Nathan Watson / Morgan Lovell office designer

By Nathan Watson
Senior Designer |

Nathan Watson explores the rise of unique design pieces and use of hand crafted furnishings in office design.

For years, office workers have sat in the same rows of formica desks with ‘standard-issue’ office chairs, staring at white walls. The trouble is, a standardised office layout doesn't acknowledge our own uniqueness or inspire originality. In recent years office furnishings have developed considerably, allowing us to create more personalised workspaces that meet our different needs. We are now seeing clients taking this one step further by commissioning their own bespoke furniture centrepieces to really make their workplaces unique. In doing so, they can create offices that better suit the needs of their business and their people whilst also reflecting what is important to their brand.

Showcasing Costa's history

When Costa Coffee moved offices from their long-term home in Lambeth to a new space in Basildon, they maintained their brand heritage with bespoke furniture and design accents that embraced their history.

The Cabinet of Curiosities provides a unique showcase of memorabilia and artifacts that tell the story and history of the business. In fact, the glass partitioning in one of their breakout spaces is a stylised map of south London, with an iconic Costa coffee bean highlighting the location of the original roastery at Paradise Street in Lambeth.

The history of the original space is further alluded to with meeting booths housed in exposed brick railway arches. This might seem odd, however it’s a nod to the old storage facility at their original roastery, creating a solid nod to Costa’s long-standing south London pedigree.

Bespoke furnishings

At alternative ad agency, Anomaly, their office design needed to reflect their ethos of challenging the norm.

Along with a collection of unique, antique and repurposed furnishings, they commissioned new wooden tables for communal working. Hand crafted from local wood and fixed with a powder-coated metal A-Frame, these bespoke articles perfectly reflect the company’s individualism whilst supporting their culture of collaboration.

Likewise, the office centrepiece is a stunning staircase made of recycled timber, which has been integrated into an auditorium-style casual workspace. The richness of the craftsmanship of these pieces tells their own story whilst bringing biophilic elements into the office design.

Focus on local materials

Biophilia is a great way to connect users to a workspace, and can be used to create unique elements in your office design.

At Motonovo in Cardiff, beautiful bespoke wall finishes were commissioned in Welsh slate and wood to clad the reception. These finishes both reflect their Welsh heritage and help connect the workspace to the natural world.

In this case, the high-quality craftsmanship reflects the quality of the business whilst supporting a sense of wellbeing by connecting people to nature.

In all of these examples, originality and craftsmanship have been used to create individual, crafted spaces that resonate with both the businesses and users.

Whether you are commissioning bespoke design pieces or simply creating something unique, the care and consideration that goes into the design, is a reflection of your business. It embraces the ideal of doing things differently, and inspires your people to create work and ideas that are as unique as the surroundings around them.