As part of its property investment strategy in the North West, global pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca completed a £10m refurbishment of Middlewood Court on its Macclesfield campus in 2016.
Designed by the commercial interiors specialists, SpaceInvader, the 80,000 sq ft project has transformed a once traditional cellular office into an open and vibrant workplace with a neighbourhood feeling that encourages and nurtures a more flexible and collaborative culture.
Inspired by the silk production heritage of Macclesfield and the significance of silk in modern medicine, the designers have introduced a Silk Route on the ground floor – a central spine linking two entrances. To complete the striking cocoon shaped meeting units along the route, the designers specified a group of bespoke metal dome pendants that mimicked the organic form of a silk moth cocoon. They approached Northern Lights to make this happen.
Working from the designers’ brief, we proposed a linear pattern that would reflect the delicacy of the silk thread yet complement the industrial aesthetics of the interior scheme. After the design was approved, our designer used 3D CAD software to develop the detailed drawings for laser-cutting and assembly. The primary structure of the pendants was created using 18 laser-cut panels. A key challenge of the project was how to achieve the organic natural form of the cocoon whilst maintaining their engineering integrity. The drawings had to be precisely dimensioned to ensure all the details line up correctly. It took a great deal of calculation to decide the correct welding positions to achieve the dynamic shape required by the client.
Measuring 2.1m tall and 2.9m in diameter, the pendants create a striking impact in the large open-plan workplace as well as providing a complement to the wider interiors. Together with the seating solution, they form the distinctive cocoon units that provide informal meeting places which facilitate and promote the exchange of knowledge and ideas between colleagues.
Photography: Gareth Gardner Photography