BLOG / From History to Cutting-Edge: A tour of Victoria House

From History to Cutting-Edge: A tour of Victoria House

From History to Cutting-Edge: A tour of Victoria House

From History to Cutting-Edge: A tour of Victoria House

Oxford Property Group, a seasoned player in the Life Science sector with an impressive portfolio of over 5 million sq ft worldwide, recently partnered with us on their exciting new project, Victoria House. Situated in London's vibrant Knowledge Quarter, this historic Grade II listed building is set to become the hub for established players and promising rising stars in the Life Sciences arena. Join us as we explore the remarkable 300,000 sq ft of cutting-edge spaces that will soon house the future leaders of the Life Science industry.

A Sensitive Transformation

With its iconic presence on Bloomsbury Square, Victoria House enjoys a rich history, heritage, and exceptional architectural beauty. However, inside, a sensitive transformation is underway to create a one-of-a-kind ecosystem for London’s Life Sciences and Technology start-ups and scale-ups. The stunning atrium is at the heart of the building creating a memorable first impression.

Fostering Innovation and Expertise at Victoria House

With a rich history as the birthplace of genetic science and ecology, this location has been home to numerous pioneering institutions. It offers a unique environment for individuals to learn, network, and commercialize science. In essence, this is where aspiring entrepreneurs can connect with experienced venture builders. To further support this ambition, Victoria House offers expertise in areas such as finance, M&A, international markets, IP, supply chains, scale-up leadership, and talent management.

Functional and Inspiring Laboratories

From fitted and managed incubator space to CAT A laboratories, companies will be able to adjust floorplans for bespoke fit-outs and operations. Among the features, Victoria House offers six air changes per hour and up to 65% CL2 laboratories. If, like us, you didn’t know what CL2 laboratories were, you’ll be pleased to learn that the renders of laboratory facilities resulted from a close collaboration with our clients and Ph.D. students on everything from floor plans to the placement of various tools and items. To attract a discerning audience we took no shortcuts, making sure the spaces look equal parts functional and inspirational.

Preserving Elegance, the Long Room’s Original Interiors

Featuring original wood-panelled interiors, The Long Room is one of the most impressive meeting rooms. To efficiently create a visualization of the room, we decided not to invest time in modelling all the details. Instead, we used a photo and enhanced it with AI, meticulously matching all the people into the image with the utmost attention to detail.

Sustainability Beyond Green

Oxford and Pioneer have joined forces with top ESG specialists to enhance the operational efficiency of Victoria House, aiming for EPC A and BREEAM Excellent certifications. Their strategy involves electrifying the entire building using an innovative air-source heat pump system, implementing variable air flow systems to curtail energy usage, modernizing the central infrastructure, incorporating smart meters, and actively promoting biodiversity on the premises.

But sustainability goes beyond the ecology and the physical environment. Victoria House has put programmes and policies in place to welcome people from all genders, backgrounds, identities, and physical abilities, including Ada Lovelace Day, which increases the visibility of women in STEM.

Continuing the legacy, Victoria House will bring together today’s thought leaders to help build a better tomorrow, and we couldn’t be happier to have played a small part in the history of this impressive institution.

 

Thank you and J2 and Pioneer Group for a great collaboration!

Regent’s Wharf: Where History Meets Innovation

Regent’s Wharf: Where History Meets Innovation

Regent’s Wharf: Where History Meets Innovation

By the waters of Regent's Canal in King's Cross, a remarkable transformation is taking place - a cutting-edge canalside campus.

A Legacy Rooted in Industry

In the annals of London’s industrial history, the story of Regent’s Wharf is one of resilience, adaptation, and innovation. The Industrial Revolution and the birth of North London’s railway network, made Regent’s Canal a lifeline for the city.

Originating from Paddington and extending to Camden Town before reaching the Thames in 1820, Regent’s Canal attracted enterprising visionaries who seized the opportunity to establish warehouses, workshops, and mills at what would become Regent’s Wharf. Its strategic location, where waterways met railways at King’s Cross, made it an ideal hub for commerce and trade.

As rail transport gained prominence throughout the 19th century, some contemplated converting the canal into railway tracks, but these plans thankfully never materialized.

 

A Glimpse into the Past

By 1849, maps began to depict Regent’s Wharf, which included a timber yard housing ‘Haggis and Sons The Caledonian Patent Sawing and Planing Mills.’ The site also served as the premises of Coles, Shadbolt and Company, known for their quicklime, a crucial component in the extensive construction projects catering to London’s booming population. Interestingly, this bright white lime was used to illuminate theaters at the time, coining the term ‘limelight.’

