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Thames and Hudson

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The prestigious international-art-and architecture publisher Thames & Hudson operated for decades from a group of interconnected Georgian houses close to the British Museum, an appropriate and appealing home, but one that grew increasingly overcrowded and inconvenient for its 120 employees. In connection with the company's 50th anniversary, an extensive search was launched to find premises that would signal a fresh change and provide a revitalised new working environment. Esavian House, a tough 1930s warehouse in High Holborn originally used for educational supplies, was selected for its full servicing provision (from a central core), a vital component for the company's latest digital technology and information systems, and its dramatic double-height reception area, which suggested a space reminiscent of Pierre Chareau's Maison de Verre in Paris and could house part of the firm's extensive library. Many of the building's features were left intact as the top three levels were opened up to maximise natural light, communication, interdepartmental interaction and openness. The open-plan conversion was ideally suited to McAslan's brand of highly detailed work, and there are numerous elements of daylight: the fine maple surfaces that combine elegantly with the glassed-in offices, a glazed staircase with a transparency delicately layered through the offices' countless floor-to-ceiling glass walls, and the user-friendly coffee-bar/kitchen areas on each floor.

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