The interior design of the Inner City Ideas Cartel combines old world opulence with a modern twist creating a comfortable and inviting corporate environment that feels more like a gentleman’s lounge than your stereotypical office space. They recently opened a second co-working space in Bree Street, where every item has been carefully chosen to add a personal touch and convey the IC|IC philosophy. We chatted to Attik’s interior architect Brigid Randall about the story behind the design.
You’ve designed a luxurious corporate environment that’s sophisticated yet comfortable. What inspired this choice?
We wanted it to feel like a home away from home. That’s why we’ve got loose rugs and furniture that you’d find at home. Some desk chairs are dining room chairs, there are throws on the couches and lots of standing lamps which is unusual for a corporate office. It needed to be a comfortable environment where people can meet with colleagues and bring in external clients; a place where you feel welcome to have a coffee and chat. It’s important that people feel they can network and stay in the space instead of leaving.
What were some of the challenges?
We had to be inventive. We cladded a lot of the existing walls and needed to bring a theme into the space because it lacked warmth and a sense of connection. The IC|IC brand is all about old world luxury. It feels like you’re in a light corporate environment with a lounge aesthetic that’s inspired by yachting and Ralph Lauren. There are views of the ocean so we wanted to make it light and airy. The lobby area also has old maps and photographs related to yachting, which adds to the space’s personality.
One of the unique spaces at IC|IC is the rooftop with panoramic views of the city. How did you go about transforming this?
The aim behind the rooftop’s design was to get people to come and work there as well as to offer a bar and coffee service area. We wanted to integrate the exterior and interior so the brief was to have more of a co-working space as well as an informal meeting zone with lounges, coffee tables and long collaborative working tables where people can sit for the afternoon. Coffee is also a big offering at IC|IC and we made it a focal point of the space – it feels like more of a bar and less of an office. If you go there you’ll see a lot of smaller groups having meetings. There are also stations with earphones for individuals who’d want to work there.
IC|IC has recently opened a new space in Bree Street, which is a heritage site. How has this influenced the design?
The facade has black steel industrial windows and we wanted to capitalize on its existing industrial beauty. When you’re on the street looking at the building, you should know what to expect inside. We worked to expose the raw textures – there’s a lot of raw brick which we sandblasted. Previously, everything was plastered and painted. We also opened up the ceiling. The most unique part of this space was Schuyler’s idea to create a networking hub of entrepreneurs where people can come sit, chat and meet and get to know everybody working in the space.
Can you tell us a bit about the design process?
Schuyler is passionate about his brand and has a zest for new design. He briefed me on the brand and what the physical requirements were. I then did a design concept, which incorporates the look and feel – the textures and images of other spaces that look similar. Once he approved I went ahead with applying those textures to different areas in the space; assigning wall cladding, joinery and finishing the floor. Then, I started on the furniture design. We also custom designed all the lighting. Everything has a personal touch and has been handpicked for the space. It’s like telling a story.
Even though the interior look is inspired by a single theme, no two working areas are exactly the same. What elements have been central to creating this?
Overall, we’ve used a lot of warm textures, industrial steel and sandblasted wood. We also used old Oregon wood trusses from the building they’re demolishing next door. We want everything to tell a story so you get the feeling that everything is thought out. Every single door handle is unique, nothing looks the same and each office has its own personality. At the individual stations, each desk also has its own general lighting and storage space. We wanted everyone to feel like they’re working in specialized space, and that they’re on the same level – even if they have different office packages.
How does the design encourage a co-working space that enables networking?
The textures are very warm and welcoming and I think we’ve created a transparent environment through offices that are partitioned with glass all the way around and have an acoustic barrier at the base – a fabric layer at the bottom to prevent sound from travelling in different offices. We’ve used dark and warm textures but we’ve kept it light with the transparency of glass and a lot of lighting in the space. The atrium creates the central hub of conversation in the middle. I think everybody gets drawn to the focal point, which is the coffee bar, the collaboration area.
All the interior design was done by your business Attik. How did it come about and what distinguishes it from other businesses?
My business was conceived a year and half ago. I’d been in the industry previously at larger architecture firms but I wanted a more boutique process; starting on site, dealing with the interior as well as specifically designing specialized furniture for the clients. That’s what I think distinguishes my business offering from a normal corporate offering because it’s one on one and things are personalised.
In terms of design, what was most important about this particular project?
We went on a lot of scouting in Woodstock and Kalk Bay to find all of the vintage pieces you’ll see around the space. It’s about telling a story and figuring out how you want people to feel – that’s important. Once you understand this, you can being to create this feeling through texture and colour. It’s important to feel the brand in a space too, as it’s just another extension of their corporate identity.