Product partners: Bancroft Soft Furnishings (fabric on the sofa cushions), Boss Design (Mango – behind the shelving), Connection (Platforms on the left), Enigma Lighting (light fixture in the boardroom), Era (pod), Frovi (shelving), Gresham (tall table and benches), Image Group (Mix Group branding on boardroom glass doors), inleaf (plants), Karndean Designflooring (wooden flooring), Milliken (carpets), orangebox (sofa, armchair and coffee table) and Panaz (fabric on Gresham benches)
Over the years, we’ve journeyed up and down the country in pursuit of the finest projects. We’re pretty sure, in fact, that we own the record for the greatest distance travelled by a magazine between two UK projects when we went from Plymouth directly to Inverness. Today, we might be setting another distance record – the shortest journey ever made!
We’re about to ‘head out’ to look at…the newly remodelled Mix Group HQ. We make our way down the stairs, where our boss, MD Marcie Incarico, is admiring the reworked space. ‘It’s really exciting to be ‘living’ what we write and talk about,’ she enthuses. ‘This was one of the main reasons behind this project – it just didn’t feel right that we were looking at and writing about all these brilliant products and projects and not working in an agile, collaborative way ourselves.’
For those of you who don’t know the story, Marcie founded leading Manchester events company, Out There, back in 2001, with the business based in the Abito building in Greengate, just a swift stroll from the centre of Manchester. When Marcie acquired Mix Interiors some five years ago, the magazine was relocated from Saffron Walden in Essex to Manchester, which was able to comfortably house both the events and publishing arms of the newly formed group.
Product partners: Cosentino (work surfaces), Enigma Lighting (pendant lights), Hansgrohe (tap), illimani (Instant hot water tap), Johnson Tiles (wall and floor tiles), Koleksiyon (bar stools), Milliken (carpet) and Stiebel Eltron (hot water pump within the cupboard)
The ground floor of the space featured a meeting room, open client waiting/informal meeting space and a kitchen, while the open mezzanine above housed a single spine of bench desking for the two teams. ‘It worked well,’ Marcie recalls. ‘We had plenty of space for both teams – we’re still relatively small despite the acquisition of Mix and our continued success. It did, however, look and feel a little tired and occasionally some of the guys struggled to find quiet, focused space to work or to make calls.’
Marcie, with advice from the Mix editorial team, set about looking for new products that would help foster collaboration, interaction and wellbeing – whilst also providing that much-needed focused, quiet space. It was only when starting to talk with friends and clients from the furniture and flooring world that the seeds of an exciting, fresh idea began to form.
Product partners: Bute (fabric on the pod chairs), Era (pod which includes the table), Forbo Flooring Systems (carpet in the pod), inleaf (the Moss panel with Mix logo), Karndean Designflooring (wooden flooring on stairs) and sixteen3 (chairs in the pod)
‘As soon as we approached our lovely friends, they jumped at the idea of working with us,’ Marcie reveals. ‘It became quite quickly apparent that we could – and should – create something more than a redecorated space. Working alongside the manufacturers and suppliers, we started to look at this as a multifunctional space, where not only could our guys work in a variety of different settings, depending upon their tasks, but those partnering companies could also come in here and use the space either as a drop-in workspace or as a showcase for their products. There are still relatively few formal showrooms in and around Manchester, so this provides a perfect space for those companies to bring their clients in to show off their products in a working environment.’
Product partners: Modulyss (carpet), Silverline (storage units), Verco (the table, benches and stools) and Yarwood Leather (the upholstery of the benches and stools)
As you’ll see, in what is a relatively small space, Marcie – working alongside fit-out company Spatial and a myriad of generous suppliers – has been able to fit an awful lot in. Not that it feels cramped or crowded. ‘First and foremost this is a working space – and somewhere we regularly bring our own clients to, therefore it couldn’t just be a showroom where we simply wedged as many products as we could into.’
As you walk into the new-look space, you are met by biophilic branding and cool breakout seating. Moving into the open ground floor, the kitchen area has been opened up and dramatically modernised, while Mix staff and clients alike now have a fantastic variety of soft seating and collaborative tables to work at. The far end of the ground floor features a beautifully remodelled boardroom/formal meeting room, complete with elegant William Hands joinery, and a stylish Era pod for quiet focused work, semi-formal two-person meetings and private phone calls.
Product partners: inleaf (plants), Rawside London (cage shelving) and Silverline (storage unit)
Moving upstairs, into the heart of the Mix universe, the bench-style systems furniture by Imperial and task seating have been updated, revamped and massively improved, providing the team with ergonomic, functional and stylish work settings. Much needed central storage is topped with more of that lovely biophilic design, while also acting as a visual divide from the new informal collaboration space at the far end of the mezzanine, which comes complete with a brilliant oversized table and a variety of complementary soft seating.
Product partners: Top row moving right: Elite, Gresham, Boss Design. Bottom row moving right: HermanMiller, CMD, Interstuhl
Heading back downstairs, the bathrooms have been completely reworked, complete with cool finishes, sleek sanitary ware and a bespoke Mix Interiors feature wall, while a smart shower has also been added for those who like to run, cycle and gym. ‘I think it’s a shame when you see beautifully tiled shower areas in offices with white plastic electric shower boxes stuck on the walls,’ Marcie considers. ‘Traditionally this has been the only showering solution in commercial premises without gas fired boilers, however the guys at Stiebel Eltron have developed an instantaneous electric water heater that creates sufficient pressure to run our Hansgrohe thermostatic shower.’
Product partners: Colebrook Bosson Saunders (monitor arm), Enigma Lighting (pendant lighting above the stairs), Flexiform (recycling bins), James Tobias (storage cupboard and shelving) and Triumph (metal storage cabinets beneath the printers)
‘We’re really proud of the new space,’ Marcie smiles, ‘and the reaction from our partners has been incredibly positive. We’re still exploring all the new elements we have here – and I’m sure they can only help us to work better, smarter and happier! It really is win/win for everyone. We love the idea that our friends and colleagues can and will pop in to see us – and show off their brilliant products.’
Product partners: Bathe (sink unit), Bisley (lockers), Flexiform (credenza), Hansgrohe (shower fixture and tap), Image Group (image board in the toilet), Johnson Tiles (Tiles in the shower, toilet wall and floor) and Rawside (coat hooks).
Product partners: Boss Design (Mango), Connection (Platform close up), Enigma Lighting (boardroom ceiling pendant lights), inleaf (plant in boardroom and Moss Panels with Mix logo), Luctra (portable freestanding light behind the mango), Milliken (carpet in the boardroom), Svensson (fabric on boardroom chairs) and William Hands (boardroom chairs, table and credenza)
Product partners: Bancroft Soft Furnishings (fabric on coffee table seats), illimani (instant hot water tap), Johnson Tiles (top right flooring), Karndean Designflooring (wooden flooring), Knightsbridge (coffee table and chairs) and Milliken (carpet (bottom right flooring)
Product partners: Boss Design (2nd desk chair from end of desks), Colebrook Bosson Saunders (monitor arms), Enigma Lighting (lights), Gresham (furthest desk chair), Idea Paint (on the far wall), Imperial Office Furniture (desks, dividers and pedestals), inleaf (plants), Interface (Wooden flooring), Interstuhl (the two closest desk chairs), Luctra (desk light on the far desk), Rawside London (cage shelving) and Task (whiteboard)