As part of the successful refurbishment of Thames Tower in Reading, dn-a was commissioned by Landid and Brockton Capital to design the new, double height reception area of this impressive 15 storey tower in central Reading. Situated on a prominent site opposite the recently redeveloped station, the building has been designed to be a collaborative working environment that inspires innovation. The large reception area – and furniture within it – sets the tone for the remainder of the building and is vital to the lettings strategy.

dn-a, teamed up with contemporary furniture specialists Benchmark to design and build the two reception desks for Thames Tower. A larger reception desk (3400wx900dx1100h) is situated at the more prominent northern entrance, welcoming visitors. A smaller desk (1400wx900dx1100h) facing the eastern entrance provides a hotel-style concierge service, providing tenants with a range of services to enhance their working lives.

Crafted to the highest level of quality the desks are formed from oak beams, bound together with blackened steel braces. The timber has been finished in a clear Osmo Oil, embracing the natural beauty of the splits and knots of the timber, bringing warmth and tactility to this expansive corporate reception area.

Oak was chosen to help soften the pallet of materials used in the reception area, providing contrast against the concrete tiled walls and complementing the bamboo panelling, which helps diffuse the light throughout the space.

Designed to combine functionality and beauty, all the workstations are integrated within the interior of the desks, leaving a clear, uncluttered top keeping the focus on the craftsmanship of the oak beams.

The design evolved over a number of weeks and involved exchange, adaptation and refinement of ideas between dn-a and Benchmark. The build took around ten weeks, constructed at Benchmark’s West Berkshire workshop.

The larger of the two desks weighs more than 1.5 tonnes resulting in a challenging four day installation in the busy town centre location and requiring consideration to be given to any potential effect on the structure of the building which is already bearing the load of four additional storeys.

The reception desks have been designed to the highest standards of sustainability, from design to installation. All timbers on the project have been PEFC certified, to ensure all the timber used comes from sustainably managed forests, helping the building achieve a BREEAM rating of ‘Very Good’.