Walkie Talkie Building

Edge Architecture
Sam’s restaurant - Markel Insurance Offices 

Shaping ceramic materials with extreme attention to detail and using the most advanced technology possible: Lea Ceramiche has always pursued this goal to create surfaces that boast the most sophisticated aesthetic appeal. Thanks to its products’ unique and recognisable style, the company has been a partner in many architectural projects all over the world; its many collections – some are designed by the in-house Research Laboratory and others are the result of collaboration with internationally renowned architects and designers – are researched and chosen to lend a distinctive touch to highly prestigious projects. One example is the new Markel Insurance headquarters in London where Lea Ceramiche's Type 32 and Wood-Stock have been selected to cover the surface of the relaxation area, Sam’s Restaurant.  

Located in the prestigious skyscraper at 20 Fenchurch Street, nicknamed the Walkie Talkie due to its characteristic shape, the new London offices of the Markel Insurance company embraces the idea of a ‘building within a building’, the concept that resulted in the project by Edge Architecture. Inside the multi-storey building, which is already occupied by a number of companies, the Markel headquarters takes up 3 floors situated between the 25th and 27th of the total 34 floors, connected by an internal staircase that was specially created thanks to an agreement with the property to ensure the idea of a self-contained location. High design standards guided the choice of materials and partners for the architectural construction. Located on the 25th floor, in the relaxation area for staff and visitors, Sam’s Restaurant is named after Markel’s commercial founder. Here the flooring was made with the Lea Ceramiche’s Slimtech Type 32 and Wood-Stock collections, ultra-thin laminated stoneware with a wood effect, laid in 20x200cm modules.

Distinguished by two overlapping layers, a more material layer that evokes wood and a second more graphic layer featuring a decoration based on the repeated oblique lines, Type 32 design Diego Grandi creates a typical zig-zag effect on the surface, an allusion to traditional French-style herringbone flooring. The long designed slats alternate with the plain tiles in the Wood-Stock line, which also feature a wood effect in the Coffee Wood colour. The end result is a harmonious composition with an interplay of graphic lines and wooden designs, patterns that can be perfectly combined to create a potentially infinite surface or a simple and elegant flooring.

Wood-Stock and Type 32 are part of Slimtech by Lea Ceramiche, the laminated stoneware series developed using a revolutionary technology that radically transcends the traditional concept of a tile. Due to the tiles’ slim 5.5mm design, they could be rapidly applied, respecting the building site’s tight timescale and the very strict design requirements that did not allow any margin for error.