10 May 2024
Mix Interiors: How Basha-Franklin colour-coded Myo’s latest workplace

Clare Dowdy, Journalist at Mix Interiors, interviews Basha-Franklin's Rachel Basha, Founder and Principal Director, and Nicola Osborn, Creative Director, on Myo St Paul's.

The latest offering from flexible office provider Myo brings the principles of hospitality and retail into the workplace.

Words: Clare Dowdy
Photography: Taran Wilkhu

Basha-Franklin has completed its first ‘flexible office space’, the latest outpost of Landsec’s branded offering, Myo. Like all such well-designed workspaces these days, this one has set out to tick the boxes of adaptability and flexibility; attracting people back to the office; connectivity and movement; health and wellness; and sustainability.

The entrance to Myo is on level two – a welcoming dash of warm colour and interesting materials on what is otherwise a bland, monochrome floor. Principal director Rachel Basha-Franklin and creative director Nicola Osborn have opened up Myo’s ‘shop front’, putting in floor-to-ceiling glass walls and a glazed sliding door reminiscent of a high street boutique. Pink tones draw the eye towards the reception desk on the right, the new staircase and the communal space beyond that.

At Basha-Franklin, our mission is to holistically transform buildings and spaces that are better for people and the planet. We are passionate about minimising the environmental impact of our designs and are constantly seeking new and innovative ways to make it happen.

Rachel Basha-Franklin

The stair was a key architectural addition – a way to break up the deep floor plate with an atrium-style opening (complete with a lighting feature that emulates a natural lightwell), and to visually join Myo’s three levels. On all three floors, communal spaces are centralised, while offices are positioned around the periphery to access some genuine natural light.

As well as booths and offices, the first floor has the biggest kitchen area, which can also cater for the adjacent event space – the first such space in any Myo – which can hold 100 people. The second level is laid out to be quieter, with more closed offices, two small meeting rooms and suite of smaller rooms for private calls and concentrated work. Here, the refreshment counter has been divided in two, to avoid people queuing for hot drinks.

There is yet more privacy on the top level, where Basha-Franklin has created office spaces with rows of sit-stand desks. In total, this Myo has capacity for 700 desks.

These three floors are differentiated not just by their functions, but by the psychology behind their colour-coding. So while the first level has earth tones – intended to ignite productivity, passion and excitement, and to be warm and inviting; the next one has green and natural tones, supposed to activate concentration and mental clarity; and the top is blue, to calm, refresh and revive the mind.

These colours are applied not just to furniture and finishes, but to the hand- crafted wall panels on each floor. Called Spelk!, they’re created from OSB boards by artist Orla Lawn, whom Basha- Franklin found through social media. The firm commissioned Lawn to create bespoke colours for Myo and the Spelks! are intended to be an artistic point of interest, to add to Myo’s textured palette and aid wayfinding.

The thresholds help with differentiating zones, with two types of flooring laid together at an angle so “you flow into spaces in a natural way,” says Basha-Franklin.

Every business and every person is unique, each seeking different things from their working environment, so we created a space that is flexible, wellbeing focused and inclusive. We’ve purposely designed an immersive office space that is loaded with unexpected moments of delight to support the diverse needs of today’s workforce.

Nicola Osborn

These and other elements of the design including acoustics and lighting levels are intended to support the one in seven people in the UK who is neurodivergent, according to the Local Government Association.

Also flowing throughout is the quality of the finishes, more suggestive of a luxe hotel than an office, which explains the low-volume pop music which follows users around. Hence the colour-coded metal trim on some of the acoustic wall panels; the bespoke reception desk, with rotund Lammhaults sofas and armchairs by Moroso standing in front of a Buxkin feature wall of leather made from reconstituted offcuts from the Italian shoe industry; the custom-fabricated booths and tables in the break-out area; the upholstery, ceiling panels and sheer curtaining from Kvadrat; Specialist Marble Group’s terrazzo counter tops; the bar stools by Noom; and Myceen’s Mycelium lights.

When it comes to workplace design, you have to create places that people want to get out of bed for.

Nicola Osborn

Osborn believes that many offices are now raising their game, in terms of the quality of their event spaces. So here there are bespoke Valchromat acoustic wood fibre wall panels, because “they elevate it from feeling institutional to being more hotel-like,” she adds.

But it’s also got to be durable. Hence the Cemento reclaimed stone wall in the meeting room, because people push their chairs back into walls; and hence the angled arms of those chairs, so they don’t get bashed against the table.

The space has been designed based on Basha-Franklin’s experience (such as its reimagined HQ for Related Argent) the client’s brief and the existing evidence around people’s workplace needs and aspirations. But as Osborn points out, very soon wearable tech will be able to read people’s emotional response to a space. When it happens, “we’ll be able to translate that into a tangible investment tool,” she predicts.

Learn more about the design of Myo St Paul's, One New Change.

Read the full feature on Mix Interiors.

PublicationMix Interiors
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