In 1857, Thorley’s Food for Cattle took over the site, transforming it into stables, a spice mill, packing offices, and warehouses. Over the years, Regent’s Wharf continued to evolve, attracting a diverse range of industries from packing to publishing, benefitting from its canal connections and the central King’s Cross location.

For over a century, Joseph Thorley’s Ltd, a family-owned business, reigned supreme in the industrial realm, creating and distributing ‘spicy aromatic condiments’ that enhanced the vitality of livestock worldwide. Their inventive products, marketed with captivating advertisements and collectible branding, earned them royal recognition in 1892. The history of Thorley’s as the iconic pig and colors lives on in the Regent’s Wharf brand.

The chosen renders highlight the thoughtful blend of retrofitted historic buildings with modern architecture, showcasing the client and architects’ sensitive yet bold approach. Particularly, the 360 courtyard view stands out as a central point where old meets new, showcasing this connection by revealing both the sensitive external design and different internal characters of each building.

– Josh Molnar, Architect and Project Manager for Regent’s Wharf

A Glimpse into the Future

As we fast forward to the present day, Regent’s Wharf stands as a testament to history’s resilience and innovation’s potential. Three historic buildings, carefully restored, will be complemented by modern spaces, creating an inspiring environment for the trailblazers and innovators of tomorrow.

The rich layer of history has defined the project architecturally and as a place with character. This is celebrated by naming each of the 4 interconnected buildings after their historic uses, ‘Thorley Works, Canal Building, The Mill, The Packing House.’ This sensitive approach to the project as a placemaking strategy is where our VisionWalk Solution really comes into play, by offering an orbital perspective of the building using infographics and  allowing the user to open up the floorplans to understand how the interior connections of these buildings work.

– Josh Molnar, Architect and Project Manager for Regent’s Wharf

You can explore the Regent’s Wharf Vision Walk here.

This next-generation warehouse conversion ushers in the future of progressive work environments, where history and innovation coexist harmoniously. Here, at the intersection of heritage and cutting-edge design, Regent’s Wharf welcomes an ecosystem of grafters, trend setters and inventors.

A dream opportunity for a business and a dream project for us, thank you BentallGreenOak for entrusting us with this gem!

Public: Where Scandinavian Design Meets Timeless Luxury

Public: Where Scandinavian Design Meets Timeless Luxury

Public: Where Scandinavian Design Meets Timeless Luxury

In the heart of the Ørestad region, close to the freeway, public transport, Copenhagen Airport, and city center, lies Public. The refurbishment, undertaken by Genesta, aimed to open up the building to the public while employing sustainable practices such as using recycled materials and establishing solar cells. Read on for our cover of Public!

Opening up to the Public

Public’s connections to transport are unparalleled, just 1 minute away from the train, bus, metro, and freeway, with private underground parking. Yet, there was an opportunity to make it even more inviting. The new name, ‘Public,’ not only references the building’s advantageous location but also the new ‘public garden’ on the ground floor. Under the skillful guidance of the architects, the arrival and ground floor have been thoughtfully transformed, seamlessly connecting it to the courtyard and creating a beautifully designed environment where nature blurs the boundaries between the outside and inside. Now home to four restaurants, a food store, and a coffee shop, tenants and visitors can enjoy everything from Asian cuisine to vegan delights, a bistro experience, or traditional Danish open sandwiches.

Embracing and Enriching the Architecture

Since 2002, the building has distinguished itself as one of the strongest architectural works in the district, and as such, the facade has been thoughtfully preserved. The reinvention primarily focuses on the interior, with a reinterpretation of the building’s original material palette, emphasizing a select few high-quality materials. The concept and plans bring Public a timeless sense of quiet luxury, appealing to an international audience and meeting the highest standards of quality.

A Fresh Perspective

When we were invited to work on Public, we were immediately struck by the geometric facade. To honor the architecture, we let the lines guide each view, resulting in a striking expression that draws the viewer in. This approach enhances consistency throughout the imagery, lending it a distinct aesthetic.

Services that Provide Extraordinary Convenience

Working at Public gives access to an international community in Ørestad. An impressive atrium sets the tone for a professional and welcoming environment with a dedicated reception area that provides excellent service and assistance.

There’s direct access to various-sized meeting rooms equipped with screens for presentations and video conferencing, catering, and access to on-site restaurants for convenient dining options.

