As it marks its 20-year anniversary, Samsung Design Europe (SDE) has announced its relocation to an iconic new design space set in the heart of London’s Square Mile – 70 St Mary Axe. Designed by award-winning British architecture and interiors practice McLaren Excell, this human-inspired, minimalistic space sits at the crossroads of the vibrant City and the dynamism of Shoreditch.
McLaren Excell were taken on board to develop a scheme which sought to re-define the working environment and design a space more attuned with the way Samsung Design Europe work and think. The project was developed with a clear brief to place forward thinking and unexpectedly personal design at the forefront of their approach – befitting a team committed to researching and developing how we will engage with products and technology in the future. Luke McLaren says “The new Samsung Design Europe workplace is a great example of how the ‘office’ is rapidly changing to provide a more human and personally engaging environment which, in many ways, consigns the formality of the workspace to the past and instead embraces a more relaxed, informal and experiential place of work. We want the Samsung office to have all the qualities that are enjoyable about your home – a softness, a sense of calm, a high degree of tactility, spaces to congregate, spaces to which one can withdraw…but all the while nurturing that sense of welcome, of belonging, of enjoyment. We always knew that this would be a place for a collective of ‘future thinkers’, and the sense of place and atmosphere that we have strived to deliver are, we hope, conducive to the creative thinking and problem solving that is SDE’s lifeblood.”
Enveloped by a series of timber screens which mediate between the different uses of space, the open plan workspace lightly references the company’s South Korean heritage. The spruce glulam screens programmatically bisect the space between group working environments and private meeting areas to promote both open discussion and more intimate team workshops, whilst movable linen curtain partitions allow the communal spaces to remain flexible and provide some tactility and warmth. The lighting is deliberately more domestic in nature: there is no general grid lighting, instead the fittings light specific areas in an intimate way. Combined with planting and comfortable soft furnishings, it is a calm and informal workplace that will nurture the innovative minds that inhabit the space each and every day.
“70 St Mary Axe is a design beacon for us at Samsung Design Europe – it represents a new era of innovation and inspiration,” said Felix Heck, Head of Samsung Design Europe. “With its sustainable design and city location, this destination will give our London teams a truly interactive space, by housing the perfect blend of modern architecture and hybrid working. Inspired by sensitive design qualities and natural materials, it is the perfect new home.”
David Bishop, Design Director at Oktra, added: “The finished workspace is a stunning realisation of the client’s vision for a collaborative, unifying working environment and, for a studio like Samsung Design Europe, it’s going to reinforce their brand image on a daily basis for staff and visitors at St. Mary Axe.”
Samsung Design Europe is a melting pot of cross-disciplinary design studio aficionados whose work reflects Europe’s rich cultural heritage. As well as finding ways to preserve design heritage, they also forecast the future and are involved in every stage of the product development cycle. They are organised across four teams including: Product Design, Product Innovation, User Experience and Trend Experience.
The new space at 70 St Mary Axe is also designed to be as sustainable as possible, futureproofing the studio for the next 10 years. The integration of technology throughout the building also allows SDE to serve the technological requirements of its studio. In line with local regulations, the space will adhere to safety measures to ensure the ongoing wellbeing of colleagues and partners.