Case Study:

Align’s Office Refurbishment


Services Used:

  • Commercial
  • Conservation
  • Interior Design



The Client

Perhaps the most difficult client we have worked with – Chartered RIBA Architects, Align Architecture. A business formed to offer a different approach to realising the aspirations and ambitions of each client; always putting them at the heart of the design process.

Align Architecture has built a reputation as a highly versatile practice, providing effective and innovative solutions. Yet we understand that our creativity must be grounded in realistic costings and a need to extract maximum efficiency from every project.

The Design

We have a reputation to enhance and decided that when clients visit the loft at 16 Regent Place, they would receive a good first impression – cool offices that portray our design ideals are so much better than any number of webpages and brochures.

The stripped bare floorboards, Victorian metal windows and high ceilings were what first attracted us to the building, so would be highlights of the design.

We designed room dividers to split the reception area from the workspace, where our architects can hide from the public and get on with work, rather than socialising – that’s left to Nick, the boss.

On a small budget we had to create the perfect sharp-edged workspace, filled with light and design touches that offer the inspiration for our work and hopefully impress the many clients that call in to see us and discuss their projects.

"The move to the loft at 16 Regent Place, gives us room to breathe and the refurbishment has allowed us to project our identity as a design-led business. There are a lot of these Victorian workshops across the city and re-purposing them as creative spaces for the burgeoning Birmingham business community is a great opportunity. It allows us to demonstrate our reputation for creativity and innovation in building design. The stripped bare floorboards, Victorian metal windows and high ceilings are the perfect backdrop for the sharp-edged workspace and graphics that offer the inspiration for our work and hopefully impress the many clients that call in to discuss their projects."

Nick Clewer, Director

The Work

Trying to squeeze the project in amongst all the other work the team had on, ensured we were open a month or two before we finally had it how we wanted it, but it was worth the effort – and if you don’t believe us, drop in and have a look around.

The designs were approved by the client and the various works undertaken by local craftsmen, to include:

  • Walls stripped and re-plastered;
  • Feature brick walls left bare and sealed;
  • New surface-run conduits carry the re-wiring;
  • Bespoke room divider to break up the space
  • Fitted kitchen units to client area
  • Full glass wall to boardroom
  • Scaffold boards hang as baffles in boardroom
  • New light fittings throughout
  • Bare floorboards show the buildings history
  • Wall graphics to enhance design of space
  • Bespoke reception desk and seating in client area
  • Pool table added – rarely used!

The Outcome

The final result in a word – good. Although we probably shouldn’t be surprised, when we combine the collective talents of the creative thinkers in the Align Architecture team, with the work of a few dedicated craftsmen we work with the results are extraordinary.

The Loft is now everything you would expect of a boutique architects’ practice in the heart of the second city; cool and inspiring.

More importantly we believe the office now reflects the importance we place on working sympathetically with spaces and understanding their history. It might be easy to strip out all the old stuff, back to bare shell and fit only new stuff, but it’s not always appropriate.

Clearly this was out hardest, most demanding client ever and we recognise they will never be satisfied. The snagging list is thankfully short and we now have a workplace we can be proud of, which will undoubtedly add to the impression that we know a thing or two about design.

Come and see us, but please don’t ask if the carpet has been stolen. It wasn’t funny the first time and still isn’t – the floorboards are bare for a reason and we like them that way.

There’s nothing we like more than to talk design, architecture and buildings, so please get in touch and let’s discuss your next project.

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