What excited you about / prompted you to get involved with The Post Building project?
We were excited by the opportunity to use our background in experiential retail design to create a space that would best serve The Post Building's cyclists. Rapha's Head Office was designed with cyclists at the front of mind, as are our Clubhouses in cities around the world, so it was the perfect opportunity to translate this design to The Post Building.
This is the first time that a cycling brand has ever collaborated with a building - do you think this is the sign of things to come / what do you think is the significance of this?
As cycling becomes more popular, as a mode of transport and as a lifestyle change, more buildings should and can be designed with the cyclist in mind. We believe that cycling is on the rise as a lifestyle choice and it makes sense for buildings to be spaces that are inherently designed to allow people to integrate cycling into their lives.
How do you think the Rapha-designed space will enhance the lifestyles of the building's occupiers? How will it make a difference to their day?
Taking away barriers to cycling is the first step in encouraging people to integrate bikes into their lives. Typically, cyclists who use their bikes to get to work are faced with challenges such as finding bike storage that is easily accessible and secure and figuring out where to shower and change if they need to do so. A building that takes these basic needs into consideration and goes as far as it can to make sure cyclists feel not just provided for, but welcomed, will make a huge difference to cyclists using The Post Building.
How has the space been specifically designed with the needs of a cyclist in mind?
With the design of The Post Building, the flow of the space is as important as the facilities. Entryways open automatically to prevent a bike vs door battle, the floors are covered with non-slip surface for cyclists wearing cleats, and the secure bike storage is easily accessible. There is plenty of changing and shower space with towels provided and waypoints clearly marked out. Cyclists on Bromptons who need to just park their bikes have lockers near the entrance so they can enter, dismount, fold and store their bikes and go straight upstairs. A cyclist who needs to change and shower can enter, store their bike, get a towel from the concierge and then use the shower and locker rooms to get ready for work.
What makes these facilities market-leading?
No other building has a space that has been designed for cyclists - from the storage and shower facilities, put together specifically to aid a cyclist's journey from the road to their office chair, to the artwork on the walls and non-slip floors. The Post Building's owners and architects recognised the importance of engaging us early enough so that we could be fully integrated into the design process, which has enabled us to deliver cycle facilities that are truly world-class. Lots of little changes can help make a cyclist's life better when entering the office - from the flooring to accessible spaces and a well-ventilated and spacious shower area. We hope to show that there are plenty of ways to make office areas into cycling-friendly spaces.
Why is it important that cycling is embraced at a high level by city officials, planners and developers? Do you believe enough is being done to improve life for cyclists in the city?
Cycling is the obvious answer to many of the quality of life problems facing cities and city dwellers today - congestion, pollution, obesity, depression, etc. If more money and time is invested into making cycling more accessible and safe, we can help solve some of these problems. While initiatives like Quietways and the Cycling Superhighway go some way to making London better for cyclists, we need more involvement from developers and more support from planners. There has been a marked improvement in the last few years but we have a long way to go from here.
How has the cycling community grown in London and what's next?
Just looking at Blackfriars Bridge at rush hour, you can tell that cycling in London has exploded in recent years. More people than ever are commuting by bike, and that's a wonderful thing. Hopefully more cycling infrastructure and accessibility schemes are coming next - and more planners and developers working with cycling companies and campaigns to make London the best city for cycling.