key statistics

Number of floors: 5 (including roof terrace)
Gross area of building: 33,000 sq ft (excluding roof terrace)
Area of ground-floor reception: 860 sq ft
Floor-to-ceiling heights: 8ft

I originally thought the building was an old power station, because it’s geometric in its design, but it was built in the 1930s as an extension to Shoreditch Town Hall. It’s all art deco. A motif on the first floor says: “More light, more power” — it’s the strapline from the crest of Shoreditch.

The slogan celebrates the reputation Shoreditch had as a progressive place for industry and for makers. And that’s what’s happening there again, with all the start-ups bringing in new talent and new ideas.

It’s a beautiful space, but it needed a little TLC outside and a refurb of the communal spaces. Instead of bombarding it with pastels, we’ve played on dark sophistication. It’s all about dark timbers, marble, geometric tiles, bronze and new and antique salvaged furniture. The palette is muted greys, blues and greens, with punches of red and pink.

We’ve ripped out the old reception and created a new, open one. There’s this amazing light feature made of glass rods. We’ve kept them and integrated them into the timber panelling.

The lounge is far more open-plan, allowing much more generous spaces to work from. Upstairs, we’ve taken walls out of the kitchen areas so they can double up as breakout spaces. It’s to encourage people to get out there and interact, to be part of a healthy working environment, sharing ideas. That’s the great thing about TOG. They don’t want people to be locked away.

Tessa Verity, interior designer, Buckley Gray Yeoman;