BCO Awards 2017

The Loom, by Duggan Morris Architects for client Helical Bar, has been shortlisted as part of the annual London Region BCO Awards, in the Refurbished/Recycled Workspace category; defined as a corporate or commercial building where significant works have been carried out to adapt the existing building to modern office use, but where no more than 49% of the net internal area of the building may be new build.

The BCO Awards are widely respected within the commercial property sector as they display the strength of British office design and illustrate a combination of excellence from the clarity of purpose in the brief; ingenuity of product; clever design solutions where appropriate; and delivery on time and within budget.

The awards also exists to research, develop and communicate best practice in all aspects of the office sector. It delivers this by providing a forum for the discussion and debate of relevant issues. One of the BCO’s primary objectives is to define excellence in office space. As part of this objective, the annual awards programme provides public recognition for top quality design and functionality and a benchmark for excellence in workplaces. The programme acknowledges innovation and focuses external attention on examples of best practice.

At The Loom, existing materials were retained to preserve the historical value and importance of the building’s origins. It was also a requirement of the conservation officer to reuse bricks that arose from new openings, including creating a new entrance condition and ‘open plan’ layouts on the upper floors. This sustainable approach not only reduced the need for new materials, but minimised the amount of materials sent to landfill. The Loom is about breathing life into a neglected space so creativity can thrive once again. Stuart Patience, an illustrator and animator based in London, was commissioned to create a piece of art that would resonate with both the building’s heritage and the creative community using The Loom today.

Working with a local historian, he looked back to The Loom’s past life as a warehouse built to store bales of wool produced by the merino sheep of Australia. Patience’s interpretation of The Loom’s history sees overgrown sheep rise up through the space while farmers struggle to keep them grounded, tugging at the sheep’s coats and unravelling their wool as they do so.

The Loom is full of stories that unravel and offer glimpses into the building’s rich history. From the woven metal gates that welcome you in, to the bespoke artworks in the Art Space, stories are all around. But none are more apparent than the significant black and white mural that rises up through building’s atrium space. This is what sets the project apart.

“The idea was to create a playfully surreal take on the building’s history with a sense of wonder and spectacle, something that would parallel The Loom’s new creative community. I wanted to take advantage of the tall and narrow canvas at the heart of the building with a narrative that unravels as people ascend through the building, just like as the wool unravels from the sheep as they float up into the air like clouds.” – Stuart Patience

New loom