We’re always intrigued when it comes to looking at the new working homes of firms whose expertise lies right here in the interiors field. So when BW told us about its own impressive new workspace, we were as keen as mustard to delve a little deeper.
BW has recently relocated from Southwark to stunning new offices at 5 Old Bailey. The space has been designed by KKS, with BW managing the fit-out itself.
The leading fit-out and refurbishment expert, which prides itself on its ability to deliver workplaces with a personal touch, can boast an impressive client roster that includes CIMA, Coca Cola, Selfridges, Suntory and Amazon – to name just a few.
The move to the Old Bailey represents the latest transition in the evolution of BW as new breed of fit-out contractor that understands interior design, as much as it appreciates the precision joinery and detail finishes.
The design, led by Athina Trapezountiou at KKS, captures the essence of this key London location, close to St Paul’s Cathedral, representing the exterior inside the space to create a sense of place – a theme that is echoed throughout the whole design. The gridded building façades of the surroundings as well as the organic setting of the medial streets of the city are expressed in the concrete like gridded floor in reception, through the carpet composition and angular design in the meeting suite and workspace, as well as the angular design of the envelope and joinery.
The colour palette comprises neutral tones with warm highlights, which complement the black and white (and greys in between) to maintain a classic environment that will stand the test of time.
A key design objective was to ensure that when employees and clients leave the lift and enter the reception here, there is an instant Wow factor – and this has been achieved with a striking design combined with a quality and attention to detail that exudes from every corner of the design. Visitors approach the stunning bespoke Corian reception desk, set against a metal bronze screen installation that creates a new striking backdrop, completing a brand new envelope to the space, and filtering the external light and views out.
The reception desk gently slopes and curves to the right where, alongside loose iconic furniture pieces, a smart waiting area has been formed. To the left of the reception desk there is a welcoming business lounge, fully equipped with a communal table, comfortable Eames chairs, and dedicated ambient lighting, providing visitors and clients alike with a conducive, informal working environment.
The BW brand is always paramount, subtly reinforced with an elegant carved ceiling light sign manifestation that welcomes clients to the meeting room suite.
There is a total of eight meeting rooms of different sizes here to accommodate various types of meeting. Each of the rooms comes with state-of-the-art’ AV capability, while two of the rooms can be opened up to create a seminar space for up to 40 guests.
To further encourage and support the collaborative style of working favoured at BW, the main working areas comprise bench style work settings. A total of 10,000 sq ft space supports 130 employees across 86 desks, with a capacity to increase the headcount by 30% in the future.
The BW brand is subtly integrated into the space once again, with blue glass tops applied to the top of the filing storage, which doubles up as an extra place for impromptu meetings.
Having the core of the building wrapped with circa 40 linear meters of bespoke wall joinery, which brings together an otherwise fragmented feature, allows for centrally located space for coats, stationery, and personal storage.
BW’s experience of delivering design concepts for its clients means that they are acutely aware of those design elements that require particular attention to detail from the start. For example, the mix of soft and hard surfaces, the precision finishing, the closure of doors and dividing panels have all been fanatically perfected – just as BW does for its client.
‘We know how much the detail matters to our clients and it matter to us too,’ Steve Elliott, CEO of BW says. ‘It would be unthinkable that we would not complete our own office in line with our objective to be DF@PC (Defect Free at Practical Completion). I am delighted – and a little relieved – to be able to say that we have achieved that as well as sticking to our own budget and timelines. We are delighted with the space as our clients.’
As Steve explains, in line with BW’s key objective to deliver projects to be 100% Defect Free at Practical Completion or DF@PC by 2018, it was vital that the firm achieved this for itself.
‘We know only too well that in order to be consistent about standards we need to be fanatical about every single detail, and ensure our entire team shares the obsession for perfection,’ we’re told.
‘Our employees have been delivering high-end designer created workspaces for our clients for years,’ Steve Buchanan, BW’s Head of IT, tells us. ‘By relocating from our dated, dark and technically inefficient offices, we’ve aligned our growing business requirements to those we deliver on a daily basis for our clients. Some of the noted aesthetic improvements to the workspace include an engaging reception environment, thought-provoking artwork, open plan workspaces, employee lunch area and views of St Paul’s dome.
‘Underpinning these aesthetic improvements however, is the hiding of technology to make an effective workplace. From dynamic lighting, a near seamless AV experience, universal docking stations promoting hot desking and reliable infrastructure components, the office now assists in the creation of a business energy which perhaps was stifled in the previous office space. Being a services business, our people are the absolute core of our product and the palpable step change in the vibe in the office arising from the move is enriching all.’
‘Moving to the new office has been nothing short of transformative,’ explains Lydia Millard, Senior Business Development Manager at BW. ‘We now have a space that truly reflects our brand, and is somewhere we can be proud to take our clients. The new set up has created a much greater sense of connectivity between employees, creating ‘bump’ opportunities and enjoyable communal spaces to meet and chat.’
BW is clearly delighted with the new working home – and is also keen to give credit where it’s due for what was a true team effort. ‘Contractors and sub-contractors, architects, designers, mechanical and electrical experts and a plethora of furniture and fittings, all formed a critical part of the team to make this happen.
‘Thank you to everyone who assisted our move and we look forward to welcoming clients and friends to our new office in the near future.’