Three floors of office space have been transformed into a modern, flexible space for a large tech company
Client: A large technology company
Size: 5,481 sq m
Duration: 21 months
Words by Helen Harjak
Images by Jonathan Banks
CallisonRTKL has delivered a refurbished office for a large global technology company in central London. The design consultancy aimed to transform the client’s three floors into a modern, flexible space that would reflect the cutting-edge nature of the client’s brand.
‘After our initial meeting with the client, we realised this project was an opportunity to expand the current workplace standards. We took time to get under the skin of the company to ensure that its vision and aspirations were embedded within the physical result,’ says Sara Wilkins, head of EMEA workplace interior at CallisonRTKL. ‘The client team were incredibly engaged in the design throughout the duration of the project and always selected the most evolutionary design option presented.’
The reception has a striking red wall and lighting that is reminiscent of lightning bolts
As well as building workstations and creating breakout areas to allow for flexible working and encourage collaboration, the designers’ brief was to create a meeting space for the client’s sales team and visiting customers. ‘Over the years, our client has transitioned from a product sales-oriented business to a cloud-services business with a constantly changing and increasingly transient workforce,’ says Wilkins.
‘Its new workplace design echoes this evolution by enabling the client to ebb and flow seamlessly with changing workforce needs, to immerse customers in its brand experience, and to offer its employees a comfortable, bright and energising work environment.’
Adjacent to the reception is a customer lounge, featuring a variety of seating
From the outset, CallisonRTKL wanted to create a journey, both for visitors and employees. The designers identified key landmarks by establishing a hierarchy of areas and facilities across the three floors, on the fifth, sixth and seventh floors, of an office block.
The fifth floor is dedicated to the new visitor centre, for both new and existing customers. With a red wall and light strips reminiscent of lightning bolts, the reception desk makes a high-impact first impression. Adjacent to the reception is a waiting area with various types of seating, a new customer lounge and focus rooms.
Timber walls and ceiling lead from the open area to the main meeting room suite
The open area connects with the main meeting suite via timber links on both sides, while the dynamic lines of light highlight the route through the corridors.
‘Throughout the whole design there is an emphasis on connectivity of systems, data, people, physical areas, knowledge sharing and collaboration,’ says Wilkins. This idea was translated into an angled aesthetic across walls, floors, ceilings, joinery, signage and furniture.
In the meeting suite, rooms are set forward and back from each other, thereby reducing the ‘corridor’ effect
Some 22 meeting rooms are placed at angles from each other to avoid long, narrow corridors, reduce acoustic reverberation and assist wayfinding through tonal coding of floor and wall finishes. A 100-seater theatre completes the suite, serviced by an adjacent breakout area.
The sixth and seventh floors are the main employee areas, accommodating 364 workstations, 11 offices and a wide range of alternative work settings (AWS). Daylight has been maximised on these floors by locating the majority of cellular spaces in the centres, away from the perimeter and atrium glazing. The position of workstations and AWS further sub-divide the floorplates to create a feeling of smaller clusters.
A variety of work options are offered in the general office area
The range of workplace settings includes collaboration hubs, high-level tables, individual drop-in stations, soft and informal meeting areas, cellular focus rooms, meeting rooms and tea points. Write-on glass magnetic walls are scattered throughout for team brainstorming.
The LED dali lighting system is fully dimmable, and lighting and daylighting are linked along with the external blinds and controls. Dedicated perimeter lighting control zones enable full daylight linking. Meeting rooms and offices are fitted with in-room temperature control systems. The fifth floor meeting suite has a multi-channel, wall mounted, scene-setting light to tune the environment to a range of scenarios.
‘One of our core ideas was to “bring nature in”, to balance the digital and virtual worlds with people, and humanise the space,’ says Wilkins. ‘This was an initiative from the client’s existing workplace standards and was interpreted throughout with the use of organic patterns, materials and finishes, such as Interface’s Human Nature flooring and oak-clad signature landmarks.’