Despite the pandemic and concerns that London offices would be left empty, it seems that wherever you go within the capital, new offices are being constructed.
But before you sign a lease on yet another ultra-modern, glass-fronted building, have you considered whether a period property could be a better working environment for your business?
Thanks to the rise in serviced offices, you could set up your next HQ in a historic property in one of London’s most desirable districts (from Mayfair to Soho). Period properties are perfect if you’re looking for a building with a bit of character, as they typically include plenty of original features that add interest and uniqueness to every room that you step into.
So while you’re searching for your next office, look out for these period features to enhance your workspace…
1. A carefully crafted ceiling
In many period properties, the most intricate features aren’t at eye level – when you look up at the ceiling, there are plenty of distinctive details to behold. These ceilings are typically higher than they are in modern offices, which creates a light, airy atmosphere your team are sure to appreciate.
They’re also usually far more pleasing to look at than the ceiling tiles and strip lights that characterise many modern office blocks. Many period building ceilings have a ceiling rose – a decorative element that frames a light fixture – which can act as a focal point for the room. Classic ceiling cornices also add aesthetic touches where the walls and ceilings meet.
The offices in our 2 Bloomsbury Place property has beautiful high ceilings that give it a really spacious feel – why not book a tour to see them for yourself?
2. A welcoming fireplace
Creating a ‘home from home’ feeling within your office is an excellent way to make your team feel comfortable while they’re at work, particularly if they are hybrid working. Period properties can often feel more homely thanks to features like fireplaces, which are almost always absent within newly built office blocks.
A fireplace can be a stand-out feature within your office, particularly if it’s original, like the impressive marble fireplace within our 46 Bedford Row building. You can also see how the cast-iron grate in our Portland Place property gives a real sense of character to the space. Although it’s unlikely you’ll be able to light a fire in your office – modern health and safety rules apply even to period properties – it’s worth seeking out an office with a fireplace for the interest they can add to a room.
3. Natural wooden flooring
Bringing nature into the workplace has become extremely popular in recent years, as more employers have become aware of the wellbeing boost that elements like plants can provide for their employees. But did you know that wooden surfaces can have a positive impact on employee wellbeing?
Period properties like our Ganton Street offices often have original wooden flooring, meaning you can provide a positive boost for your team from the moment they walk in the door. Studies have also shown that wooden floors can improve the air quality within a building as they are hypoallergenic and don’t hold onto dust, mould and allergens like carpets do – another good reason to search for a period property with wooden floors when looking for your next office.
4. Traditional wooden panelling
You may have noticed that wooden panelling has been making its way back into many homes lately, after falling out of favour a few decades ago. However, for many period properties it never went away – so you’ll find one of the biggest interior design trends of 2022 in many of the older buildings with office space.
Offices like 3 Bloomsbury Place, where you’ll find traditional, whole-wall panelling mixed with more modern-looking painted wood panelling, depending on which office you choose. This blend of old and new brings a unique feel to each of the five suites within the building, which is sure to make a good impression on your clients and your team.
5. Small decorative flourishes
Perhaps the most beautiful thing about period properties is the way in which small details can make a significant difference to a room. Period properties are filled with decorative flourishes like architraves, door mouldings that give the effect of columns and lintels.
Features that were designed for practical purposes – such as dado rails, which were originally installed in Victorian properties to protect the walls from chairs – provide decoration in period buildings today. And corbels, which often play a crucial role in supporting ceilings and walls, are typically carved into beautiful patterns. Take a tour around our Portland Place offices to see all of the amazingly intricate features running throughout the building.
6. Large, original windows
During the Victorian era, windows were the focal point of a property, and were usually far taller than they were wide. These large windows create bright, airy internal rooms, a key feature to look for if you want to help your employees to be more productive – and a common feature in many older properties.
Our Carnaby Street offices have traditional Victorian sash windows, while 80 Berwick Street’s sash windows are Georgian. What’s the difference? Georgian sash windows comprise six panes of glass carefully arranged over another six panes of glass, so that the height of the window is six times the width. Victorian sash windows instead have a two-over-two panel grid design. Take a look at our Carnaby Street and Berwick Street properties to see for yourself.
Tell us what features you need in your next office
Our period properties are packed with unique original features, but there’s also plenty of opportunity to put your own stamp on our offices too. If you want modern, design-led furniture, for example, our design team can help you to fit out your office exactly how you want it.
To talk to our team about the features you need in your next office, get in touch with us today.
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