The trend to ‘defurb’

The ‘defurb’, a look and style once popular with certain sectors, namely media and tech bods, has started to spread throughout the commercial property market. Corporates are increasingly stepping away from every day, standard commercial buildings and seeking out interesting, heritage interiors when considering fit outs and new space.

Based on the exposure and enhancement of a building’s original features, a defurb transforms office space, moving from the regular blue carpets, suspended ceilings, white walls, corporate look and reuniting a building with its original form.

This fits with the current desire for increased collaboration and a less structured approach to working, while providing a strong sense of identity and appealing to a younger demographic.

As good office design becomes a badge of honour, companies of all shapes and sizes, and specialists across numerous fields, are coming around to the defurb as a signature of style and good taste; the mark of a company that is in touch with its employees and is forward thinking and relevant.

Every building tells a story

Common defurb locations are old mills, warehouses, factories and industrial spaces that have a history and a legacy of hard toil.

High ceilinged, with exposed brick and pipes, these buildings stand as a reminder of a previous industrial era that has passed the baton to new commerce and professional pursuits.

Certain areas in cities have these types of buildings in abundance – the Northern Quarter in Manchester, the Docks in Liverpool, locations such as Shoreditch in London. There is an energy to these reclaimed areas that provides a buzz for all who pass through.

The history is an added element – part of the attraction.

Form and function

The appetite for defurbishment is also exacerbated by the creative aspect; the potential to restore a tired old building and to breathe new life into it. As well as having character, these buildings are canvases scrubbed clean, that are both functional and cool.

A building that qualifies for a defurb also likely lends itself to on trend tonal and natural shades, along with the use of raw materials like wood, stone and slate. The effect has a more eco-friendly air plus buildings like this are often more airy, with bigger windows, allowing more natural light to enter.

And the bonus is…

Stripped back, pared down buildings, with their exposed surfaces, are much easier and cheaper to exit at the end of a leasing arrangement. The dilapidation bills are usually noticeably lower as there is not much to be done to hard finishes such as exposed brickwork and there may not be carpet tiles, in the first instance, to replace.