The words “Turner House” stand above the entrance to the six-storey building on Great Marlborough Street diagonally opposite Liberty’s classical store and at its rear directly adjoining the London Palladium, the capital’s premier venue for musicals. It is the main European office of Atlantabased TV giant Turner Broadcasting System Europe Limited, whose portfolio includes a number of well-known channels such as CNN, Cartoon Network and Turner Classic Movies (TCM).
The lobby leaves a visitor in no doubt as to the world he has just entered. The architects from leading practice Reid Architecture have designed a reception environment that takes him straight into TV land. Programs from the various Turner channels are shown on small TV screens placed in niches in the mellow-yellow walls.
Turner’s European subsidiary has had a business relationship with Kinnarps that has lasted for almost two decades, most visibly during the period 1996- 2006, when all the functional Kinnarps furniture of the CNN editorial office could be seen on the screen around the clock.
“We needed furniture to satisfy diverse tastes. Whereas the ambience at CNN is more conservative, the young team running Cartoon prefer furniture with a modern and up-to-date feel.” says Russell Parry, Vice President of Facilities in Europe for Turner Broadcasting System Europe Limited.
Cartoon Network, CN, has a distinguished history going back to the legendary Hanna-Barbera productions: William Hanna and Joseph Barbera were behind super classics such as The Flintstones and Scooby-Doo. But the Cartoon Network started by Turner in 1993 is now also focusing on creating new major series such as Ben 10, Foster’s Home for Imaginary Friends and Skatoony.
And the recently furbished Development Studio under the eaves close to Oxford Street was built specifically for a new team to create animated TV for a contemporary audience.
Now more than 20 people work here, a mere stone’s throw from Turner House. The team was assigned a challenging task: to spearhead the creation of new animated TV series with a strong “European” feel.
“The office furniture in this company must live up to high standards”, says Parry. “And it’s also vital for us that everything we buy in is flexible so that it can be easily moved to other units within the company”.
Among the furniture finally selected for the Development Studio was the recently launched 9000 series task chair, as well as the new Series[f] desking system, ergonomically designed and with an extremely lightweight but strong top that was a perfect answer to the needs of both partners. In addition there are some rather more unusual elements, like the Plint bar stool designed by Sandin & Bülow for Materia, as well as their Centrum Grande swivel chairs all in an elegant snowy white. Materia are a fairly recent addition to the Kinnarps group – along with Klaessons and Skandiform - adding a range of design-led products.
“Our complementary brands add a further dimension to the Kinnarps range and make our total offering even more complete and interesting”, says Marc Bird, Head of Marketing at Kinnarps UK. “Typically, our customers used to buy the majority of their office furniture from us but sometimes supplement with a few chosen pieces from other suppliers. But now, as in the case of Cartoon Network, they have such a wide choice of Kinnarps furniture they are able to vary their chosen image, including the signature pieces, all from one supplier.”
Marc Bird, who has been with Kinnarps for almost 20 years and has a strong sense for Swedish furniture culture, thinks English people generally have a strongly positive attitude to everything Scandinavian. That’s obviously the case within the sector of furniture and design. Apart from that, Sweden’s image in particular is enhanced by a number of well-known brands with an international appeal that most British people know and like, from Volvo and Ericsson to H&M, Abba and SAS.