The versatile office spaces encourage focus and creativity in a relaxed working environment and are suitable for all kinds of companies, from large corporations to small startups sharing space. The space can be customized to meet specific needs, accommodating different working styles and company cultures.

A range of services includes take-away, laundry service, room service, and flower ordering, on-site bike storage and showers, and a large auditorium with a capacity for 150 people!

A Perfect Example of Quiet, Timeless Luxury

Embodying a minimalist yet warm aesthetic, Scandinavian design emphasizes simplicity, functionality, and a deep connection with nature. Characterized by clean lines, neutral color palettes, and natural materials, this design philosophy seeks to create spaces that evoke a sense of tranquility and comfort. Paired with beautiful and elaborate details, which permeate and connect all functions and areas of the house, Public is a perfect example of quiet, timeless luxury.

 

 

 

From Unbuilt Space to Urban Oasis: The Story of Haga Norra

From Unbuilt Space to Urban Oasis: The Story of Haga Norra

From Unbuilt Space to Urban Oasis: The Story of Haga Norra

Welcome to our blog post about Haga Norra, the gateway to Arenastaden. Join us as we delve into the pivotal role of Haga Norra, exploring its position as a bridge between communities and the innovative vision that is shaping its future as an integral part of Stockholm's urban landscape.

Connecting the Dots: The Inception and Evolution of Haga Norra

Haga Norra is nestled between two prominent areas, Hagaparken and Arenastaden. Hagaparken, founded by King Gustav III, covers 144 hectares of lush nature, offering a serene setting with exquisite pavilions and architectural gems. Arenastaden, located in Solna, is a vibrant urban district renowned for its dynamic blend of sports, entertainment, and modern living. Anchored by the impressive Friends Arena, a multifunctional stadium hosting concerts and sporting events, Arenastaden has become a hub of activity. With its strategic location and excellent public transportation connections, Arenastaden has evolved into a sought-after destination for both business and leisure, symbolizing the convergence of contemporary urban lifestyle and excitement. This innovative district stands as a testament to Solna’s commitment to urban development and community engagement.

Haga Norra: The New Social Hub in Stockholm

Fabege and its subsidiary, Birger Bostad, are the proud owners of eight blocks in the district, and we were thrilled to collaborate on their ambitious project called Haga Norra. Haga Norra consists of over 70,000 m2 commercial office and retail spaces and over 1,000 apartments. The project began by focusing on the public areas, Mathildatorget, and the office buildings, welcoming coworkers, clients, and visitors to a place that provides as much inspiration and experiences outside the buildings as they do inside the offices. Adhering to the UN’s sustainable development goals, the project features solutions such as geothermal heating, solar cells, and recycled materials.

The aim has been to imbue the district with an authentic continental atmosphere by incorporating classic qualities into the architecture while keeping an eye on the future.

The first block has an industrial feel, with recycled bricks displaying patina, large paned windows, and timeless materials. The building, measuring 27,000 m2 and divided into 8 floors, is planned to be finalized in 2024.

The next phase of the project was to illustrate the restaurant offerings in the area. To create the sought-after atmosphere, we treated each visualization as an opportunity to showcase how people will be enjoying themselves, escaping the typical render where people are implemented in strategic locations to avoid the space looking abandoned.

In essence, Haga Norra presents a thoughtfully curated blend of cafes, restaurants, offices, and residences, with a strong emphasis on creating inclusive spaces where people can come together and enjoy their time, regardless of whether they live, work, or are simply visiting the area.

Far from an enclave!

A new city park will enhance the green structure and establish connections between the large parks surrounding the area. A new subway station and space for buses is added along with bike lanes and pedestrian streets, in keeping with the overarching plans for Stockholm. What has impressed us most is how quickly Stockholmers have embraced this new part of the city, surely a result of smart planning and great execution by all involved parties.

 

Digital Property Marketing: 13 Details That Ensure You Stand Out

Digital Property Marketing: 13 Details That Ensure You Stand Out

Digital Property Marketing: 13 Details That Ensure You Stand Out

Most industries have been revolutionized by digitalization, and marketing is no exception. An ever-growing amount of marketing takes place online, and brands all over the world have spent years fine-tuning how to optimize their content for digital, and small mobile screens in particular. It begs the question - are we marketing properties in outdated ways? And are there ways to improve content for digital?

