Trunk in the Workplace

Incredible Office Space Built Around a Tree Opens in Central London

Ever wished you could work in the park to make the most of some sunny weather? Well, TREExOFFICE, the latest project in Groundwork London’s Park Hack initiative has transformed a small portion of a green space in Hoxton, London into a viable working environment. The truly unique pop up office space wraps organically around a tree and features a 360 degree view, all flooded with natural light.

The project was the result of a collaboration between architect Natalie Jeremijenko, artists Shuster + Moseley and architecture firm Tate Harmer. “People work in synthesised spaces cut off from the natural environment and mediated by screens, lenses and other technological and architectural mediums which frame and in some ways generate our experience of the world,” Edward Shuster and Claudia Moseley told us.

“We believe that by manipulating and re-framing or collapsing these interfaces and transparencies we can produce lasting psychological and social effects that will have a positive influence in this context and broaden our ideas about well-being and productivity”.

Funds generated from the use of the space are to be reinvested in other green spaces in the area, hopefully creating a virtuous circle. Groundwork London hope that if TREExOFFICE is a success, the concept might be rolled out to a wider audience.

We spoke to Edward and Claudia about this unique project.

The Plus: What features was it necessary for the office to have?
Shuster + Moseley:
For us the key features of these kinds of pavilions is that they encourage people to experience relations between nature and culture in a new way so as to inspire transformation, and this requires transparency and perspective – the pavilion needs to take people into a new context where they see and feel their surroundings differently and hopefully in an enhanced manner, but it should also have interiority and create a space for people to be calm and still.

This is the challenge – to create space that is sensitive to the environment and contemplative, but one that is also radically open to the public realm. Much of our work is in sculpture, so it is also important that the pavilion makes a strong aesthetic statement – not just to be inspired by nature but to work with it sensually, psychologically and materially – that is the eventual aim of these kinds of projects.

TP: What’s your personal workspace like?
We have a studio in London which we chose because of its enormous west-facing window with big sky views and sunsets which are a phenomenal display – as we work mainly in glass and transparent and reflective materials, their interaction with the ever changing sky is hugely influential to our practice and experimentation.

When we first met, we were living in a tree on a protest site in the Brecon Beacons in Wales. We tend to be quite nomadic in our work and working environment, we feel that changing environments are pretty crucial to keep feeling inspired and motivated – this summer we will be migrating to the mountains in Switzerland for Ed’s PhD at the European Graduate School.

TP: Do you think this will take off?
We think that people recognise the inherent benefit of spending more time in nature but it is a very sensitive area regarding how our public green spaces are used and making sure that they are not commercialised and privatised. If managed correctly and sensitively with the right intentions we certainly see this taking off but first the groundwork of understanding and design criteria need to be laid out.