To challenge the inaccessibility often associated with the music industry, the brief was to create a vibrant and flexible hub that feels like a home away from home

THISS Studio has transformed the upper two levels of a former warehouse on Leonard Street in Shoreditch to create a new office, coworking space and recording studio for music management group, Common Knowledge.

Initially, the client designated each room with a specialist designer but following delays, THISS Studio was appointed to lead the project as a cohesive whole.

Restrictions on architectural and structural interventions led to an interior defined by bespoke furniture, lighting and shelving to create a modular and dynamic space. The practice collaborated with Mitre and Mondays to develop a series of demountable furniture pieces that could adapt to future needs.

Larger architectural changes included the renovation and reconfiguration of the third and fourth floors – restoring and retrofitting where possible. 

Materials were specified for their acoustic qualities and integrated in their rawest forms. The team settled on a palette of cork, aluminium and sycamore from a local London plane from a felled tree near Euston. Each piece was fabricated at the Mitre and Mondays workshop in Islington.

Reflective of the surrounding architecture, the former warehouse’s brick facade was left untouched.

Materials have been specified for their acoustic qualities and integrated in their rawest forms

Entry is on the second floor, where an open stairwell and a red valchromat balustrade lead up to the coworking space on the third floor. White-painted joists and rafters float beneath glazing that spans the length of the pitched roof, with natural light entering from above and through two sash windows that dominate the front elevation.

Previously painted white, the original floorboards were restored and retreated with a dark finish.

Red valchromat wraps around the top of the stairwell, forming bench seating on its outer perimeter and shelving with perspex red painted steel for storing books and vinyl records. Designed as the main coworking desk space, the table is made up of two separating halves for a range of configurations.

Sails made from a nonwoven material are suspended from a sage green steel frame fixed between two ceiling joists. After prototyping, Mitre and Mondays selected a non-woven ground membrane material for its flexibility. Tension cables allow gravity to hold the sails in curvature, framing LED lights within.

Freestanding aluminium bench seats with red upholstered cushions echo the colour scheme throughout the office, as well as inbuilt, aluminium desks that span the length of the coworking space to one side. Framing each deskspace, steel runs between untreated plane joinery sourced from Fallen and Felled to create a record display above. Aluminium was selected for its lightweight quality, as well as its recyclability.

A galley kitchen and bathroom adjacent have been minimally renovated and reconfigured for better flow.

Previously painted white, the original floorboards were restored and retreated with a dark finish

Opposite the central stairwell, an existing spiral staircase has been retrofitted with aluminium panels. It ascends to a break room on the fourth floor where red valchromat joinery continues to form open storage and bench seating while concealing an air handling unit that provides ventilation to the adjacent recording studio.

The triple-aspect recording studio is fitted with double layers of insulation and was designed in collaboration with Noatune, isolating the space acoustically from the main office. The walls feature a range of fabric panels, bass traps and valchromat diffusers to create an acoustic suitable for songwriting. Cork panelling at the base is backed with sheeps wool insulation for acoustic diffusion.

Tamsin Hanke, project architect at THISS Studio, said: “Designing custom-built furniture and lighting allowed us to not only tailor the space but also curate the visitor’s experience. The collection of objects within the space are fluid, suggesting functional assemblies but ultimately allowing the daily use of the office to adapt. They remain separate from the existing building which has its own distinct character, but nestle comfortably within it.”

Project details

Architect and interior designer THISS Studio

Design team THISS Studio, Mitre and Mondays, Noatune

Fabricator Mitre and Mondays

Paint Dulux Trade

Shelving THISS Studio X Mitre and Mondays in Valchromat

Cork EcoCork board supplied by Ty-Mawr Lime

Lighting THISS Studio X Mitre and Mondays / Philips Hue

Upholstery King Upholstery