Wilkinson Eyre revamps office

Empress State – a distinctive, 30-storey, Y-shaped, 1960s office block near Earl’s Court in London – has been refurbished by architect Wilkinson Eyre in a project that involves a revolving bar venue, a 220-cover restaurant and an open terrace on the 27th floor.

The work was commissioned by Landflex – a sub-brand of property firm Land Securities, which was branded by Circus and Johnson Banks. Landflex aims to capitalise on the demand for flexible leasing. The project involves a public piazza and small ‘gatehouse’ building.

The landscaping design ‘ties the building into its surroundings’, says Wilkinson Eyre director Chris Wilkinson, while the 26-storey by 5m deep steel-and-glass extension provides an extra 1394m2 of office space and shades the south-facing, fully-glazed facia.

Interior detailing and the scheme for Orbit (pictured), the 30th floor bar that can move at a top speed of two revolutions per hour, are contemporary takes on 1960s-style, adds Wilkinson Eyre associate Dominic Bettison.

‘We’ve tried to make the interior space [of Orbit] quite dark [in colour] so that the eye is drawn out to the panoramic skyline view of London,’ he explains.

In the public areas, much of the original marble has been left exposed, in an effort to retain the character of the building.

The ‘campus-style’ setting around Empress State includes a health club, childcare nursery, restaurant and wine bar.

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