Optimizing property marketing for today’s audience

Google “best performing ads” on social media and a few common denominators will quickly appear. Striking colors, movement, short and catchy copy, the absence of complex information to process and digest. Google high-end commercial real estate visualizations, renders, or CGIs, and the majority of the images that come up follow a different logic, mostly displaying gorgeous, sophisticated, detailed images. This is not to say that these kinds of images and animations don’t have a place, but do they effectively capture people’s attention online?


B2B Marketing can still be emotion-driven

Some may argue that B2B marketing is different, less emotional, more about numbers. While there may be some truth to that, the dynamics of grabbing and holding the target audience’s attention are the same – we are, after all, still human. What can be done to complement commercial property imagery created for traditional media like billboards, printed folders and large screens? Details. Zeroing in on a detail – a dining table, a view, an exercise room, or even a chair – can help you grab the viewer’s attention to initiate a conversation and proceed to talking about the project as a whole.


Money well spent

Is it worth the extra money? Well, when the traditional images have already been created, the most expensive parts, meaning the model, the design, and the lighting have already been paid for. If the resolution is set to only work for a small format, spending that extra bit of cash can actually help increase the ROI on the visualization part of the marketing budget.


It’s all about the details

So why do details work? They’re human scale, and they help people imagine what it would actually be like to spend time in a space. Details make the dream tangible. But all details aren’t created equal, they need to stand out from the noise, and they need to speak to the viewer on an emotional level. We’ve compiled a list of stand-out images from projects we’ve worked on to showcase these 13 details for you, and to inspire you when planning your next project.


1. Showcase those spectacular views

Is there any better way to “sell” a commercial property than with stunning views? It may be clear from an exterior image of a building that it’s sure to have amazing views, but that’s not the same as putting your audience in the room and actually showing them that view. Add people to the mix – because what interests people most are people – and you’ve just sold the benefits of those top floor spaces in milliseconds.


2. Location, location, location

We all know that location is one of, if not the most important selling point of any project. Demonstrating the location on a map is both informative and functional, but showing it from the inside, using landmarks and recognizable areas connects to people’s emotions. Borrow the wow-factor from those nearby places, and just like that, your property goes from good to great. Who wouldn’t want a workspace with a view of the London Eye?


3. Make the most of unique features in your architectural visualizations

You’re just about to spend an unholy amount of money on restoring a facade to its original glory, or to build a staircase worthy of a Hollywood scene. Make sure those jaw-dropping features don’t get lost in the grand scheme of things by showcasing them in the way they were meant to be experienced. And ensure it pays off at the bottom line.


4. Tailor property marketing to audience interests

It’s notoriously hard to get people to read anything online, let alone interact with it. Part of the trick, of course, is to target your marketing to your audience’s interests. Larger images need to appeal to a broad audience with a diverse set of interests, but zeroing in on the details can help you speak directly to a sub-target audience like retailers, restaurateurs, or co-working spaces. They’ll appreciate you going the extra mile by taking their specific needs and wants into consideration.


5. Position the project using the right brands

By including brands and products that have the right associations, renders can signal the project’s future potential. It roots the project in the area, supporting local brands, or appealing to the audience of the featured brands. Whether it’s Apple, Four Seasons, or our local coffee shop, we all have brands we love. That makes us feel all the right things. Take advantage of that when marketing your property.


6. Feature iconic designs

We’re not saying everyone is a sucker for design, but we’re kind of saying everyone is a sucker for design. Whether people are knowledgeable enough to name specific chairs or lamps, most people know high quality interior design when they see it. Using iconic pieces of furniture draws the viewer in by being equally familiar and desirable, and it paints the space in the right light.


7. Use strong shapes or colors

The human eye and mind navigates the (overwhelming) amount of impressions we encounter daily in a number of ways, but generally, we humans favor things that don’t require a large amount of brain power, such as reading. That means that strong shapes and colors have a powerful effect on us in the same way “stop signs” do. By including strong shapes and colors in details, you ensure your image grabs your audience from the get-go.

 


8. Look for unique angles

A trick of the trade to optimize strong shapes and colors, as mentioned in the previous point, is to look for interesting angles and showcase them in your 3D visualizations. Those angles create a “What am I looking at? I need to figure this out.” moment in the viewer and establish interest in the image. That’s half of your job finished already.


9. Fine tune the atmosphere and ambience

Before we can even get to square meter price and desk capacity, the oh so important desire for the space must be established. Create an atmosphere or ambience so vivid that the viewer can almost touch it, and you’ve just sold a lifestyle (and a property). Be bold and be specific. It’s better to be clearly cool, refreshing, cozy, or lively than to try to be a little bit of everything.


