Tucked down a quiet side street in south London’s Bermondsey neighbourhood, PSLab’s HQ occupies a Victorian-era tannery – a place where animal hides are processed to produce leather.The lighting brand, which originally launched in Beirut, tasked JamesPlumb with transforming the historic building into a sequence of “defined yet intertwined” work areas where its staff could easily interact and collaborate.
The studio completely stripped back the building to expose its industrial shell, only leaving behind its bare-brick walls, steel columns and a number of sunken pits that would have once been used to dye animal hides.
These pits have been filled with concrete to create a series of different-height plinths, their blocky shape a subtle reference to monolithic structures that Russell and Plumb came across in a book called Bunker Archaeology by French philosopher Paul Virilio.
The plinths provide staff with a casual place to perch and work during the day, but can also serve as auditorium-style bench seating when the brand hosts large-scale events.
Some of them have been topped with slabs of concrete to create more formal work desks, while others have been dressed with linen-covered horsehair cushions to give some areas a cosy, lounge-like feel.
Planters have also been integrated into several of the plinths which, combined with the potted trees and leafy vines that trail from the ceiling, are meant to channel the verdant greenhouses of the Orto Botanico garden in Palermo, Italy.
A gridded steel framework that displays sample materials, models and lighting prototypes has been erected on one side of the room, acting as a “spine” between the main office floor and the atelier space.