The Ministry, London

Designed by: Squire & Partners
For client: Ministry of Sound Floor area: 4729.00 M² Year of completion: 2018
Submitted for: Co-Working Space of the Year

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About the Project

The Ministry is a social workspace and private members club for creative industries, housed in a former Victorian print works in Southwark. The design sought to create the antithesis to a nightclub environment. Desirable, practical working floors alongside generous social space are as suited to morning coffee and lunch meetings as evening networking and social events.

The aesthetic fuses Ministry of Sound’s innovative origins and the raw factory space with refined furniture, lighting and artwork. Exposed timber floors, untreated textured walls and black painted steelwork are a canvas for this curated layer, creating relaxed hospitality spaces. Rugs feature patterns based on original motifs within the building and are inspired by the heritage of Ministry of Sound. Above the entrance desk a light sculpture’s mechanical movement nods to the space’s industrial heritage.

Ground floor social spaces include circular curtained booths and apartment-style meeting/dining rooms. A 22m copper pipe bar leads from the lounge to a courtyard. On the lower ground level is a VR studio, screening and production rooms and a feature tequila bar. Light-filled workspaces on first to fourth floors accommodate different sized organisations and include meeting/informal dining rooms and breakout space. Pared down tea points provide a backdrop to the furnished spaces, and phone booths give privacy. Circulation between floors reveal original terrazzo stairs and exposed concrete and steel structure.

What’s unique about it

The design concept stays true to the origins of the mother brand with bold, raw elements contrasting with a layer of premium finish. This aesthetic establishes a highly creative and energetic environment which transforms throughout the day and into the evening, with the ability to shift its tempo as the working week progresses, and evolve between seasons.

Combining the creative, social and networking aspects of a members club with dynamic workspace for up to 850 people; involved in sectors including music, film, arts, fashion and technology; the aim was not just to offer a place to do business, but to provide an environment for a convivial and creative way of life.

The space is almost entirely unbranded, allowing the design to communicate The Ministry’s core values, and affording the occupants breathing room for their own businesses without feeling subservient to the history of an imposed brand.

Generous and desirable areas have been created for a schedule of curated events to inspire members, and social spaces in which the development of ideas and enterprise between people in the creative sectors can flourish.

The design aesthetic is carried through to all senses, using a carefully crafted layer of visual stimulus, house scents, curated soundscapes for interior and exterior spaces – devised by sound architect Tom Middleton to form a variety of audio sensory environments – along with guest services to create a holistic experience for residents and visitors.

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Location of project:
Squire & Partners

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