Photography: Stevie Campbell
Workspace Design: Ekho Studio
Project Manager: BWP Consultants
Furniture Supplier: WeSpace
Lighting: Hay, Camira, P&A, Astro, &Tradition
Acoustic Grids: SAS International, Autex
Flooring: Amtico, Milliken
In a world where historical structures are transformed into vibrant contemporary workspaces, Ekho Studio has once again demonstrated its architectural prowess by crafting a visionary workspace within Macclesfield’s Grade II-listed Victoria Mill. Collaborating with healthcare client Inizio Medical, Ekho Studio has breathed new life into this historic building, fusing the heritage of the past with the demands of the future.
Design Concepts that Redefine Workspace Dynamics
Ekho Studio’s innovative design journey began by reimagining the interior of the early nineteenth-century Victoria Mill. Rachel Withey, Founding Partner of Ekho Studio, highlighted the studio’s mission to restore, reveal, and celebrate the mill’s concealed steel columns and over-painted brickwork. This restoration aimed to bridge the gap between the historic exterior and a once-generic interior, creating a harmonious and impactful environment.
The design narrative was rooted in the Mill’s history as a silk spinning textile mill, infusing core elements of the weaving process into the contemporary workspace. This concept set the stage for a groundbreaking architectural transformation that not only catered to Inizio Medical’s needs but also embraced the changing landscape of work post-pandemic.
Unveiling the Architectural Marvel
Ekho Studio‘s approach revolved around unlocking the building’s potential through materiality and form. Drawing inspiration from the rich textures and forms of the Macclesfield region, the studio incorporated these elements into the material palette and design choices. Exposing the original red brick and timber ceilings, Ekho Studio added character and dimension to the space. This raw elegance was complemented by carefully chosen finishes, from textured upholstery to wall and floor treatments.
The color scheme hinged on the deep earthy tones of the brick, which served as a foundation for a bold and vibrant palette. This approach brought warmth and vibrancy to the workspace, harmonizing with the building’s heritage while infusing it with new life.
The Heart of Collaboration: The Hub
Central to the design was “The Hub,” a dynamic ground floor area that served as a multi-functional space fostering social interaction, collaboration, and individual work. The open reception seamlessly flowed into a business lounge, informal meeting areas, phone booths, and individual workstations. This flexible layout catered to the varied needs of employees, allowing them to choose the mode of work that suits them best.
Ekho Studio’s innovative furniture choices and spatial planning transformed the office floors above, emphasizing open space and agile working. The removal of cellular managerial offices and the incorporation of reconfigurable furniture allowed free movement throughout the space.
Where History Meets Innovation
The design journey celebrated the historical materiality of the building. Exposed brick walls and timber beams took center stage, creating a sense of height and spaciousness. From circular Camira Lucia lights to Hay bon bon shade pendant lights reminiscent of the textile industry, the lighting choices echoed the building’s heritage. Acoustic elements were seamlessly integrated, ensuring a balance between aesthetics and functionality.
The flooring, a mix of concrete-effect LVT and striking feature carpeting, tied into the furniture colors and provided a cohesive aesthetic. By marrying historical references with contemporary design, Ekho Studio brought the past into the present, creating an inspiring environment for work and collaboration.
A Transformative Architectural Journey
Inizio Medical’s Penny Forbes praised Ekho Studio’s transformative design, emphasizing its role in reimagining office dynamics. The design, inspired by flexibility and hybrid work, has created an environment where employees can thrive individually while also fostering collaboration. The workspace’s openness, comfort, and functionality have garnered praise from both employees and visitors, underscoring the success of Ekho Studio’s architectural endeavor.
In the heart of Macclesfield, Ekho Studio’s architectural masterpiece within Grade II Victoria Mill is not just a workspace; it’s a fusion of history and innovation, a beacon of change that reflects the evolving landscape of work in the modern era.