Cocoa Studios is a commercial building in the heart of the site of the former Peek Freans Biscuit Town in Bermondsey, London. Where once biscuits such as the Garibaldi, and the Bourbon were manufactured in bustling Victorian Factories, now start-up businesses and small and medium enterprise businesses are housed within robust industrial units in a dynamic new business centre.
AHMM’s approach was to provide a thoroughly modern, robust, flexible workspace that draws reference from the historical warehouse buildings of Bermondsey, an architecture of narrow proportioned brick buildings with large recessed openings and fine detailing.
The façade is broken down by deep vertical slots into a series of wide brick bays which follow the rhythm of the connected buildings. Within the brick bays are expansive deep openings that bring natural light and ventilation into the office units.
The building is delineated firstly by a hand laid expressed brick-bond at ground and first levels. The brick bond contains soldier’s courses that are alternated with flush and projecting headers on a single course that are then stack bonded. Expansive arches are place on the set back top floor to give a clear definition of base and top. This detailing both subtlety echoes the variety of brick patterns of the neighbouring Victorian architecture and follows the care and attention to detail of Peek Freans’ original architecture and engineering in a contemporary manner.