HarperCollins’ new London Bridge office features animated posters, author-themed rooms, its very own bookshop and a letter outlining the plot of George R R Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series.
Staff will finish moving from their previous location, in Hammersmith, into the News Building, which is owned by HC’s parent company NewsCorp, next week (26th January).
“To rethink continuously the business of storytelling,” ends a mission statement on a wall in the building’s lobby. It applies to all the NewsCorp businesses, including the Times, Sunday Times and Sun newspapers, as well as HC, which resides on the 15th and 16th floors.
On floor 15, a revolving line-up of Doris Lessing, J R R Tolkien and Paddington Bear feature on animated billboards between lifts. Lessing’s Nobel Prize medal and acceptance speech, with hand- written corrections, are on display in the reception waiting area. Other authors lend their names, or themes within their work, to conference rooms: a Hilary Mantel Room features original artwork from Wolf Hall, and a George R R Martin Room contains a letter Martin wrote to his agent outlining the plot for A Song of Ice and Fire—the final paragraph is blacked out.
The 15th floor houses departments such as children’s, Collins and sales, as well as c.e.o. Charlie Redmayne’s office, open plan with the rest of the floor.
The 16th floor has the trade publishing divisions, with fiction, non-fiction, Voyager, The Borough Press and Fourth Estate. The 17th floor has flexible space for use by all of the building’s businesses, and the 14th is also open to all NewsCorp staff. Its two key features are a sprawling canteen, and a bookshop selling exclusively HarperCollins titles, housed behind a wall constructed from books. Harlequin will also move into the building.
HarperCollins creative director Ben North told The Bookseller that the basis of the design for the office was “enlightenment and illumination. We wanted to shine a light into our own past, so we raided our company archives in Glasgow and put some of these things out on display,” he said.