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Company: Lonely Planet
Location: London, SE1
Size: 15,000 sq ft

Design Brief

A household name to holidaymakers across the globe, Lonely Planet are the largest travel guide publisher in the world. They’ve made a name for themselves as a trusted resource that offers an alternative to the generic ‘tourist-trap’ guidebook; allowing readers to discover and explore the unorthodox and original aspects of their destination.

After recently moving to 240 Blackfriars for their new European headquarters, they asked Oktra and Aros Architects to design an inspiring new space. They wanted an office that reflected their worldly-wise image to attract staff and clients alike - a perfect balance between home, work and holiday.

Solution

To create a globetrotting atmosphere, Oktra designed ‘cultural clusters’ around the office that capture the character of well-known holiday destinations. With muted white walls and ceilings, personality is composed through distinctive and cosmopolitan furniture choices. From vibrant explosions of colour on American diner booths to minimalist Scandinavian chairs in dark timbers, the selection of collaborative, touchdown and meeting spaces lets the teams choose how they want to work.

These divisions of space are further characterised in diverging flooring materials; unassuming concrete walkways open out into light pine or rich oak panelling and meeting spaces are carpeted with luxurious Byzantine geometric patterns.

To remind staff of their London setting, red telephone booth doorways are set into quiet zones, where staff can focus on isolated work, one-on-one meetings and telephone conversations.

A centrepiece for the project is found in the kitchen. Lonely Planet wanted an open area that developed a community spirit, where staff from all departments and countries can interact at any time of day. With a large segment of Lonely Planet’s guidebooks focusing on food, Oktra thought what better way to celebrate cultural diversity than through food? Expanding on the original design, Oktra included a bright pine breakfast bar surrounded by cantina style touchdown spaces. The decadent lanterns and Moroccan tiling contrast with this environment, creating a confluence where East meets West.

Outcome

“Lonely Planet were blown away by their new office, it offers staff and clients a multitude of different spaces and ways of working that celebrates their multicultural ethos and image - great for the abundance of restless travellers in the office!” - said Nic Pryke, Design Director at Oktra.

 

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