Clarks Original Design Studio is an Office Worthy of the Morning Traffic

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When Clarks Originals hired ARRO studio to design their new design space in the UK, the firm looked for ways to integrate the company’s rich history with the modern approach Clarks brings to the latest footwear, providing a workplace that “encourages creativity and optimizes exchanges between the designers, developers and product managers of the Clarks Originals team.” Housed within a 300m2 (3200 ft2) former warehouse space from C&J Clarks Originals site built way back in 1825, the new space perfectly satisfies the narrative the firm set out to construct.

ARRO studio has brought to Clarks Original an office space one would gladly sit in traffic every morning to get to.

Divided into 5 distinct zones, the new workplace allows team members to meet and connect in ways a conventional office simply couldn’t. The centerpiece of these zones is an 8m (26 ft) long table suspended over existing INP beams, giving the open studio a focal point for the team to gather around. This table for collaboration and discourse is also what the four built rooms seem to orbit around, placing it as the center of the company’s operative creative process. This open workspace is further cast as the sun of the space’s solar system thanks to the bright light that penetrates all corners, delivered through the large original windows of the site. And the space is given further flexibility through a series of cork panels that slide on the existing INP ceiling beams, letting it break up at the whims of the bricoleurs occupying it. At one end is another treasure; a shoe wall composed of dozens of shelves to display the newest footwear designs, behind each of which are closets to allow for both an organized storage system and a way to have the latest samples and tests on hand at all times. The four rooms that orbit this Swiss Army Knife of an open workspace contain the director’s office, a storage room, a large meeting room and a leather storage room respectively. Each of these offer more privacy based around the nature of their function; the storage room has the most while the office has the least. A playful flair of red paint brightens the director’s day, and matches well with the interesting geometries formed in the room through a seemingly simple slope in its roof, as well as the floating shelf suspended in its glass wall (which eloquently matches the aforementioned floating table). At the back of the office opposite the large meeting room is an open lounge area that gives the team a comfortable space to relax and mull over new designs, set under a gorgeous metal chandelier. An area for leather storage is then finally integrated with the rest of the space by being concealed behind a marvelous set of shelves, offering a reference library and even more places to store shoe designs. The wood and glass that makes up the bulk of these new additions renders a nice contrast to the stark steel of the old factory space, remembering the company’s roots without losing sight of its future endeavors. And overall, ARRO studio has brought to Clarks Original an office space one would gladly sit in traffic every morning to get to.

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Nathaniel Barlam

Nathaniel

Amid the unrest of earning his Bachelor’s degree in Architecture from RISD, Nathaniel manages to find the time to read, write, hang out with friends, play drums, and listen to music. Nathaniel has learned a lot about architecture firsthand thanks to opportunities to live and work in Rome and Brooklyn during the past year. Coming from a family with strong roots in the Lower East Side of Manhattan, Nathaniel has always maintained a strong love for NYC especially, and after his studies finish up in Providence he may move there for a while. He hasn't decided yet. You can connect with him via Linkedin or by visiting his Portfolio page.

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