10. Make it move

Animations can be costly, but there’s also a nifty way of adding movement to still images that grabs attention on small screens. Make the color of a typewriter change from blue to red to green and back, and you immediately capture attention without it costing an arm and a leg. Complement it with smart copy and you’ve got yourself a great asset for your property marketing efforts! Better yet, include movement in a way that ensures your potential customer imagines just how your space benefits their business. 


11. Incorporate the latest trends

You know how the items worn on the catwalks of the most prestigious fashion brands are bought by few, but seen by many? And how that goes on to help them sell the white t-shirts or mascaras that often make up the bulk of their business? Well, we think of restaurants and bars as the catwalks of commercial real estate projects. The bulk of the building may be office spaces, but it’s the restaurateurs and retail spaces that help build the perception and vibe of the building as a whole. Use those details to convey that the space will be the talk of the town, and your customer will understand that this prestige rubs off on the rest of the spaces and tenants as well.


12. Art for the sake of art – and business

Art doesn’t require a reason for being, but in this context, it has one nonetheless. It’s a good place to inject color in an image and create a focal point – without using strong color in furniture which may be polarizing or come across as too much. While it may not appeal to everyone on a personal level, it will most certainly capture their attention.


13. Employ inviting textures

Speaking to as many senses as possible is a way of ensuring that no stone is left unturned in the quest to attract the engagement of the viewer. Using highly tactile materials in the space, both in surface layers and in furniture, is a way to create ambient atmospheres without dimming the lights – especially useful in daytime places such as office spaces.

 

Ready to take your property marketing efforts to the next level by utilizing these tips? Get in touch to discuss your next project! We’d love to discuss how we can help you showcase your commercial property to your target audience on the right channels.

10 Beautiful Office Spaces to Inspire Your Next CRE Project

10 Beautiful Office Spaces to Inspire Your Next CRE Project

10 Beautiful Office Spaces to Inspire Your Next CRE Project

If you’re looking for inspiration for your next office space project, you’ve come to the right place. There’s nothing we enjoy more than taking our clients’ visions and bringing them to life with high-quality CGIs and animations. Take a look at some of the office spaces around the world we’ve helped our clients visualize so they could turn them into a reality. We’re sure you’ll find just the right dose of inspiration here, and if you find yourself in need of a partner for 3D visualization, reach out to us for a personalized consultation. We’d love to help you showcase your unique property vision.

Spaces Chicago
Chicago, USA

Chicago is home to a buzzing business scene and the perfect spot for this co-working office by Spaces. The goal was to capture the energy and vibrancy of Chicago in a comfy and stylish space that would appeal to everyone from aspiring novelists to tech startup founders. Designed for peak productivity as well as a place to unwind and network with like-minded peers, this space has it all. What does it inspire you to do?

 


Finnslätten
Västerås, Sweden

Tenants of Finnslätten, developed by Kungsleden and designed by Tovatt Architects & Planners, are industry leaders and expect their office space to be representative of that. Industrial elements in the design reflect the aim to create an aesthetically pleasing and functional meeting place for future technological inventions. Finnslätten is a place where research, development, and production join forces to meet societal challenges.

 


Great Suffolk Yard
London, UK

Tailored Living Solutions’ Great Suffolk Yard is a mix of contemporary office space showcasing a sensitive restoration of eclectic 19th century warehouse style buildings, where the very best of modern design meets the industrial charm, character, and personality of Southwark London. Thoughtfully designed by architecture studio TDO for today’s discerning workforce, Great Suffolk Yard has brilliantly thought-out office spaces that will provide both functionality and inspiration to those who work there.

 


Sthlm 02
Stockholm, Sweden

The workplace looks a little different these days, and Skanska has taken that to heart with their vision for Sthlm 02. It’s a place where style meets functionality and flexibility to create an office space that meets today’s evolving needs. Covering 81,806 square feet over 7 floors, Sthlm 02 offers the opportunity to create an office environment with plenty of common spaces to inspire those who work there. Will they stop to chat with a colleague over a coffee in the chic café, brainstorm and develop ideas in the creative studio, or go straight to the green rooftop for some fresh air and a company yoga class. At Sthlm 02, anything is possible.

