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A historic new home for Interaction

Interaction have a history of finding some of Bath’s least-loved spaces and turning them into market-leading workplaces. As we move into the completion stage of building our new office in Edgar Mews, we look back on the building’s history and share our vision for its future role at the heart of Bartlett Street, Bath’s artisan quarter.

A history distilled

It’s hard to find an exact date for the building’s construction, but we do know Edgar Mews was built sometime before 1810, most likely by the brilliantly-named Thomas Jelly. It started life as a coach house, located within what is now the Bath Conservation Area and World Heritage Site. It was still in use as a stable in 1902, but sometime after became a cellar, distillery and bottling plant for wine and gin merchants The Sainsbury Brothers, who made good use of the large vaulted basement. This usage continued into the 70’s before the premises became an antiques shop, then fell into dormancy.

Past meets present

Serving as Interaction’s new headquarters, the 6,500 sq ft, Grade II listed Edgar Mews will be a cutting-edge flexible workspace which can accommodate up to 70 staff, making it one of the largest new offices in the area. The new space will include a striking additional floor and a new central courtyard and atrium. The building will be developed according to the WELL building sustainability guidelines, applying principles of high energy efficiency. A suite of active travel facilities will encourage employees to walk, run, cycle and scoot to work.

Designed sympathetically to the character of the mews, renovations will allow the history of the building to be easily ‘read’ while resulting in an attractive structure that fits in with its surroundings in terms of scale, rhythm, and form. On the ground floor inspiration is taken from the garage doors prevalent on the rest of the mews, with a mix of glazed and solid doors expressing the history of the building as a former pair of coach houses. Calling back to the original four-bay composition of the building, we’re installing a second floor at roof level, retaining the imposing stone-clad tower at the north-western corner.

Lead designer Georgia Salter-Randall says:
“Designing the office has been a real journey for me, especially as I first saw the building on a tour when I was a student! Throughout the process it’s been important to create a space that echoes the building’s history and heritage whilst reflecting Interaction’s ethos and values. Staying authentic to the building and to ourselves has been vital. We’ve placed an emphasis on attention to detail as it’s such a quirky, complex building with so much to notice. Due to it’s age we’ve had to do a lot of structural and invisible work to make the space useable, with everything designed to the millimetre. Installing mechanicals in a building that pre-dates the electric motor has been interesting!

Inside we’ll have a variety of working environments with two distinct energies – relaxed, calm spaces for solo and deep work, plus retreat spaces to improve wellbeing, framed by Bath stone and bathed in natural light and greenery. Then we’ll have vibrant, energised and dynamic spaces for collaborative and social meetings, delineated by original red brick walls. My favourite space is… well, that keeps changing, which is a good sign!”

Paul Haskins, Interaction’s founder, says:

“We’re delighted to be taking a hidden gem of a space, which has been empty for many years, and bringing it up to date with a thoroughly considered contemporary redevelopment.

As a company we’ve always taken on and revived unloved spaces, and Edgar Mews embodies that ethos. It’s going to be a fantastic workplace which encourages our team to thrive, inspires our clients, and provides a boost to local businesses. It’s a great opportunity to bring to life just one of the many unused spaces in the UK in a way which benefits everybody.”

The beating heart of Bartlett Street

Bartlett St. houses a vibrant assortment of independent shops, art galleries, antiques stalls, cafes, bars and restaurants. It has always felt like a spiritual home for Interaction, and as we expand we will bring a boost to these local businesses. Our new home will prove that Bath can hold its own when it comes to state-of-the-art creative workplaces and attract some of the UK’s brightest talent. If you’d like to find out more about working for us, click here.

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