BCO’s London workplace design and fit-out award winners revealed

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One Embankment PlaceYesterday the British Council for Offices announced what it considers London and the South East’s best recently completed workplaces at an awards dinner. The winners included One Eagle Place, BBC Broadcasting House and Brent Civic Centre, who will now go forward to the national awards which will be announced in October. Earlier this month, the regional finalists for Scotland, the Midlands and East Anglia were announced. Ceremonies will be held to announce the regional winners for the North of England and South West during May. Yesterdays’ event saw PwC’s One Embankment Place designed by t p bennett crowned as Refurbished/Recycled Workplace, Argent’s One Stable Street office win the small office category, while the award for Best Fit Out of a Workplace went to The Walbrook Building designed by Scott Brownrigg. The renovation of BBC Broadcasting House and Brent Civic Centre shared the award for Best Corporate Workplace.

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New collaborative office design for Petronas HQ in Italy

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Petronas 2 300dpi cropBuilding work has begun on the new 17,000 sq. m. European Research & Development Headquarters for Petronas Lubricants, the global lubricants manufacturing and marketing arm of Petronas, the Malaysian oil and gas company. The building has been designed by architecture, urbanism and design practice Broadway Malyan. The office – located in Santena, just outside Turin, Italy – is part of a major investment into Petronas’ overall research capability and will be home to a community of several hundred scientists, researchers and new product developers. It is expected to play an important role in supporting Petronas’ development and refinement of fuels and lubricants with a particular emphasis on an office design that encourages collaborative work.

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The latest issue of Insight is now available to view online

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firstclassIn the latest Insight newsletter, available to view online; read (and watch) a list of some of the greatest songs to deal with the arcane subject of office furniture and discover the six dimensions of wellbeing that can be impacted by the design of the physical environment. Details of the first free and publicly available resource for building professionals to access detailed comparative data on carbon in buildings; and research that shows moderate stress levels can actually help a manager’s performance.  Mark Eltringham suggests the real reasons why so many employers champion the open plan office layout and argues the design of trains [pictured] is almost as great an indicator of workplace thinking as the office itself. Finally, our regular contributor Simon Heath defends the much maligned HR function.  To automatically receive our weekly newsletter, simply add your email address to the box on the home page.

Gallery: Interiors Group completes office fit-out at Instinctif Partners

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140306INS-20 smThe Interiors Group has completed a project for the design and fit-out of the relocated offices for Instinctif Partners, an international business communications consultancy now situated at  65 Gresham Street, London. The relocation coincided with the launch of Instinctif Partners’ new name (having previously been known as College Group) so the new design became an expression of the new identity. The office fit-out project includes joinery, the installation of a media wall, bespoke feature walls, reception desk and lighting. The flooring consists of porcelain tiles and carpet from Interface.  The backlit reception desk displays the client’s twelve corporate colours on rotation. Leather seating was specified for the visitors’ waiting area. The open plan office is designed as a circular newsroom with a high table in the heart of the space highlighted by an oversized dome pendant. The dining area has been fitted out with LED screens and furnished in white. More →

The six most important dimensions of wellbeing in the workplace

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B-Free working choiceDesigning an office environment using six key elements of wellbeing will benefit both employers and their staff, leading to a healthier, more productive workplace finds a new report. Steelcase’s WorkSpace Futures global research team, which included a psychologist, a designer and an ergonomist conducted an in depth study on existing wellbeing research, surveys, indicators and theories and found that the key to physical and mental wellbeing is the emotional experience, which can be influenced by a person’s surroundings, actions, and way of perceiving the world. The six dimensions of wellbeing that can be impacted by the design of the physical environment are; optimism, mindfulness, authenticity, belonging, meaning and vitality. Together these create what Steelcase refers to as an “interconnected workplace,” that offers employees choice and control over where and how they work.  More →

Workplace design is theme of latest Insight, now available to view online

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CBI Cannon Street 2The latest issue of Insight, now available to view online, has a strong workplace design theme. Simon Heath reviews the nominees for the Design Museum, Designs of The Year awards and Justin Miller previews the Salone Internationale del Mobile (International Furniture Fair) in Milan. We discover how the new Axel Springer media centre in Berlin is intended to encourage collaborative working and why the design of Google’s new Amsterdam offices [pictured] puts the emphasis on youth culture to attract tech savvy staff. A BCO report claims that improved energy efficiency in an office may represent a saving of as much as £50 per square metre; a new Internet Consortium (IIC) aims to drive the uptake of the Internet of Things and research finds simply turning down the thermostat and asking office occupants to don another layer could help address global warming. To automatically receive our weekly newsletter, simply add your email address to the box on the home page.