 


Linden Palais
Berlin, Germany

The Office Group (TOG) specializes in unique and beautifully designed co-working spaces around the world, and Linden Palais in Berlin doesn’t disappoint fans of TOG. One of the most important aspects for us as the 3D visualization partner was to convey the architectural history of the building by restoring the existing elements – herringbone parquet flooring, detailed ceilings, wall paneling, and curved archways – that tell the history of the building. Linden Palais is a very special space where the historical meets the modern in an office space that is a pleasure to both work and hang out in.


Frösunda Port
Solna, Sweden

Situated right in the mix of Solna, the Frösunda Port refurbishment project takes aim at strengthening the area’s identity both internally and externally. It will be transformed from a one-tenant house into one modern office building at the forefront, with sustainable solutions and common service functions for its tenants. FastPartner aims to revitalize the area, introducing modern amenities that will bring energized life to the people working there. Through the delivery of carefully positioned CGIs, we aimed to capture the magnitude of the eclectic mix of people and uses of the area.


Spaces Seattle
Seattle, USA

Creativity and beautiful brick buildings are abundant in Seattle, and this co-working office by Spaces utilizes both. Seattle is fast becoming a hotbed of growing startups, and Spaces Seattle offers a place for creative entrepreneurs and tech founders alike to flesh out their ideas and build their businesses. Brick and wood make up the bulk of the materials and give an earthy feel to this office space in a city synonymous with nature.


Liberty House
London, UK

Another co-working space from The Office Group makes our list of beautiful office spaces. Liberty House weaves together its creative heritage and iconic location to offer a vibrant place to work. Next to Liberty, the world-famous department store, Liberty House used to house stock and the employees of Liberty. Embracing the original character and charm of the space, we aimed to show it as it could be with restored original elements, such as the parquet floor, and reflect Liberty’s history with patterns, fabrics, and pops of color throughout.


Vildmannen
Stockholm, Sweden

From the ashes rises the phoenix of Vildmannen. This beautiful work of art located in central Stockholm, once the spot of a historical fire that was visible the entire city over, has undergone a massive renovation by Hufvudstaden & their partners. From tragedy rises one of Stockholm’s most beautiful office spaces to date. This new property is where cultural history meets the future. The opportunity to build something new from scratch inside a 120-year-old facade is very rare and working on these renders was a privilege.


80 Strand
London, UK

There are great office views, and then there’s 80 Strand. 80 Strand is a London icon, with 156,000 sq ft of flexible floor space in a beautiful and iconic riverside building. Stunning Art Deco features complemented by light-filled contemporary spaces with riverside views, positioned at the heart of a world-class cultural destination make this a highly sought-after office space. Who wouldn’t want a view of the London Eye from their desk?

 

Celebrating 4 Outstanding Architects and Designers from the LGBTQ Community

Celebrating 4 Outstanding Architects and Designers from the LGBTQ Community

Celebrating 4 Outstanding Architects and Designers from the LGBTQ Community

As part of Pride Month, we’ve been celebrating the life and works of some outstanding designers and architects from the LGBTQ+ community on our social media channels. From the “father of skyscrapers” to a pioneer in the tropical modernism movement to the woman who’s credited with creating the profession of interior design, we’ve learned a lot of fascinating things, and we hope you’ve enjoyed it as much as we have. In case you missed our posts or you just want to learn a bit more about the 4 people we featured, read on!

Louis Sullivan

Louis Sullivan is known as the father of skyscrapers and his numerous works include the Auditorium Building in Chicago, the Guaranty Building (now the Prudential Building) in Buffalo, NY, and the Wainwright Building, St. Louis. Sullivan was a pioneer in designing steel-framed skyscrapers, but he’s also known for defining an architectural style unique to America. He believed a building should respond to its specific environment in the same way a plant would grow “naturally, logically, and poetically out of all its conditions.” You may have also heard his most famous quote – “form follows function”. As with many LGBTQ individuals of his era, his personal correspondence was destroyed toward the end of his lifetime. His legacy remains, not only in the form of revered architecture, but through his student, Frank Lloyd Wright, who apprenticed with him for six years.

Read more about him in Robert Twombly’s “Louis Sullivan: His Life & Work”.

 

Eileen Gray

Eileen Gray was an Anglo-Irish designer of decorative furniture and Modernist architecture. Gray came to architecture later in life after first studying drawing and painting at the Slade School of Fine Art. She was one of the first women to be accepted at The Slade, and that wasn’t the first time she’d carve out a space for herself in a male-dominated world. Ultimately, her passions lay elsewhere though, and she began experimenting with Japanese lacquerwork fused with geometry. She became interested in architecture in her late forties after a successful career in furniture design. She is best known for E-1027, a modernist villa in Cape Martin in Southern France. It’s an iconic seaside villa that she completed at the age of 51 with no formal architectural training. Gray was largely unrecognized in her own lifetime, but today she is regarded as a pioneer of the Modernist movement, and E-1027 is now a French National Cultural Monument.

