The new ‘unconventional’ types of workplaces, where life and business merge

Recently, I visited a branding and design practice in Sydney’s oh-so-hip Redfern and was met with some enthusiasm by Baxter, Rex, Ralph and Pilot. After a quick meet-and-greet, they returned to their desks, or rather under their desks, as they are the dogs of various staff members.

The London base of PSLab with mattress-style cushions to encourage downtime – especially for Wilf the resident dog. Credit:Rory Gardiner

They seemed to be a symbol of a new type of workplace, where life and business merge. Another potent example of this is found at the new London home of PSLab, a lighting showroom in a late-Victorian warehouse in Bermondsey (pictured).

Artists James Russell and Hannah Plumb of creative studio James Plumb collaborated with the practice to design an unconventional space where areas overlap. “There is a garden, a kitchen, a courtyard, a library, a meeting room, an auditorium and a living room – their functions are defined yet intertwined,” says Russell.

The former tannery was stripped back to reveal its core industrial structure and then an “internal concrete landscape” conceived on varying levels – so a step becomes a seat, a plinth becomes a floor, and a floor becomes a bench.

“At the heart of the space we have a 3.2-metre cantilevered dining table [around which] to gather, share and eat,” says Plumb. Greenery was included everywhere, with mattress-style cushions to encourage downtime – especially for Wilf the resident dog.

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