With world-leading sustainability credentials, art-led public spaces and a forward-thinking new food arcade, Bloomberg's new European headquarters in London is set to transform not only the working lives of the financial organisation's employees, but become a cultural destination in its own right.
Set on a 3.2-acre site in the heart of the City of London, the building, conceived by Lord Foster of architecture firm Foster + Partners, has been designed to complement its historic surrounds. This consideration comes into play not just in the choice of material and aesthetic, but in preserving the remains of the ancient Temple of Mithras, a relic of Roman London that once stood on its grounds, and the significant ancient treasures uncovered during construction.
"In designing the building we wanted to respect London's aesthetic traditions, and we are standing right next door to Mansion House, the Bank of England, St Stephen Walbrook and St Paul's Cathedral. To fit in, we built using Derbyshire sandstone from a UK quarry," said Michael Bloomberg. "We also wanted to celebrate the history of the location, and that's why we painstakingly worked with the Museum of London Archaeology to converse our 14,000 artefacts, restore the temple and create a new educational opportunity for the public."
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Perhaps the building's most important contribution to its surrounds, however, will be its almost completely negligible environmental impact, with sustainability an issue that has long been top of Bloomberg's agenda, both as a politician and a businessman. "Being a good neighbour also means being a good steward of the environment, and as a global company we aim to get 100 per cent of our power from renewable resources by 2025. This building, which has been given the highest sustainability rating of any building in the world, will help us get there."
This accolade has been achieved through innovative design features such as a natural ventilation system that reduces the dependency on mechanical equipment, bespoke ceiling panels incorporating 500,000 LED lights that use 40 per cent less energy than that of a typical office, and an on-site water recycling system.
Choosing not to build on the maximum footprint of the site, the headquarters also brings three new public plazas to the city. It reflects the artistic programme seen throughout the buildings, with two of the spaces featuring a major new water sculpture by Spanish artist Cristina Iglesias that takes inspiration from the subterranean river that once flowed through the grounds.
An exciting development for the area's workers looking for new lunchtime options is the launch of the Bloomberg Arcade. Curated by Bloomberg's renowned food critic Richard Vines, it brings together established and new concepts from some of the capital's top restaurateurs. Familiar names including Caravan and Vinoteca have already joined its ranks, while openings to look forward to include a new all-day dining concept from Michelin-starred chef Andrew Wong, a Scandi-influenced restaurant and cafe from the owner of nearby 1 Lombard Street, and an Indian-influenced offering from the team behind the successful Trishna, Gymkhana and Hoppers. As Bloomberg joked, "The independent restaurants here will also reflect London's diversity, and will include a New York-themed burger joint, so I should have something to eat."
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