Finished Market Pods showing planting and seating

Bringing a brief to life

Take a closer look how we brought to life this architect’s vision in East London, inspired by the humble market stall.

The demand for flexible and co-working spaces has seen record growth with more and more individuals working remotely, or on a freelance basis. In recent report published by Cushman & Wakefield, it is forecasted that flexible workspace will account for at least 5.5% of total office stock in Central London by the end of the year – that’s 14.9 million square feet! – and signifies a huge shift in the way people in business now operate.

Co-working spaces need to be practical, comfortable and able to accommodate several different people at any one time. Acoustic design is, of course, absolutely critical in these environments, to ensure that the space is pleasant to work in and that overspills of chatter and clatter are kept under control.

A brand-new flexible working space, x+why, opened earlier this year in East London. As well as providing all the amenities you would expect from a shared space, it also prides itself in being sustainable and fostering a sense of community for the people that use it.

Design is key in making the space functional but also in attracting and inspiring nomadic workers, particularly in such a competitive market.

Based in Whitechapel at the edge of The City, the area has a strong heritage, and we were brought on board by award-winning architects Squire & Partners, to help realise their vision.

‘Market Pods’ located on the ground floor provide comfortable workspaces within the communal touchdown area. Their unique design was inspired by the iconic market stalls of the East End.

From the initial sketches and brief, we worked to produce visuals, renders and provide samples to realise their concept.

Initial Design Sketch

First Render

Second Render - Added Colour

Once they were happy with our proposals, we set about bringing it to life. To create the overall structure, we designed and manufactured a bespoke metal framework, to receive our screens and ceiling panels. Our panels were upholstered in printed fabric, with a bespoke design which reflected the hallmark stripes of the local market stalls.

For comfort and additional sound absorption, we also supplied bespoke Mood Lounge sofas, which are Class A acoustic rated, dimensioned to fit within the Market Pod. Each sofa contained an integrated power unit in the base, for charging phones/tablets/laptops whilst working. Between one section, we built plywood planters to sit in the frame, adding privacy and greenery.

Due to the extremely bespoke nature of the setup, after a test build in our factory, the Icon team headed down to London to install it ourselves. We liaised closely with the fit-out contractor, Imago, on logistics of the install, accommodating the lead time and integrating their light fittings.

Test Build - Icon Factory in YorkshireTest Build in the Icon Factory

Installation on site by the Icon TeamInstallation on Site

The finished result is a series of pods that is a winning combination of inspiring design, comfortable acoustic soft seating, integrated power, integrated lighting and even a touch of planting.

Close up of Power Unit in Seating

icon x+why market pods with planting

Market Pod Close Up

Finished Pods

Interested in using our talents for your next project? Please get in touch for a chat about your ideas.