Interior architects, Forme UK, are set to complete the refurbishment of the ‘New wing’ of the Somerset House estate. The scheme is part of the fourth and last phase of the renovation of the iconic Grade 1 listed buildings. The redevelopment started 6 years ago and over the years saw the involvement of several consultants, all called up to bring to life the vision of the Trust.
Forme UK’s engagement in the project began in 2008 with the refurbishment and modernisation of the 3rd floor in the South Wing. After years of abandon, new workspaces were created from loft like rooms and corridors. This was all achieved with a modest budget.
Paul Catlow, Director of Estates at Somerset House said ‘The newly refurbished office space at Somerset House proved to be hugely popular with tenants to the extent that more than 250,000 sq.ft of space has been let by word of mouth alone. The beautifully restored public galleries and dining areas provide the perfect backdrop for the varied exhibition and event programme, providing complete versatility for all manner of different uses. People love to be in the spaces and the building responds by providing a welcoming and vibrant environment’
When the Inland Revenue vacated the ground floor of the East wing and the entire West wing after 150 years of occupation, Forme UK and the design team were briefed to convert the spaces for new use. As with the South Wing, improving circulation within the East Wing was the first challenge. A cluttered layout was quickly turned into a fluid ensemble of interconnecting galleries and commercial spaces. All the lightweight partitions installed in the 1960s together with other significant structural interventions were removed and the original wall features reinstated, so that the interior could return to its old glory.
This restoration unlocked the fee generating potential of the estate, while also restoring its authentic quality. The process required careful and extensive repairs. New timber floors, lighting and traditional materials were used to enhance the original fabric and mirror the aesthetics of the other wings, reflecting the Grade 1 listing of the estate. In line with the brief, building services design increased the technological content of these spaces with the integration of modern wiring services concealed in the architecture. Modern toilet facilities have been installed throughout all the renovations.