Thakeham Social Hub

Design of a multi-functional social hub in their head offices near Billingshurst, West Sussex.

Jigsaw Interior Architecture was commissioned by Thakeham Homes to design a multi-functional social hub in their head offices near Billingshurst, West Sussex. The brief was to create a break-out space not only for Thakeham Homes employees to enjoy their lunch and tea breaks in, but also to design a communal, open plan area that could also be used for informal meetings.

This multi-purpose, open plan space needed to serve as a workable kitchen and dining space for the Thakeham employees as well as a lounge area in which they could relax during their breaks. Jigsaw Interior Architecture wanted to create a really inspirational space that felt inviting, modern and dynamic, but which would also instill a sense of wellbeing at work.

Jigsaw Interior Architecture undertook to complete the bespoke joinery and FF&E installation; one of the most striking features of the Jigsaw design was painting the ceiling black. This is a bold suggestion for a client to consider and we were thrilled that Thakeham Homes were happy to run with it, as it transforms the scheme in a unique way. With the ceiling painted black our lighting design comes into its own, especially within the bespoke joinery areas and the entire social hub space feels dynamic without feeling at all harsh thanks to the wooden chevron flooring. Another key element of our plan was the inclusion of various areas of bespoke joinery made from oiled oak, by master craftsmen. These joinery elements screen and divide the open plan space into varying different zones (lounging, meeting, dining) whilst retaining the cohesion of the open plan design with portions that are open that you can see through.

Niches built into the dividing screens are dressed with books, plants and decorative objects which glow under strips of LED down lights.

There is barstool seating at a long, high-level island in the centre of the space, which also incorporates power sockets for charging laptops and mobile phones. More private banquette seating booths are set within oiled oak frames, which create recessed areas in which to eat or meet creating some seclusion thanks to the lower enclosed ceiling area. One seating section incorporates a lush green wall spilling over with ferns and grasses adding a tranquil, verdant element which sits beautifully with the wood used in the joinery. By way of contrast and to highlight the raw beauty of these natural materials the backs and base of the carcass of the banquette seating is kept white; sage green back cushions are suspended by tan straps both in hardwearing leather.

Industrial style wall lights in black iron with exposed squirrel cage bulbs run along a cork lined wall in the lounge seating area. The FF&E department wanted to complement the warm tones within these natural finishes of oak and cork with coffee tables in polished copper, teal armchairs with oak legs and a buttoned sofa upholstered in a light grey textured weave.

Thakeham Homes have found that this informal lounge area initially conceived for employees has provided an unexpected new space for meetings with clients. The feedback regarding our design for their social hub has been overwhelmingly positive and we are thrilled that they have reaped the benefits of having a beautifully designed workplace.

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