A circular office by design

London Waste and Recycling Board’s (LWARB) new office puts circular economy principles into action. The new space in Shoreditch is home to 25 employees as well as a pioneering accelerator programme for circular economy startups. Fitted out in just four weeks, the result is a smart, medium spec, working-space delivered for the same price as a traditional low spec fitout.

The brief was to retain, use refurbished and recycled, and to consider open source design or leasing where appropriate. This meant understanding what would happen to items at the end of their life too. It also provided an ideal opportunity to showcase some of the innovative circular businesses that are part of LWARB’s business support programme.

Traditionally, an office fit out begins by ripping out the existing fittings and taking the space back to a basic shell (Cat A), before installing a new design in its place (Cat B). Typically all or most of the materials removed from the existing office are disposed of regardless of condition. In contrast, LWARB’s approach, and a factor in our office search, was to carry out a detailed review of existing materials and their condition with the aim to retain and re-use as much as possible. Where new materials were needed these were procured based on circular principles. Finally, to complete the story, circular office operation was considered too. The result is a great working environment that showcases circular economy principles, bringing together best practice and new innovations.

“This project has been invaluable experience in putting our circular principles into practice. We wanted to make it affordable and replicable and we’re keen to share our experience and learning with others,” said Wayne Hubbard, CEO at LWARB.

Re-used existing:
• Meeting rooms & doors
• Kitchen cabinets in a new kitchen layout
• Existing carpet
• Air conditioning & lighting
• Network cabling & floor boxes
• Blinds

Circular procurement:
• Refurbished furniture from Rype Office and Premier Workspace
• IKEA recycled cabinets for bin area
• Carpets from Interface’s net effect, Desso’s cradle2cradle and Milikens Econyl.
• Reclaimed timber floor from Royal College of Surgeon’s Lincoln’s Inn site
• UrbnRok recycled partition glass kitchen work surface
• Plasterboard alternatives from Ecor and Adaptavate
• Smile Plastics’ panels for cupboard doors, table tops and work surfaces.
• Opendesk opensource collaborative table manufactured in Walthamstow
• Refurbished laptops, mobile phones and AV.

Operation:
• Food waste collection from First Mile
• Flexible working (75% desk ratio)
• Flip-top desks (flexible event space)
• Eco-cleaning contract
• Organic milk delivery in re-usable glass bottles
• Renewable energy supplier

For more information read Circular London’s case study