Condé Nast, the publisher of Vogue and The New Yorker, will move out of its historic offices in London’s Mayfair next year as it continues to streamline editorial operations.
The magazine giant confirmed to the Financial Times that it was aiming to move all staff out of seven-storey Vogue House in Hanover Square to its Adelphi office in Embankment after more than 65 years, “potentially” by January 2024.
“There’s no other way to say it — leaving our iconic Vogue House will be hard”, according to an email sent to staff on Wednesday morning. “After many attempts to find a way to expand and redesign the space to meet our needs, there were just too many challenges to be able to do so.”
The announcement comes as Condé Nast continues a process of restructuring its editorial operations and pivoting to a digitally-led revenue model.
The privately owned company said it had turned a profit in 2021 on revenues of $2bn, and an insider told Axios in August 2022 that it was expecting its total revenue to increase in 2022, driven by digital advertising sales.
Vogue House, which is the headquarters of Vogue UK, was completed in 1958 and is owned by the Church of England.
The building became a fixture of the London fashion scene, the office where Dame Anna Wintour cut her teeth as an editor and where the photographer Lord Snowdon first met his muse Jean Shrimpton, an icon of the “swinging sixties”.
Sir Nicholas Coleridge, the former editorial director of Condé Nast Britain, wrote in his memoirs of Vogue House’s “notoriously unreliable” lifts and the vista they would offer on London society. “When the lift doors opened (if they did) it could be anyone inside,” he wrote.
“The Princess of Wales [Diana] came in and out of Vogue House all the time in the early nineties to borrow clothes. Kate Moss, Linda Evangelista, processions of male models on their way to castings at GQ, interns collecting coffees, posh-potty walking dogs, interior designers delivering lampshades to House & Garden…this was the daily traffic of the Vogue House lifts,” he wrote.
The office move is not a cost-cutting measure, but was driven by frustration with the limitations of running a modern editorial business in an old building, according to people familiar with the matter.
Another person said that management had become aware that the group had a lot of unused office space because staff had been working from home more often since the start of the pandemic.
“Over the last six months, we looked at many options in our search to find a space that is flexible enough to grow with us, whilst also reflecting our company’s exciting evolution and transformation”, read the email to staff.
“We are planning to expand our footprint and redesign our space at the Adelphi.”