The Bower

HELICAL'S journey starts with a double-height puzzle

The 13th and 14th floor of The Tower at Helical’s The Bower is home to a couple of the UK’s most exciting tech companies. Like everyone who finds a place at The Bower – in The Tower, The Warehouse, The Hub, or the dining precinct – they’re happily settled on Old Street. To understand how levels 13 and 14 became sought-after spots, we need to bundle into the lifts and head down to the 12th floor, and a journey that started with a double-height puzzle.

Project Details

Helical & Brilliant Basics
Cat A+
9,572 SQ FT
Bower Tower Office

Level 12. Doors open.

When the lift doors open on the 12th, you’re welcomed into the fold of Brilliant Basics, a technology studio doing innovative things in design. We initially conceived the space for The Bower developer Helical, but Brilliant Basics’ move into the Cat A+ space made sense from the start.

Helical, wanted to deliver the 12th floor speculatively; a glimpse into the art of the possible for the two floors above.

The brief was simple enough – ThirdWay was given an occupation density and a budget and encouraged to “celebrate the double-height space” overlooking Old Street. The rest was left for us to work our magic and present a practical transformation back to Helical.  

collaboration is key

Encouraged by the prospect of transforming the unique floorplate into an example of Cat A+ agility, Thirdway and Helical firmed the concept through workshops and design sessions.   Input from the client was, as always, priceless in those early stages of the journey. Together we formed the concept of an adaptable and functional space suited to the kinds of tech companies expressing interest

Explore the floor. 

The floorplate’s biggest challenge is a double-height space overlooking Old Street. Double the height means double the light, and that’s something to celebrate. But we wanted to do so in a way that didn’t compromise the rest of the space or make other areas seem underwhelming in comparison.

Today, the double-height area leads you from reception to breakout areas, past a spacious tea point where people chat around the large tree bench, then skirting informal meetings humming with creative energy you arrive at the main part of the floor.



Well-being and culture inspired our solution of a blended space where people gather without the constraints of fixed officesIt’s fun and sophisticated. Communal and comfortable. Energised and calming. Functional and unfettered. It’s seemingly opposing ideas meeting at the point where innovation is generated. 

Cat A+ requires a design approach centred on flexibilityCat A+ tenants want the space to feel like their own, so there is plenty of canvas in the 9,572 square foot space for branding and decorations.  

Walso included nods to The Bower’s identity, subtly mimicking the brand pattern in the elegant reception area and in the metal dividers between booths.  

Tribe used pops of colour within the furnishings to further lift the space and create areas of interest.

Versatility at work

People here work differently across the day. Explore the floorplate and you’ll discover dispersed meeting areas (with and without doors), phone rooms, booths, hot-desking stations and quiet zones.  

Versatile seating arrangements and freely transitioning breakout spaces flow foot traffic around informal meetingspermanent workstations, sensitive phone calls, ideation sprints and tea breaks. Additional bleacher seating capitalises on stunning city views, while sunlight floods through two lofty glazed aspects to warm the tea point’s tree bench. 

Our experience is that Thirdway will always look to demonstrate best value for the innovative design solutions they propose, whilst ensuring that the project is executed effectively, on time and on budget. ”
Tom Anderson , Helical PLC

A good building is a let building

The Bower is a great place to work. It haa surprising history (if a little grim early on), and has been place of well-being and community since the 1740s. The details might look different today, but at its core, The Bower is a place where people gather and good things happen. 

When Helical told us three parties were negotiating for the 12th floor of The Tower, we all agreed it was because the space was designed for versatility and flow. Exactly what aspirational tech companies need to spark the innovation they thrive on.

Ultimately Brilliant Basics settled in, expanding their tenancy beyond the 10th and 11th floors. Later, we would design the 13th and 14th-floor spaces for those other companies. But that’s another story.


Project Team

Tom Iles

Tom Iles

Paul Brown

Paul Brown

Commercial Director
Jordan Reid

Jordan Reid

Project Manager


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