Time and again, the two design partners from London impressively demonstrate what high-quality industrial design is all about, namely cleverly transposing changing ways of working and life situations to new products and usage concepts. 10 years after the joint development of the PARCS product series, the London design studio PearsonLloyd has once again developed an innovative office concept together with Bene: PORTS.
We spoke to Tom Lloyd and Luke Pearson about developing PORTS as “New Leadership Environments”.
The cutting edge office: We assess reports, clichés and visions that deal with places of work in discussions with contemporaries. In this issue Luke Pearson and Tom Lloyd of PearsonLloyd explain the significance their design studio has for them: in conversation with Désirée Schellerer they talk about their office community, declare they love for London and reveal their most important working tools.
Luke Pearson and Tom Lloyd founded their design studio PearsonLloyd in London in 1997, and since then it has become one of the most renowned in Great Britain. Their international clients include Artemide, Classicon, Fritz Hansen, Knoll International, Lufthansa and Walter Knoll. Their work is diverse and has received numerous awards. London Designers Luke Pearson and Tom Lloyd impressively demonstrate again and again what constitutes high-quality industrial design – namely, the intelligent translation of changing work styles, production possibilities and living circumstances.
Luke Pearson and Tom Lloyd, your studio is situated in Shoreditch, an upcoming, creative district in the northeast of London. How did you get there and which criteria were important to make the decision for that studio?
Tom Lloyd (TL): When we started the studio, Luke and I both lived in West London. Coming east was both a financial decision (looking for cheap studio space) and a creative one. Our first space was in an unheated warehouse on the edge of Spitalfields market, which was then still operating as the primary fruit and veg wholesale market for London. The area then was edgy, a little scary but full of life and energy. Artists had started to occupy discussed commercial property and it was this community that drew us there. In the 16 years since we started, we have been in three different spaces all within a mile of the first space. Shoreditch is now an area full of design and fashion businesses and although very different from 1997, it is a great area to work from.
Luke Pearson (LP): Tom’s brother had a studio right near the city, the financial district. The rent was absurdly low. It seemed like a great idea to take a space that was big and cheap. As soon as we moved in the neighbouring square became an architectural dig. We then moved to Whitechapel and finally bought our studio after cycling past one day. There was a dip in the market and that seemed a good idea although we have outgrown it now in many ways.
Light means life. This is true in nature, but light plays a central role in many religions, too. Without light people cannot live, let alone work. But to simply provide light in an office isn’t enough – because light shapes rooms, defines the look of an office and has impacts on the well-being, motivation and performance of people. Light and lighting are therefore worth a closer look.
Morning rays of sun, the subdued light of autumn, the illumination of a street by night – all of these provoke sensations and feelings in us. In exactly the same way we are affected by the lighting in an office, sometimes consciously and sometimes not. Pleasant and motivating, lighting in an office makes a key contribution to an atmosphere in which people work happily and productively.
Good lighting fulfils many functions: the creation of mood and atmosphere, good distribution of brightness and provision of the right degree of contrast for concentrated work over long periods of time. In addition, it should allow accurate colour reproduction and avoid glare. Of course, energy efficiency is also a consideration, as is the right mix of natural and artificial light. Ultimately, what is required is a harmonious combination of material, colour, form, proportion and light.
If asked how to cast the best possible light on your office, we would suggest the following ten rules for you to observe when planning your lighting system.
What was the rule again? "General room lighting serves to illuminate a room effectively without producing direct or reflected glare by taking into account good contrast and colour reproduction and balanced luminance requirements." Sounds very reasonable indeed. Only how is it best achieved?
1. Added light does not always mean improved visibility
It is generally true that a considerable amount of light improves performance and that low light tends to have a calming effect. Generally speaking, it has been proved that older workers need more light. But it is necessary to distinguish between different activities. While a higher lighting level is recommended for reading a document, the same level of light is of disadavantage to reading information on a computer screen. This is due to the reduced contrast between characters and their background.
2. Watch the harmonious distribution of brightness
The level of lighting does not reveal anything about the distribution of illuminances on different surfaces. The so-called degrees of reflection should be chosen in a way to avoid excessive differences of luminance between the work surface and surroundings. Balanced distributions of luminosity make a room interesting and have a stimulating effect.