Ekho Studio has completed the second stage of a new London HQ workplace project for PRS for Music, the home to the Performing Right Society (PRS), who ensure royalty payments for members whenever their music is performed, broadcast, streamed, downloaded, reproduced, played in public or used in film and TV.
Ekho Studio was appointed to design the workplace scheme at Hay’s Galleria at London Bridge in January 2022. A first, smaller phase of work had already been completed, with Ekho Studio Founding Partner Sarah Dodsworth also working on this with a previous agency, prior to the formation of Ekho Studio and where the focus was on collaborative spaces. This larger second phase, comprised of 150 desks over 18,600 sq ft, was designed bring the organisation’s full team together for the first time after a lease break allowed its main body of staff, previously in a separate Streatham location, to join the primary, central-London location.
The design narrative had a clear and simple aesthetic rationale, which aimed for coherence with Phase One of the project, whilst also encompassing new opportunities to evolve the scheme’s branding elements, specifically in terms of how these contributed to the team’s experience of the new workplace. These needed to exemplify PRS for Music’s contemporaneity, for example, and its vital relation to today’s music industry, with visual reference to ‘the textures of music’ to be integrated in a nuanced and abstracted way, and with an increased use of colour, alongside the main scheme. The scheme’s tone of voice was to be ‘confident, open and warm.’
The overall building envelope had been subject to a Cat A refurbishment in the recent past, meaning that the inherited base build was in good condition. The design team sought to re-use existing materials and treatments wherever possible for cost and sustainability reasons, with any replacement items having to win a strong functional argument for inclusion. Acoustics had a high priority in the base build, for example, including an existing, acoustic-sprayed ceiling soffit with downstand beams and galvanised duct work. Hays Galleria itself features retail and hospitality offers at ground floor level, with the PRS for Music offices sitting directly above on Level One of the building, whilst wrapping round three sides of the Galleria Courtyard, with views down onto the bustling commercial activity below. All window treatments remained untouched therefore as inherited in excellent existing condition.
As well as a reception area with a video wall, open plan work areas and a large series of meeting rooms, this second project phase also needed to include a dedicated, soundproofed Filming Room; an Innovation Room for new content creation and a Collaboration Corner, as well as a larger multi-use breakout event space. There were also to be several phone booths and five 2-person meeting pods. As much furniture as possible was to be UK-sourced or UK-manufactured, both to showcase the best of British design and to reduce the carbon footprint during travel and delivery, as well as to ensure good lead times, which was particularly relevant at the tail end of the pandemic.