Balancing Heritage & Contemporary

Creating a contemporary feel in your heritage office building

Our architectural heritage and the traditional, historic and iconic buildings around us help to make our built environment more beautiful and stand as an expression of our culture and values. We must protect them.

However, as beautiful as these buildings are, they’re not always practical for the modern-day business. How do we make them safe, contemporary, high quality spaces for today’s office workers and visitors, while at the same time keeping all that period charm and architectural history? Fortunately, there is a balance to be found between the new and the old.

Making a heritage building functional

Functionality is key for any modern office. It needs access to the latest technology, comfortable furniture, and a flexible set up for the ever-changing needs of growing companies.

This is all achievable in a heritage office building. But to do it well, any alterations made should be reversible, especially in a listed building.

How do you make reversible alterations to a heritage building?

With careful planning and patience, there are many flexible solutions for modernising a heritage building. For example, in a Grade II listed meeting room, we removed the skirting boards to install air conditioning pipes and then put the boards back. The work is completely hidden yet should the pipes need removing, it would be a straightforward process and no damage would be done to the building.

Knowing what can and can’t be done to a heritage building

Before the work begins, research is a must. Anybody working on a heritage building should be certain about what work is permitted, especially for a Grade I or II listed building. Depending on the building’s era, different techniques and building materials will have been used in comparison to what we use now.

Also, there may be some things about the building that can’t be changed, such as the removal of a fireplace or painting over ceiling roses. Instead, modern décor and furnishings can help provide that contemporary feel while ensuring those period features are retained.

Sourcing specialist suppliers for your fresh look

The décor of centuries past may not fit the needs or tastes of the workers or even the company branding. While colour can be the way to transform your heritage office space, any old paint won’t do. Before picking up a paintbrush, it’s important to know what the wall was made from. A lime plaster wall will need a different approach to a modern plastered wall.

Luckily, there are suppliers dedicated to preserving heritage buildings that realise the building’s occupiers might want a more modern look. Specialist paints are available in a wide range of colours and tones, giving you a fresh look without damaging the walls.

A great way to liven up the feel of the building is to add modern artwork or to make a decorative feature that includes your business branding. This is easy to change around and it doesn’t have to be expensive. Add in fresh furnishings, sleek furniture and chic lighting to create that perfect balance.

Contact us today and we can provide you with the guidance and ideas for injecting a new feel into your heritage building.