Luxury People

The Communication Group + 10 Bloomsbury Way London

The Bloomsbury Group


London architecture practice Buckley Yeoman Grey are no strangers to breathing new life into old buildings. Derwent London’s Buckley Building in Clerkenwell, 1930s printing works turned offices, is a case in point. L+R commissioned the architects to transform the 1940s Ministry of Defence HQ into offices. Bloomsbury’s very own flat iron building, sprinkled with Buckley Yeoman Grey’s fairy dust, is now home to the UK’s longest established independent PR consultancy. Glamorous and sophisticated, the offices look good too. They overlook London’s most curious steeple: lions and unicorns coiling round the stepped pyramid atop St George’s Bloomsbury. Hawksmoor gone cuckoo.


The Communication Group was founded by Maureen Sutherland Smith, who is now the Chairman. A renowned professional in the world of PR, Maureen was made a Freeman of the City of London in 2011. She’s also well known for her charity work. The following year, she was appointed Vice President of Coram, the UK’s oldest children’s charity, and has since been made a Life Governor. In recent times, Maureen chaired the Grosvenor House Arts and Antiques Fair which raised over £400,000 and organised the City Rocks concert. Attracting the likes of Brian May, Lily Allen and Sophie Ellis-Bextor gathered £200,000 for The Lord Mayor’s Appeal.



Clients of The Communication Group range from places to live in (Ballymore) to places to stay in (Jumeirah) to places to work in (Howick Place) to places to save in (Coutts) to places to spend in (Masterpiece) to places to get well in (Nightingale Hospital) to places to get even better in (Necker Island) to places to bring an umbrella (Edinburgh) to places to forget an umbrella (Dubai) and umbrellas (Fulton). Wherever Ms Sutherland Smith’s black Morgan is parked outside, there’s a good party going on indoors. Tonight is no exception. It’s The Communication Group’s 30th birthday celebrations. Hurrah! The lights are on in 10 Bloomsbury Way and everyone’s home. It’s time to chat to Lady Lucy French of St James’s Theatre.


Assassin-black uniformed waiters come and go from The Bloomsbury Kitchen serving caviar, smoked salmon and cream cheese followed by watermelon and mint. Janisson + Fils champagne flows. A tower of coloured meringues lures guests. Maureen steps forward to speak, “Thank you so much for the flowers and cake! I find it difficult to believe its 30 years since The Communication Group began. It’s been a privilege over the years to have such exciting, outstanding and amazing clients! It’s been wonderful to build friendships and relationships. Other companies have been bought out but The Communication Group is proud to have retained its independence. So I would like to give you a big thank you for the part you have played in our past, present and I hope in our future!” The saxophonist plays happy birthday. Later, a female lead will sing Valerie while the band gets louder and the lights dimmer. “The singer was an intern for me,” says Sally Hawkins, Chairman of the Management Board and Creative Director of The Communication Group. “She performs at the Blue Marlin.”


Architecture Developers

The Buckley Building Clerkenwell + Derwent London

Going to Print

1 Buckley Building Derwent ©

This office led scheme by Derwent London is named after the late Richard Buckley, founder of one of the new wave of young design led architectural practices that sprung up in mid Nineties London. The Shoreditch based practice of Buckley Gray Yeoman continues to prosper under the leadership of directors Matt Yeoman and Paul White.

2 Buckley Building Derwent ©

Derwent famously prides itself on niche developments in the capital’s “villages”, many of them in creative hubs (whether they always are before Derwent arrives is a moot point!). The Buckley Building may be just north of Farringdon Station, but true to form, it is on Clerkenwell Green which is about as villagey as Zone 1 gets. Commanding prime position at the elevated end of the square, The Buckley Building is next to the leafy gardens of St James’s Church and overlooks the alfresco seating of The Crown Tavern. Clerkenwell Design Week venues are all about.

Formerly a printing works, it’s an essay in 1930s refinement. Strong bands of render alternate with rows of long glazing between brick panels. It occupies an entire urban block so all four-and-a-half elevations are on display, each masterfully handled. The main entrance has been strategically relocated to the shortest façade which forms a canted bay with two of the longer elevations. At five storeys over basement, The Buckley Building is a typically low rise Derwent affair. The floorplates are large though, accommodating some 500 square metres of ground floor retail and 7,500 square metres of offices on the other floors. A functionless atrium and superfluous columns have been removed.

The refurb spiritedly recaptures the spirit of the aged original. Over to Matt Yeoman, “The design intent was to create a refined industrial aesthetic throughout. Crittall windows have been retained and restored. The internal brickwork was partly grit blasted and exposed. We’ve also exposed the concrete soffits on all the floors.” Now for Simon Silver, head of regeneration at Derwent London, “We dropped the raised ground floor by half a floor to create the classic lofty and welcoming Derwent reception. It’s reminiscent of a grand and timeless warehouse.” An eight metre long concrete reception desk and steel wall cladding inspired by the work of Richard Serra and Carlo Scarpa continue the industrial aesthetic.

3 Buckley Building Derwent

A cat slide roof covered with great sheets of glazing swoops down the upper two floors transecting the north facing elevation and flooding the galleried offices with natural light. Most of the fourth floor is set back from the building line to accommodate south and west facing terraces. Richard Buckley always maintained that “design is a sensual experience and can create emotion across all human activity”. He could easily have been talking about The Buckley Building.

4 Buckley Building Derwent