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CBRE identifies priorities for facilities management excellence

Three priorities for operational excellence in FM identifiedTo achieve operational excellence in facilities management, organisations must balance three priorities: managing costs efficiently and creating value; maintaining high satisfaction among occupants and clients; and proactively stewarding property and infrastructure. Forging the Iron Triangle: Facility Management Operational Excellence, is a new report by the CBRE’s Global Corporate Services research team and the result of a year-long inquiry into mainly US-based facility management organisations, industry scholarship, and an industry-wide survey of more than 125 facility management executives. It reveals the initiatives that have a lasting impact on facilities management team performance and the reduction of risk, increasing workplace satisfaction and extending the useful life of properties or building infrastructure. Talent management, risk management and life cycle cost analysis are also found to be prevalent in high performing FM teams.

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Orgatec preview: the next generation workplace is all about settings

There is a well travelled international circuit for those interested in what office design tells us about the way we work that has, for a number of years, taken in London, Milan, Chicago, Stockholm and Cologne as its main stopping off points. This week sees the launch of Orgatec, the longstanding biennial workplace festival in Cologne. One of the interesting features of Orgatec is that, because it takes place every two years, it offers snapshots of key developments in the market. It throws a spotlight on whatever workplace professionals are talking about and whatever product designers are doing in response to the changing world of work. And it does it on a big scale. This year over 600 companies from 40 countries will be presenting across an exhibition area of 105,000 sq. m. This seems big, and is, but is down markedly on the size of the show from 20 years ago when Orgatec was the launch pad for seminal products such as Herman Miller’s Aeron Chair and the Ad Hoc  furniture system from Vitra.

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If you want to reduce the cost of your office, move to a creative area

If you want to reduce the cost of your office, move to a creative area

Clerkenwell Design Week

“First we shape our buildings, thereafter our buildings shape us.” Winston Churchill, House of Commons opening speech. Buildings do indeed shape us, but what seems to affect us even more is the neighbourhood. It’s the immediate environment as opposed to buildings that is much harder to create. It needs numerous factors to influence it, among them the two most precious components– the right people and enough time. Politicians all over the world dream of creating zones that will draw the most innovative companies. But it seems that most of them grow organically – the Silicon Valley in California, the Silicon Alley in New York and the Silicon Roundabout in London. The combination of low rents, proximity to the centre of a dynamic metropolis and interesting culture made the East London neighbourhood of Shoreditch, Clerkenwell and Aldgate a perfect magnet for some of the world’s most exciting companies. So should you think about relocating there too? Here are some things to consider. More →

New letting strengthens Cambridge’s growing reputation as a centre of technology

Latest lettings underline Cambridge’s growing reputation as a centre of technologyIn the largest office letting in Cambridge in over a decade, technology developer CSR plc has agreed with The Crown Estate to establish an expanded, 100,000 sq. ft. global HQ at Cambridge Business Park. Further lettings of a combined 11,000 sq. ft., to the multi-national computer technology company, Oracle, and to JDR Cable Systems, means that the 320,000 sq. ft. Business Park is now fully let, with over 2,000 people set to be working on site once these tenants move in. These latest lettings underline Cambridge’s growing reputation as a centre of technology – where its success this sector has even led to it being referred to as the “Silicon Fen”, the UK’s equivalent of California’s Silicon Valley. More →

Three major UK office developments get green light following months of talk

UK office developments

Plans for the new Astra Zeneca facility in Cambridge by Herzog & de Meuron

Three of the most talked about UK office developments have been given the go ahead within the space of a few days. The Government has finally announced that the new construction headquarters for HS2 will be in Birmingham, rather than London. Meanwhile, following all of the wrangling about its proposed takeover by Pfizer, Astra Zeneca has announced that the controversial move of its research facility from Cheshire to a new base in Cambridge will involve the creation of a new £330 million complex designed by Swiss architects Herzog & de Meuron.  Finally, planning consent has been granted for the  4.9 million sq ft Wood Wharf development in docklands including nearly 2 million sq ft of office space which the developer claims will be aimed at the thriving London technology, media and telecommunications (TMT) sector.

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Office design should meet the basic human needs of workers, claims report

office design at Google ZurichDesigners can install sleep pods, slides and play areas in an effort to create a cool office, but the problem is that for every renowned Google campus are countless stuffy offices with fluorescent lighting and cramped, crowded conditions.  When you drill right down to it office workers want those responsible for office design to meet their basic human needs; with more natural light, effective heating and air conditioning and the better use of office space. This is according to the results of a survey by Steelcase of more than 800 office workers across the UK to mark the beginning of Clerkenwell Design Week. It found that despite British workers appreciating the latest technology and high-quality office design, better lighting and more control over temperature settings would be a big step forward towards their dream office.

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

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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3XN chosen as preferred partner to design new Olympic HQ


3XN is also designing the DreamCenter

Danish firm 3XN has been chosen by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) as its preferred architectural partner for the design of the new IOC headquarters. It will be located on a 24.000 square metre site on the banks of Lake Geneva to provide an ‘Olympic campus’ of administrative buildings for 500 employees. The IOC announced its intention last year to regroup all its staff, currently spread throughout Lausanne at a number of sites; arguing a new HQ would result in substantial savings in rental fees, increased working efficiency and energy conservation. If the project, which is dependent on discussions and decisions with the relevant Swiss authorities goes ahead, it will add another building to a number of projects by 3XN for big international organizations such as the DreamWorks Animation DreamCenter complex [pictured] and the United Nations. More →

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

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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What the UK regional divide can teach us about the way we design offices

Mind the GapIn the BBC documentary Mind the Gap, Evan Davis asks why London has an economy that is larger than and different to those of other UK cities, but also getting bigger and more differentiated. One of the main reasons he finds for this is something called agglomeration; the more skilled people you can put within physical reach of each other in an environment, the more productive and economically successful that environment will become.The problem for the UK is that not only is London of a different magnitude to its other cities, it does not comply with something called Zipf’s Law which states that in a typical country the largest city will be around twice the size of the second largest, around three times the size of the next largest and four times the size of the fourth largest and so on. It shouldn’t be taken too literally but it does illustrate the important economic principle of agglomeration and explains why there is such a widening divide in the UK economy.

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Gallery: Google’s Kuala Lumpur office offers an alternative vision of a tech palace

imageMention the offices of Google (or Facebook or Apple) and you’re perhaps most likely to think of the latest generation of gleaming Xanadu-like corporate tech palaces now being planned or built in London or California. But the new offices of Google in Kuala Lumpur offer a distinctly different vision. Designed by M Moser Associates, this is a compact community space centred on a cafe, meeting rooms and retro gaming zone. The pre-school acid colours and shapes, regionalised biomimicry, exposed building services, toys and knowing use of vintage decor are all familiar elements of a design aimed at young(ish) techies and creatives, but the main drivers for the revamp are the equally familiar commercial needs to consolidate a previously dispersed workforce into a single space and give them a choice of zones in which to interact. More →

The most read stories on Insight in 2013

Apple 11It’s been one year since Insight first hit the digital streets and it’s been fascinating to see what people have been most interested in. One of the great things about online publishing is you cannot escape from what people think. Printed trade magazines can tell you they send out 12,000 copies or whatever, but they can’t tell you whether the recipients are interested enough to read them or share their contents. Online, that is all made transparent. So it’s been great to start a publication that after just a few months was demonstrably the UK’s most widely read title covering workplace design and management issues. We even know what people like the most. So here, in no particular order, are our most widely read stories from 2013, ranging from the technical to the esoteric, news stories, case studies, the bursting of bubbles and the challenges to received wisdom.

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