The Village Green, launched in the middle of April this year, is the latest project from Creative Network Partners. Set in Hackney Downs Studios, The Village Green is a brand new independent East End experience; a shopping and cultural development initially incorporating five local small businesses but with the possibility of further expansion.
The project comes as one part of an overall aim to create new communities and rich working environments for the creative sector in the East End of London. Hackney Downs Studios was a fairly unprepossessing redundant printworks when Creative Network Partners took it over towards the end of 2011. Architects Iolanda Bianchi and Mirko Lupo’s conversion task involved a great deal of creative restoration and adaptation as they set out to transform the Studios from a large, fairly open works area into the attractive Village Green format of five separate shops.
Two of the conversion problems were the need to build a new mezzanine floor structure above the shops and to ensure that the interiors of the shopping areas were quiet and intimate. These two problems were actually rolled into one as the Architects used Marmox Heraklith Wood Wool Panels as the cover material and as the final decoration layer. Heraklith wood wool panels are a natural product consisting of certified spruce wood, which originates in North European timber production forests and are produced with respect for the highest ecological, social and ethical standards. Heraklith panels are multipurpose and can be used internally or externally on walls, floors and ceilings. Being designed with an open surface structure they hold great acoustic properties that contribute to a quieter and more comfortable living and working space.
These hygroscopic panels allow the building to breathe by absorbing the moisture in the air and releasing it back when most needed, when it’s dry.
They are also renowned for their fire proofing qualities and in the event of fire they will protect for up to 90 minutes allowing ceiling and wall constructions to stay intact. They do not melt and drip, create fumes or toxic gases and they do not spread fire.
Ms. Bianchi underlines the point:
“I was looking for a reasonably priced material that would absorb sound and meet the fire safety requirements, leaving individual units to create their own ambience.
“Heraklith panels fitted that bill and also had the advantage of very simple fixing, saving time and money during installation.”
Her efforts have transformed Hackney Downs Studios into a pleasant shopping experience for the public and an important sales outlet for small local businesses.