At Glasgow’s Virginia Street, situated within what once was part of a historic and former printworks warehouse building in the Merchant City area, a new studio office space forms a creative home for digital designers ISO Design.
Working with the constraints of a narrow frontage and long plan, the design proposed a 600sqm conversion of an existing three storey commercial retail space. The project works initially stripped the existing interior exposing its masonry shell and efficiently re-modelled the internal floor plates (ground, basement & sub-basement) to provide a new multi layered arrangement of fit for purpose workspaces accommodating a flexible screening space, an open event and exhibition space, a series of digital editing suites and all interlinked with social areas.
Above street level, to what we describe as the ground floor, locates the main office and studio working spaces. Below street, enhanced by a subtle manipulation of the floor section to drop natural light to the depths of the plan, the basement floor houses the more socially focused or ‘informal’ work meeting spaces centred around an opening kitchen and dining area. The sub-basement, focused floor around a sunken courtyard, provides a new flexible offering for the studios in-house operations creating a ‘city’ space with a hirable conference, gallery, educational and event screening areas.
The context of Glasgow is a rich city of stone and brick urban blocks built by grid. Its streets and lanes are its formation creating light wells and a city of thresholds and fronts and backs. With these notions in mind, a design narrative emerged the around utilitarian ideas of interior ‘light wells’ to help inform and open up the section to; provide drawn natural light and ventilation to lower levels of the studio, and to offer better visual and physical connections to other spaces while activating the street frontage.
In terms of interior rooms and spatial materiality, the archeology of the existing site has been exposed to express the rich layers of brick, stone and concrete historic fabric. As an economic means of aesthetics decoration surfaces were exposed offering a strong rich palette of texture and colour while equally providing meaning and identity to the creative work space – Perhaps somewhat also nodding to the building’s inherent industrial past heritage.
The new elements added work in harmony. A layer of refined, contemporary and durable details have carefully been inserted into the studio to provide legible hierarchy between formal, intimate, flexible and communal spaces.