Tuesday, 5 June 2012

Chelsea 2012: The Rooftop Workplace of Tomorrow

There were many aspects of the Rooftop Workplace of Tomorrow, designed by Patricia Fox, that we really liked, such as the recycled plastic furniture and planters that looked like stone.

This type of modernist design has been regularly done in the past, but it had a particularly good green roofed pavilion (with a living wall too – using Camellia sinensis so you could pick your own tea leaves), and it would be a great place to work or, indeed, live.

It won a Silver Gilt Medal, although we thought it deserved better. It was designed as an extension of a working office, complete with WiFi and a copy machine, that supposedly uses vacant urban rooftop space, and it was a bigger space than most urban dwellers would have in their own gardens.

We weren’t particularly keen on the three huge, white, hanging chairs, although they worked well artistically (things in threes… there were also three fountains in the pond), but if there had been some climbing plants clambering over the supporting ‘pergola’, it would have looked so much better.

There was a nice meeting/relaxing area under an awning, with a large video screen and ‘a pick your own herbal tea bar’.

Rooftop greenery helps control water run-off, reduces a building’s carbon footprint, makes life more pleasant for both humans and wildlife, and, as shown here, can provide a practical extension to the office….

The innovative recycled plastic furniture and tree planters were from the new Thomas Bramwell Ecollection Bison range, with chairs, tables and tea bar created using a new synthetic material that gives an illusion of natural stone or very expertly moulded concrete – but is considerably lighter.

They are made using a patented process that re-uses discarded plastic products that, until now, couldn’t be recycled and had to go to landfill or be incinerated.

They did look surprisingly like stone, but with a pleasing texture of their own. The Ecollection pieces can be completely recycled at once you’re finished with them, perhaps even replacing themselves.

The building used was a Modular Cube that can be installed in half a day and later moved to another site, which had sliding glass walls, for use in even the most changeable weather, and retractable awnings.

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