We’ve weaved our way through the billboards and diversions that mark Victoria Station’s major refurbishment, and now find ourselves out in the bright sunshine, taking in the already transformed Victoria Street. We walk past cool bistros, bars and shopfronts – this is definitely an area ‘on the up’.
On reaching our destination – the Zigzag Building – we take a moment to look both at the contemporary architecture and the new street level amenities, which include Jamie’s and Iberica. Like we said, on the up.
We’re here to visit the first tenants of the new building – Jupiter Asset Management. HLW has created a vibrant new workspace for the British business that offers a new contemporary aesthetic to this traditionally conservative sector.
Jupiter is an established fund management group that seeks to add value for their clients through the delivery of outperformance over the medium to long term. Its origins go back to 1985 as a specialist investment boutique founded in London. Since then it has expanded beyond the UK as retail and institutional investors have been attracted to its active approach to asset management.
The highly successful group moved from a tired office space in Hyde Park Corner to become the first tenants of this new BREEAM Excellent rated building earlier this year. The new home has been designed to reflect an evolution of the Jupiter brand and status as market leaders, utilising the 56,000 sq ft space to increase collaboration and interaction among its 430 staff.
Appointed to deliver full scope interior design services, HLW International’s design scheme draws heavily on the building’s architectural features and surroundings referencing, in particular, the buildings juxtaposition with Victoria Street and St James’s Park.
We enter the bright, open reception space on the 9th floor, where we are joined by HLW internationals Associate Sarah Bunch, who tells us more about the facilities here. We are located in the main reception to Jupiter’s business suite situated across three levels – levels 7 and 8 are the working floors and then 9 is the business suite and staff hub area. Level 9 is split into two with glass partitioning separating the client suite from the staff hub.
The flexible multifunctional space contains a large recessed presentation screen as well as furniture and joinery pieces, commissioned specifically for Jupiter and developed by Opus Magnum, that can be broken down to allow for both client and staff functions.
We’re led over to the windows, where we find an astonishing, uninterrupted view from this elevated level. HLW chose this part of the building for the client suite because it has the best views, ’Sarah Bunch tells us. With views that stretch as far as Canary Wharf the design also takes advantage of the Zigzag’s angular facade, making good use of the abundant natural light and drawing visitors to those outside world.
Beyond the flexible reception space there is a suite of impressive, equally flexible meeting rooms. We are told that there are 17 in total here (with no number 13). The architect’s intention was to include a chilled beam system with exposed soffits, which were designed to be seen. HLW celebrated the soffit by keeping a central section exposed which also provided the meeting rooms with extra height.
The exposed soffits offer a great contrast to the elegance of the rest of the suite. Acoustic panels help with the sound quality within the meeting rooms, a number of which have retractable walls for larger meetings and conferences. The meeting rooms towards the core of the building that do not have the benefit of the natural light here are boosted with impressive additional light fittings.
Facing the meeting rooms is an interactive exhibition space, curated by Jupiter’s own art committee, showcasing upcoming artists, each of whom is given a three-month ‘residency’. We walk back past the reception space and through to a cool, open breakout area, which comes with low and high benches for informal meetings and a striking green rug by the Clerkenwell Rug Company.
The concept throughout is ‘urban v nature’, mixed with a play on the angles of the building and permeates through to the choice of materials and planting. HLW were very careful about which plants they chose, some spaces lacked natural light so they had to ensure that the plants would still thrive in those conditions.
As we mentioned a little earlier, this is a BREEAM Excellent rated building – and Jupiter very much bought into the idea of taking things further still when it came to sustainability with HLW to achieving SKA
Gold for the project.
Speaking of plants and nature, both the 8th and 9th floors have the benefit of amazing plant-abundant outdoor terraces complementing the views across Victoria and beyond, and bright colours, taken from nature-tropical birds, form part of the aesthetic and are presented to accentuate Jupiter’s branding.
“The project has been a real success and we feel we have a space that will support us in our continued growth.”
Looking out across the views, we ask why Jupiter chose this particular area. ‘Victoria is becoming a real hub for financial services,’ we’re told by Sarah. ‘Another financial firm is moving here soon – so there will be more asset management companies in this building and this area, which is helping to re-shape and re-purpose what was historically a centre for civil service due to its proximity to Westminster.’
We’re told that Jupiter’s former home has been due for redevelopment for a number of years, therefore the firm had been looking for an alternative location. The Zigzag Building provided the right floorplates, in the right area. Previously spread across six floors the leading asset management firm wanted to foster integration and team cross-fertilization, which the new premises now offers. Now that they are across two of three floors employee communication and interaction is already reaping benefits to the business. The location was also important to Jupiter as it provide better transport and amenities for both their employees and clients.
The brief to HLW was to create a fresh and original environment that encouraged teams to collaborate through the introduction of multiple, formal and informal breakout spaces. Quiet zones have also been incorporated to complement the open plan working environment and facilitate concentration and private conversations.
Staff wellbeing was a key objective and permeates throughout, from the introduction of sit/stand desking for all staff, through to the large town hall social space – where we now find ourselves – which can be re-configured for internal and external events as well as staff dining. To call this a canteen or a teapoint would be doing it a major disservice and, despite the fact that it’s now late in the afternoon, we find a number of people having internal, informal meetings here. There is even an adjacent, highly popular, table tennis room to encourage employees to take a break from their work – although as we take a peek into the room we find a number of guys huddled around a table tennis table that is filled with papers. Now that’s flexibility! A special mention has to go the brilliant upturned plant pot light fittings above the booths here.
The clean, open plan working floors have a nice buzz to them, with smart breakout spaces and teapoints punctuating the work zones. It’s also nice to see people actually using the sit/stand systems.
Speaking of the new move, Edward Bonham Carter, Vice Chairman of Jupiter Asset Management said: ‘Our new office in The Zig Zag Building, designed for us by HLW, reflects Jupiter’s brand and our dynamic and successful business. Our staff have thoroughly embraced the more contemporary, collaborative working environment and our clients have been impressed by the welcoming, professional quality of the top floor meeting suite. The project has been a real success and we feel we have a space that will support us in our continued growth.’