Sainsbury’s Digital Lab

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A newly discovered Super Basement has not only helped to attract the best talent, productivity has improved, and a new way of working has made the usable space 30% more efficient. The recently opened Digital Lab, in the basement of Sainsbury’s Foster-designed Holborn headquarters, has already improved the speed of attraction of talent to the retailer’s new Digital Services Team.

‘The Digital Lab is enabling us to attract the best talent to our Digital Services Team to help us steal a march on the competition. It has become a huge part of what we are,’ says Charlotte Briscall, Sainsbury’s Head of Digital Experience.

During the design process, a volume of unused space was discovered between the basement and ground floor that has allowed a new mezzanine level to be inserted. Together with filling the void over a lower basement level, this created 320 sq m of new usable space. This discovery, creation and more efficient use of space has also added wider commercial value with the release of valuable space elsewhere in the building. ‘We got everything we wanted. Just look at the smiles on people’s faces as they walk in!’ enthuses Tom Gilhooly, Sainsbury’s Digital Lab Project Co-Ordinator.

‘We will change the building to reflect the way people work today, making it more communal,’ said Mike Coupe, Sainsbury’s CEO in Management Today in June 2015. ‘There will be a digital lab space – so we can exploit the fact that London is the third biggest digital development centre in the world.’