Inside Smithson Tower

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Inside Smithson Tower

Situated in the heart of Mayfair at 25 St James’s Street, the Economist Tower as it was originally known, was completed in 1964. Once the home of The Economist, the publication commissioned the project by way of a design competition which was won by husband and wife architect duo, Alison and Peter Smithson. The pair, who were considered radicals of their time, proposed three buildings, one of which is the 15-storey Office Tower. The other buildings are a five-storey Bank Building and an eight-storey Residential Building. Around the triad of buildings, the plaza was a destination for public use and enjoyment.

A map of the area around Smithson Plaza

Architects DSDHA, completed the refurbishment of the 3 buildings in 2019. They undertook a full internal refresh, updating the building systems and ensuring the building’s environmental credentials were consistent with modern-day standards. Each 3,600 sqft floor plate was fitted out to CAT B, a blank canvas on which OD was able to create something unique for each of our three clients within the Grade II listed, Brutalist block.

After the Economist vacated the tower, its prime location and 360-degree views made it attractive to a new type of tenant. Each of the 3 projects we delivered in the tower were for financial organisations, all with their own requirements, budgets and distinct identities. Cranemere on the 5th floor, a confidential investment client’s HQ on the 11th floor, and Pelham Capital on the 13th and 14th floors.

While the tower was technologically advanced in its day, for example, being the first building in the UK to have air conditioning, over 50 years later, the building posed some challenges to work in. The original heating systems had to be carefully navigated and without a loading bay or goods lift the OD team had to complete the fit-outs using a small ‘fireman’s lift.’ Unable to fit some of the required feature furniture and materials the team had to carry them up the stairs! Despite challenges the team delivered three Grade II compliant projects in the Smithson Tower, all receiving excellent client feedback.

White text on a red background

Cranemere

Cranemere is a private equity firm on the 5th floor of Smithson Tower. The fit-out they wanted was fairly straightforward; an undemanding backdrop to highlight their own furniture that was brought over from South African to illustrate the company’s heritage. The mix of welcoming lounge space, meeting rooms and workspace meets all the client’s requirements while texture and pops of colour bring the space to life. ODCreate took over the project at Stage 3, delivering a high-quality, elegant, and clean space for Cranemere.

Entrance lounge in Cranemere's office in Smithson TowerCranemere meeting room in Smithson Tower

Confidential Investment Client

The confidential investment client on the 11th floor, wanted a new Head Quarters that was a destination for both staff and clients. The result was an open, collaborative space. Intentionally minimalist but with warm, neutral finishes, the space has clean lines and a homely yet chic feel. All the joinery is fully bespoke and the interior retains the octangle shape of the building. This unique office space has been featured in Wallpaper and OnOffice magazines and was named in Dezeen’s top 10 offices of 2021.

break out space in Investment Client's office in Smithson Tower

Casual seating in Investment Client's office in Smithson Tower

Read the full case study here

Pelham Capital

Pelham Capital sits on the two highest floors of the Smithson Tower. The fit-out the team delivered has a high-end, corporate feel. All the finishes are of premium quality, with panoramic views to match.  The entrance space boasts a double-height ceiling that adds to the impressive space.

Pelham Capital's Office entrance with double height ceiling

Pelham Capital's lunch area

Read the full case study here

All three projects we delivered in Smithson Tower, we did on budget and on time despite the start of a national lockdown. Each client acquired a workplace that was built specifically for them and their individual needs. The Smithson Tower has entered a new phase as a financial centre but remains true to Alison and Peter’s original vision. The pedestrian plaza is now used for a public art programme, reviving the space and its intention to be a meeting place and public hub. As the plaza’s story continues to evolve it remains an iconic landmark in the West End.

Exterior of Smithson Tower


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