A rail network carrying people on blurred lines into the future of work

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Office Group PaddingtonThe UK rail industry has a somewhat ambiguous relationship with the idea of remote working. While the business case for the controversial HS2 rail line was until recently predicated on the remarkable assumption that people don’t work on trains (now replaced by another set of assumptions to get to the numbers it needs for politicians to go along with it all), the number of journeys people make on trains has been increasing steadily for some time, regardless of the potential for technology to make many of those journeys unnecessary. So while we’re already into uncharted territory in our ability to forecast the impact of new technology and working practices on the need for physical presence, the train and the rail network  does offer us a touchstone for thinking about it. And what we find in that respect is a blurring of the lines between several worlds, as we do in pretty much every aspect of our lives.

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Can building design presage a fall from grace for the world’s tech giants?

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Apple HQAt the movies, buildings are often used to denote hubris. The ambitions and egos of Charles Foster Kane and Scarface are embodied in the pleasure domes and gilded cages they erect to themselves. Of course, things then invariably go badly wrong. In the real world too, monstrous edifices have often presaged a crash. The UK’s most ambitious and much talked about office building at the turn of the Millennium was British Airways’ Waterside, completed in 1998, just a year after Margaret Thatcher famously objected to the firm’s new modern tailfin designs by draping them with a hankie and three years before BA had to drop its ‘World’s Favourite Airline’ strapline because by then it was Lufthansa. Nowadays BA isn’t even the UK’s favourite airline, but Waterside remains a symbol of its era, albeit one that continues to influence the way we design offices.

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Rem Koolhaas to create office design for new media centre in Berlin

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axel-springer-oma-7An office design by Rem Koolhaas’s architecture practice OMA has been selected for the new Axel Springer media centre in Berlin. The firm claims the design will encourage collaborative working and strike the right balance between the needs of people to work priavtely and with others.  The new building will sit on the site of a section of the Berlin Wall. It includes a 30 metre high atrium, described by OMA as an ‘open valley’, with a series of interconnecting terraces, work spaces and meeting areas.  The atrium opens up towards the existing home of multimedia company Axel Springer and deliberately references the distinction between the old and the new by associating so closely with Zimmerstrasse, a main street which was previously synonymous with the split between East and West Berlin. The ground floor level also contains studios, event and exhibition spaces, canteens and restaurants.

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When worlds collide: a preview of the Salone Internationale del Mobile in Milan

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S285 deskDon’t even think about going to Milan for a break at this time of year – you probably won’t get a hotel room. Every year the Salone Internationale del Mobile (International Furniture Fair) and Milan Design Week ensure that hotels are full despite room rates soaring for the duration of this world class exhibition. Salone is the show to attend if you want to know what’s going on in the world of furniture design. Along with Orgatec, Neocon, CIFF, Clerkenwell Design Week and the Stockholm Furniture Fair, Salone makes up the Grand Tour of furniture and design shows around the world. These shows not only provide an international showcase the very latest in furniture design, each also offers its own unique insight into the way we work and live. And they do so on a massive scale. In the case of Milan, this means extending the show beyond the halls of the central Rho fairgrounds to use locations around the whole city, when it takes place next week.

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CBI moves to new flagship London office at Cannon Place

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CBI Cannon Street 1The CBI is moving out of the Centre Point building this weekend to take up residence at its new flagship offices in London’s Cannon Place on Monday (31st March). The UK’s leading business group is leaving the Centre Point building in London’s West End after 34 years to relocate to new offices in Cannon Place, above Cannon Street station, where its new headquarters will be based. The 25,000 sq ft space on the fourth floor of the eight-floored Cannon Place will be open plan and home to around 200 staff. It will boast a member lounge with work stations and meeting rooms, as well as regular exhibitions showcasing the best of British business from around the globe. This first exhibitor will be Bristol-based film and television company Aardman Animations, the makers of the award-winning Wallace and Gromit series. More →

Google’s new Amsterdam office exposes Tech’s youthful obsessions

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Google Amsterdam 2

All images © Alan Jensen and D/Dock

Back in the 1990s, when Frank Duffy was one of the august handful of people popularising notions of a changing approach to office design, he categorised four models of the workplace that he foresaw would come to reflect the work done in them, namely the den, cell, hive and club. Back then, the word ‘club’ conjured up images of gentleman’s clubs and Duffy himself described it in his 1997 book The New Office as ‘essentially an ingenious early 19th Century device to allow the kind of people who are now called networkers to share as supportive an environment as possible’, illustrating his point with an old coloured engraving of upright gents sitting around in a neo-classical, Victorian, smoke-filled room reading newspapers, sipping port and chewing the fat. Nowadays, the word club would appear to suggest something more along the lines of a youth club, as the latest pubescent design of a Google office shows us. More →

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