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Flagship city workspace nearing completion as 5-metre ficus tree is craned onto top floor

Construction work at Uncommon’s fourth space and flagship 41,430 sq. ft. flexible office development on Liverpool Street is nearing completion. Officially opening on the 4th April with 850 desks to members, the new addition joins the existing three Uncommon spaces in Borough, Highbury & Islington and Fulham, with more to come in 2019.

Uncommon offers luxury co-working offices in central locations with an emphasis on design led spaces and a focus on health & wellbeing. Their aim is to promote a healthier way of working in an environment that evokes creativity, as well as productivity. The spaces draw inspiration from Scandinavian design with a combination of rich textures and tonal colours to stimulate focus and maintain levels of calmness.

In keeping with this, ahead of the opening, the team will be craning in one of London’s largest living trees in a workspace. The craning of the Ficus benjamina tree will be a major operation, with the 500kg/5 metre tall tree having to be lifted in via crane, using 15 strap lifts. In addition to this, a vast tree trunk will also be craned in. The trunk has been halved and polished to form two long desks.

Living greenery is central to Uncommon’s wellness strategy and the Liverpool Street space houses over 500 plants, to help filter the air and provide a more natural feel to the space. Central to this is the 5-metre Ficus benjamina tree, situated in the central atrium of the top-floor communal mezzanine space. Surrounding the tree will be hanging chairs, perfect for relaxation or break-out meetings. Native to Asia and Australia the Ficus tree is the official tree of Bangkok and in natural conditions can reach up to 30 metres. This species will be carefully cultivated to ensure it remains a healthy size for its surrounding environment.

In addition to meticulously designed spaces, the reception of the Liverpool Street space will feature an interactive light installation, from designer and director, Marcus Lyall. The installation will be activated through pulse; individuals can place their finger on a censor which monitors the heartbeat and in turn, the installation will pulse with each heartbeat, and measure the heart rhythm and depending on the rhythm, the lighting will react in different ways.

Speaking of his collaboration with Uncommon, Marcus said: ‘’ I’m currently exploring how light and sound can help us understand our body’s internal signals and as Uncommon have an emphasis on wellness and balance in their spaces, I wanted to explore this combination in a creative way, to showcase how our feelings and senses can be displayed.’’

Set within The Crosspoint, the cylindrical building, acquired from Lord Sugar’s development company, is Uncommon’s latest flexible workspace, which has been created to appeal to established businesses, scale ups and individuals looking for the best office space in the City of London.

The interior fixtures and furnishings have been sourced from Italian artisan designers, specifically for their ergonomic qualities. Stand out pieces include two large custom designed co-working tables from Riva 1920 cut from a single tree trunk, bespoke meeting room tables and sideboards from Cattelan, specially designed angular polished Portoro marble bars, brass and bronze detailing, smoked glass shelving, a feature fire place made from perforated extruded metalwork and hand-crafted, walnut-clad relaxation pods.

The space also incorporates the principles of Activity Based Working (ABW), which research suggests can help increase productivity and overall effectiveness. ABW is a method, where instead of forcing individuals to carry out the majority of work on a designated desk, it encourages people to recognise that different work activities can be better supported by spaces and features designed specifically for a task.

Partly open, with only the top floors left to complete, the Liverpool Street space offers private office space, open-plan working, phone-booth style enclosed areas and a rooftop with views across the city. The space has already attracted a number of full-time members, from established financial companies to start-ups and charities.

Complete with a full-service coffee lounge space, the top-floor area will include hot desks, break-out areas and a theatre-style stepped area.

Founder and interior designer for all Uncommon spaces, Tania Adir, says “Our goal was simply to create the best flexible office building in London. The building benefits from an unbeatable location and an abundance of natural light, we have then added the elements that make it an Uncommon space. Over the last few years there has been a major shift in the office market. Flexible office space is no longer the preserve of the unambitious, bland occupier. People demand interesting and versatile space that is flexible enough to adapt as they do. This is appealing to start ups and far larger businesses – our largest occupier currently has 200 workstations.”

Tania continues; “The economy is driven by SMEs so we will provide high quality space for our members. We want people to feel better about being at work, so we’ve applied the very latest thinking in sound design, aroma, ergonomics and the psychology of productivity. We don’t believe anyone else in the sector has taken such a close look at wellbeing at work. This isn’t just about the occasional yoga class or desk massage – this is a completely different way of looking after your members, and a real breath of fresh air in the industry.”

Located across from Liverpool Street station members have direct access to the Central, Circle, Metropolitan and Hammersmith & City underground lines, as well as London Overground services and trains to the east of England. Perfect for City commuters there is bike storage for members within the building.

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