Phoenix Brewery by Stiff+Trevillion

A sculptural timber form is the most striking thing that you see when you enter the reception of this converted warehouse building in North Kensington, West London. This dominating timber structure is made from stained tulip-wood panels and serves both a decorative as well as a functional purpose.

Phoenix Brewery by Stiff+Trevillion

© Stiff + Trevillion

Phoenix Brewery by Stiff+Trevillion

© Stiff + Trevillion

Award-winning Stiff+Trevillion Architects designed it in order to disguise an ugly staircase which the budget did not allow the designer to replace. Moreover this structure offers acoustic insulation to a space that is dominated by hard surfaces. This timber element also houses the offices, reception desk, providing the reception team with a presence that many would envy.

Phoenix Brewery by Stiff+Trevillion

© Stiff + Trevillion

Stiff+Trevillion designed a new reception space by roofing over an existing courtyard that gave the building a rather imposing entrance while it provided an area that could be used as a flexible space ideal for informal meetings.

Phoenix Brewery by Stiff+Trevillion

© Stiff + Trevillion

The reception area has a very simple industrial aesthetic, with polished concrete floors and a glazed entrance, while the newly installed glazing around the perimeter at the junction with the existing building brings in plenty of natural light.

Phoenix Brewery by Stiff+Trevillion

© Stiff + Trevillion

Phoenix Brewery by Stiff+Trevillion

© Stiff + Trevillion

The form of the timber structure is determined by the smart adaptation of the stairs that exist just behind it.  The structure that wraps around the old staircase is made up of four horizontal layers, each set at an angle to the one below with the horizontal surfaces generated between the layers used to accommodate up-lighting and down-lighting. The lowest layer is carved down to an appropriate height to accommodate the reception desk with, in this case, the horizontal element forming the surface of the desk.

Phoenix Brewery by Stiff+Trevillion

© Stiff + Trevillion

By making the ‘sculpture’ work so hard, there is an essential simplicity to balance the complexity of the form, doing away any extraneous elements. The chosen material, Tulip-wood, seemed to be an ideal material to work with in this case as Trevillion explains ‘At first we just specified that we wanted a hardwood’, but after further investigation he found that Tulip-wood was far more ideal for his purposes as it  features a beautiful light color, with few markings that stains very well.

Phoenix Brewery by Stiff+Trevillion

© Stiff + Trevillion

The  great understanding of the material and its properties resulted to the creation of a structure that worksnot only spatially and aesthetically but acoustically as well. As the reception space of the Phoenix Brewery is a social environment, it was highly important that the sound experience is pleasant and that people can talk with intimacy. With no elaborate or complex calculations regarding acoustic engineering, but with a deep understanding and appreciation regarding the used material, Stiff+Trevillion successfully designed a comfortable and pleasant environment.

Phoenix Brewery by Stiff+Trevillion

© Stiff + Trevillion

Phoenix Brewery is one of those spaces that work so well exactly because it has been designed around practicality and efficiency while it demonstrates an excellent ambiance, which is extremely warm and welcoming.

 

Words: Ivi Vassilopoulou

 


One Response to “Phoenix Brewery by Stiff+Trevillion”

  1. Love the design of this office, it looks really open relaxing with the huge windows and the wooden stair casing. However, I think it would have looked less in your face if the wood was broken up a bit.

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