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‘An office of stacked things’: Sam Jacob Studio completes London design studio

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This studio for a Japanese design agency in London’s Old Street makes a virtue of being an assemblage of different components

Takram, a design innovation studio which has its main headquarters in Tokyo, commissioned Sam Jacob Studio to create a flexible space accommodating working modes ranging from digital to physical making.

The fit-out sees the use of a wide range of materials, all held together by a powder-coated steel frame that contains functions and creates spaces – including a kitchen, workshop, cupboards and storage.

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Office for Takram, Old Street by Sam Jacob

Architect’s view

The approach was to create a raw yet refined atmosphere, a space where each of the components is articulated. By making the decisions and assembly visible in the project’s finished state, it retains a sensation of the design process and thinking.

The design developed a rich mix of materials. Industrial materials like cement board are set next to marble panels; cast-concrete objects are used alongside chunks of timber. These are brought together to create a language of contrasting materials with different values, texture, finish and reference. Rather than resolving into a single aesthetic, the palette feels more like an architect’s material library, where unexpected juxtapositions occur through cataloguing.

This variety is held together by frameworks and armatures that give the space its structure. Powder-coated steel frames are used to create the skeleton of the kitchen / workshop space, with appliances, panelling, cupboards and storage simply slotted in.

The same powder-coated frames are used to create the specially designed furniture including a long central table for the office. Panels of marble, plywood and cement board are dropped into these simple frames to make table tops.

New partitions and shelving are created through assembling materials in a series of ‘stacks’ and ‘piles’. White horizontal planks are supported by a series of objects and material fragments. O’s and X’s cast in concrete, orange-tinted acrylic tubes, sections of silver birch tree, reflective chromed pipe, even material offcuts salvaged from the process of fabrication are used to create the stacked structures.

It’s a system that learns from the most basic ways of placing one material on top of another where the process of assembly becomes the formal arrangement. Shelves created by the act of putting things on a shelf.

Sam Jacob

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Office for Takram, Old Street by Sam Jacob

Client’s view

As an international design studio, we value ‘collective openness’ and celebrate different viewpoints and skill sets – we wanted to reflect this into space through material usage. With Sam’s interpretation and design work, our studio now doesn’t only represent how we work in a down-to-earth manner, but also gives us inspiration and surprises.

Yosuke Ushigome, Takram

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Office for Takram, Old Street by Sam Jacob

Project data

Start on site July 2019
Completion Sept 2019
Gross internal floor area 90m²
Construction cost Undisclosed
Architect Sam Jacob Studio
Client Takram
Main contractor Jamps

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Office for Takram, Old Street by Sam Jacob

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