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Derwent London's John Burns Talks About The Company's Iconic British Style And What's Next For Offices

Some of London’s most beautiful modern buildings are actually quite old—they’re just remade by the iconic development firm Derwent London. We talked with CEO John Burns about some of Derwent’s projects and what the future looks like for London offices.

“We consider ourselves regeneration specialists,” John (a presenter at Bisnow's London State of the Market event next week) says. The company is very good at peeling back buildings to the bones, and then rebuilding them with modern materials while respecting the historical framework.

But he doesn’t build for specific tenants, he says. “You never can tell who is going to take the building.”

Some of his more famous tenants didn’t know what they wanted until Derwent London showed them. John tells us Burberry was looking for some space in the London core, but Derwent had nothing available. The company, however, did have Horseferry House (shown), on the edge of Victoria. 

“I knew we were interested in working with Burberry,” John says. His firm created the perfect headquarters and then two years later, pre-let 1 Page St to the iconic British designer as well.  

The trends now emphasize creative space, lots of light, high ceilings and a great entrance. But more substantially, technology and sustainability are vital. Derwent’s White Collar Factory (shown) won the 2016 MIPIM UK award for Visionary Building of the Year; the underlying design was to optimise the climate control benefits of the building’s passive design (tall ceilings, well-insulated façade, exposed mass) to reduce the amount of mechanical air conditioning required. White Collar Factory, which will complete at the end of the year, is also WiredScore Certified Platinum.

Also in the pipeline is 80 Charlotte St, a 380k SF office building that will deliver in 2019.

Join John Burns at Bisnow's London State of the Market event on 17 November to learn more about Derwent London's pipeline. Other office professionals like Canary Wharf's Sir George Iacobescu and British Land's Chris Grigg are scheduled to speak as well.