Read more about her in “Eileen Gray: Her Life and Work: The Biography”.

 

Geoffrey Bawa

This is Geoffrey Bawa, Sri Lanka’s most renowned architect. He was born to a mother of German, Scottish, and Sinhalese descent and a father of Sri Lankan, Muslim, and French descent. It was these early influences that were instrumental in shaping his choices in both life and his future profession. He first studied and practiced law, but after the early deaths of his parents, he quit to spend time traveling. It was upon his return that he got his start in architecture after purchasing a rubber plantation called Lunuganga that he would go on to develop throughout his lifetime. Often called the father of the tropical modernist movement, Bawa’s style of architecture suited the hot, humid climate of Sri Lanka and focused on traditional materials. His influence can be seen across Sri Lanka, Bali, and Singapore. He’s perhaps best known for his hotel designs such as Kandalama Hotel. The structure of the luxury hotel was designed so that it hangs onto a cliff while facing Sigiriya rock.

Read more about him in “In Search of Bawa” by David Robson.

 

Elsie de Wolfe

This is Elsie de Wolfe, an American designer credited with creating interior design as a profession. Born in New York in 1865, de Wolfe was a socialite who spent her early years in Scotland and was presented to Queen Victoria at court – a rare honor for an American at that time. She originally trained as an actress, but became more famous for her on stage attire than her acting ability. She became a fashion icon and was even named “best-dressed woman in the world” in 1935. In 1887, de Wolfe settled into what was then called a “Boston marriage” with Elisabeth Marbury, a formidable figure in New York society who was wildly successful in her own right as a literary agent for the likes of Oscar Wilde, George Bernard Shaw, and many others. The two women shared a house on Irving Square, and it was there that de Wolfe discovered her talent and love for interior design. She was known for her hatred of the Victorian style of the time, which she considered hideous and dark. She opened up the space and redid the house in soft, warm colors to make it light, airy, and feminine. She became a professional decorator in 1905. That same year a group of powerful women, including Marbury, Anne Tracy Morgan, and Florence Harriman opened the first private club exclusively for women in NYC – The Colony Club. De Wolfe was commissioned to design the interiors. She was also active in the women’s suffrage movement and was awarded the Legion d’Honneur for giving the Red Cross the use of her villa in France during World War I.

Read more about her in her own book “The House in Good Taste”.

 

 

Did you enjoy our Pride Month campaign? Want to keep up with our latest news? Follow us on social media to stay up to date, meet interesting architects and designers, and to see beautiful 3D visualizations.

Walk the Room: An Origin Story

Walk the Room: An Origin Story

Walk the Room: An Origin Story

Welcome to our new blog! Before we dive into all things CG and introduce you to some of the world’s biggest commercial property developers in our future posts, we thought it might be nice to first introduce ourselves. We sat down with our co-founders, Jesper and Alex, to fill you in on how Walk the Room got its start. Read on to meet them both and hear our story. Where did the name “Walk the Room” come from? What do you do when the market fit for your product just isn’t there yet? How do you take a struggling company of 1 to a thriving business of 70+? You’ll find out all that and more.

Aspiring golf pro to WtR Co-founder – Meet Jesper

What do you do if you’re an aspiring Swedish golf pro with no idea what to study so you just take classes in everything while working on your golf swing in the U.S.? If you’re anything like our co-founder Jesper, you might discover a keen interest in real estate and entrepreneurship that leads you to a new focus and the decision to start a new business. That’s just what he did in 2005 when he discovered a new software that would allow tenants to easily furnish and evaluate a potential space before deciding on it. He took it to market with his then business partner with the mission to help real estate developers quickly lease their office spaces by letting prospective customers digitally Walk the Room. Sounds great, right?

Jesper, the aspiring golf pro

Well, what they found was that like so many early adopters, Jesper (and the platform) were ahead of the curve. The subscription model that we’re all so familiar with today wasn’t the norm back then and people were hesitant to try it. People also weren’t ready to work with creating 3D images themselves within the platform. In short, the market fit wasn’t quite there, and the technology itself hadn’t yet caught up with the times in terms of quality. They were able to sell projects and the size of projects was growing, but just enough to provide a meager living, and student loans were the key to survival.

