Charge Cars is a manufacturer of luxury electric cars; currently producing 499 vehicles based on the 67 Mustang Fastback. The design approach for their R&D facility in West London has required a deep integration with the working practices, and marketing strategies of the organisation. From bespoke entrance lighting to an efficient factory floor, every area has been considered in relation to production ergonomics, branding, worker, and customer experience. The project refurbishes an existing industrial building in the Stockley Close estate, a single skin metal warehouse on a 2.5 metre blockwork wall around the perimeter, to provide new production and administrative accommodation for a techno/industrial start-up. The client has been the co-designer - every aspect of the space has required thorough discussion with the owner, their business representatives, technical staff, and managers. As there are not too many precedents for bespoke electric car production facilities of this scale, this has required a lot of investigative experimentation, review, and modelling to get right. The result is a clean factory space, the black and white aesthetic representing the contemporary simplicity of the construction process, compared to a traditional motor workshop for engine cars. A first-floor administrative suite provides a clear view of the factory floor through a fully glazed wall, including an open plan office area, with private and incidental meeting spaces. A staff breakout lounge, and large canteen provide opportunities for relaxation and refreshment away from the desk or the factory floor. A completed upgraded and extended WC and washroom area has been designed to a high specification. The Anamorphic Light is a bespoke feature light for the entrance foyer of Charge’s R&D facility. It was designed by Most Architecture, and made by Esse-Ci Lighting in Italy, to detailed specifications. The system is kinetic, with the four Y-shaped elements of the light in movement, but occasionally coinciding to form the logo of the organisation. For a workplace fit-out project, which combines spaces for design, development, customer journey, prototyping and final assembly, the design of the light borrows from these elements, to offer an object that contains movement and acceleration. The component structure of the light is a reference to its origins in Feynmann diagrams, which describe the behaviour and interaction of subatomic particles. The creation of the anamorphic light was a real collaboration between client, designer, and maker, and the end-result a satisfying conclusion to the project. The completed factory fitout for Charge Cars creates a production space that offers an immersive experience for workers and customers alike. It is a contemporary approach to factory/workplace design, helping to forge a workplace culture that is far removed from the intensive, clock-in clock-out condition of post-war capitalist and socialist economies that dominated the modern era, instead merging the boundaries between work, production, recreation, and culture. The result is a post-modern car factory, producing a post-modern product that diversifies both the style and function of the industrial workplace, as well as the market for personal electric vehicles.
Olga McMurdo set up MOST Architecture in 2017, having previously worked for OMA as a graduate in London on the Commonwealth Institute, and then Grimshaw Architects where she designed for public projects including the Oman Botanic Gardens. Since its inception, her fledgling practice has expanded to include six designers working from a studio in Kennington, with a growing and diverse project portfolio. The studio continues to develop work within the cultural sectors, but recently it is the workplace that has proved to be a typology where the practice has been particularly innovative. This year, Olga won the WAN Female Frontier Award, for best emerging architect, an acknowledgement of the progress and development of the studio and practice.