The idea from the beginning was to build a platform to make the commercial real estate space more efficient in terms of leasing spaces.

What they needed was to get their business in line with the market, and the only way to do that was to adapt. After the exit of his business partner and the first pivot to high end renders in 2010, which was a better market fit and provided the possibility to pay a minimum wage salary, it was time to take the risk of bringing in someone new and to start thinking about pivoting the direction of the company yet again. Growing 100% without external funding from one day to the next was just around the corner. Risky, but Jesper knew WtR was headed somewhere.

From first employee to CEO – Meet Alex

Jesper met Alex through his brother. They clicked immediately, and after some deliberation, Jesper invited him on board. This was a time when every decision had the potential to make or break the business, and one client was the deciding factor in whether there was any money the next month, and even then it wasn’t much. Hiring Alex was a gamble. Would it pay off?

Jesper and Alex

Together, Alex and Jesper, while deciding on what new direction WtR could take, found that tenants didn’t appreciate the hassle of furnishing office spaces themselves, but very much liked seeing them furnished before deciding on them. With that, WtR abandoned the original platform and turned into a consultancy with a more beautiful and sellable product, which also had the added benefit of more accurately portraying the space – CGIs. They worked within commercial property visualization and contracted 3D artists to create compelling images of interiors. With a sellable product and a more efficient team of two, things started getting interesting and Jesper and Alex were able to achieve real growth. In 2019, Jesper and Alexander found themselves at a crossroad: do we keep toiling to get by, or do we make a go for it?

We’ve put our entire professional careers into Walk the Room, our entire savings into Walk the Room, our life basically is Walk the Room – so much is tied to this company.

They went for it and set a plan to scale up the business. Yet another new chapter started.

Taking the leap

We started to make investments in the culture, internal systems, organization, and future products. Little by little the visualizations grew better, the business grew stronger, the team grew bigger, but more importantly – WtR started growing the culture we now treasure. We set up shop in Prague, a city and region with an established community of amazing 3D artists and the home of many of our team members. We started serving clients around the globe – from Scandinavia to the UK and eventually the U.S.

Our goal is to solve the communicative gap in very large, complex buildings. The amazing potential of a building is often not that easy to show with a standard drawing. We’re helping the industry move more efficiently where the true potential of a property can be communicated in the best possible way. Moving 2000 employees from one office to another, for example, is a big decision that affects many people. We’re happy to be part of making that journey easier and more modern.

Apart from filling the communicative gap, we’re big fans of architecture and interior design, so the focus is on creating photorealistic commercial property renders that place quality over quantity. We’d much rather produce something that people love and that speaks to their emotions than something cheap and quick. The feeling of delivering something like that to a client that appreciates beauty and quality feels so much better than factory production ever could. Producing quality work with an artistic finish that showcases our clients’ unique property story in the best possible way is our goal and the recipe for a great customer experience and relationship.

Who we are now

Since then, the team has grown to 70+, and we now have a global presence, with a tight knit digital collaboration across many markets and time zones. And we have our eyes on expanding into even more markets.

One of the things we’re really proud of is that HQ at WtR is not a physical place. It’s online – that’s the company we are. Even though we do have physical offices, the majority of people work online – from home, a café, a beach, wherever they prefer. Both the leadership team and the employees are located around the globe. We’re not tied to a physical space – we’re a truly digital and global company. And we have been since the beginning.

We have a relentless commitment to offer the best computer-generated content, assets, and services to clients around the world – whether it’s still renders, animations or VR tours – and we’re continuously developing our products and services. We want to set the standard, and create solutions that make a difference. When we look back and see where we started compared to where we are now, we’re astounded, humbled, and incredibly proud of what we’ve managed to achieve.

The future of WtR

As you can see from our history, we’re agile and adaptable. What does that mean for our future? We’re not sure yet, but as always, we have our eyes on the horizon, and we’re currently investigating opportunities with real-time rendering and the metaverse. What’s interesting is that we’re finding that in some ways we’re headed back towards that original idea that was so ahead of its time in 2005. The market has matured, quality has caught up to the tech, and it seems people are ready for real-time rendering now. We might find ourselves coming full circle. We’ve never been a company that follows what others are doing. We prefer blazing the trail ourselves, so that we’re in charge of our own destiny.

One thing’s for sure though, the future is bright.

 

Check out other blog posts for our latest news, interesting clients, and beautiful projects!