United House, Notting Hill: the latest offering from The Office Group
TOG’s Head of Design Nasim Köerting tells Mix about the 40th space from the flexible workspace providers.
Headspace provides uniquely designed, inspiring office space for communities of real people with big ideas. What fuels the team at Headspace is the belief that workspaces should look good and feel good. We speak with MD, Fabrizio Nicola-Giordano.
We’ve actually just secured a new space in Southampton – our sixth UK location and first on England’s South Coast. We’ll occupy 4,500 sq ft as part of a deal led by our sister company, BE.Spoke (BE Offices’ corporate flexible workspace division), to acquire and develop customised space for a global advisory firm. In fact, it’s a very similar set-up to what we have in Belfast (operating alongside the same BE.Spoke tenant), which is proving to be a really effective way of expanding our portfolio. The site is located within Grosvenor House (2 Grosvenor Square, Southampton) and is currently undergoing refurbishment for a January 2020 opening.
Southampton has a world class university, a vibrant community, great transport links and many exciting local businesses, so we’re really excited to be launching in the area and, even though we have only just announced the acquisition, we’ve already received a great deal of interest.
We create environments in which businesses can flourish together in a beautiful, community-driven space without the constraints of onerous five-year leases. We never forget that work is the primary reason for its use but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t enjoy a vibrant workplace that embraces wellbeing. Everything from bespoke artwork installations, height-adjustable furniture, biophilic planting, high-end coffee machines and relaxed comfortable seating areas allow clients to work how and where they choose.
For our members, the collaborative aspect is really important, and we curate a range of events, from yoga classes and comedy nights through to panel discussions on the business issues of the day. Some of our intimate events are particularly popular and include executive-level cheese and wine tastings and our monthly breakfast clubs. Both of these are great platforms for getting all of the different businesses in our building together, talking, sharing ideas and learning from each other.
We also happen to be the only UK space that offers members free access to coworking spaces across the globe via our membership of the League of Extraordinary Coworking spaces (LExC).
In 2018 our parent company, BE Offices, collaborated with workplace scientist Dr Kerstin Sailer, Co-founder of Brainybirdz and an Associate Professor at UCL’s Bartlett School of Architecture, to draw together all the relevant research on the impact of daylight in the workplace.
We are lucky to work with some amazing architects and designers and one of the major benefits of being part of the BE Offices family means that we have a fantastic in-house team who know our brand so well and manage that process for us.
For us, what really benefits the interior design process is when the team properly balance those factors that will create a productive workspace alongside inspirational and aesthetically pleasing design – in other words, avoiding style over substance.
That said, we do believe that interior design can have a big impact on wellbeing and environmental psychology is certainly something we ask our architects and designers to consider. For example, in 2018 our parent company, BE Offices, collaborated with workplace scientist Dr Kerstin Sailer, Co-founder of Brainybirdz and an Associate Professor at UCL’s Bartlett School of Architecture, to draw together all the relevant research on the impact of daylight in the workplace. We found that greater access to daylight can enhance employee satisfaction in the workplace. There’s also evidence to suggest that greater exposure to daylight can reduce stress levels. Obviously, there can be limits to how much operators can do in this respect, depending on the nature of the space you’re occupying, but it’s important for us that the findings of our research are factored into the design process.
There’s so much going on politically at the moment, it’s fascinating in some ways, but also hard to avoid and it can certainly be a challenge to try and switch off from all of these developments that have the potential to have a major impact on the UK and its business community.
Another primary concern is making sure that the customer experience is always flawless and I’m pleased to say that Headspace staff makes this a priority as standard.
It certainly is! We’re pretty much running at capacity (Headspace occupies around a third of the space and BE Offices the rest) and we’ve got a great mix of tenants there.
On great example is Make More Noise, a fast-growing PR consultancy co-owned by The Apprentice winner, Mark Wright. Having moved from Worcester to Birmingham last year, they have more than doubled in size and have plans to continue expanding the team (and the space they take) over the coming year.
What’s interesting about Make More Noise is that they’re affiliated with Wright’s digital marketing business, Climb Online, who were part of our Manchester community. So, we’re seeing this national business expanding and taking advantage of our new locations as and when we grow.
Mark is now someone who we collaborate with on other projects – for example, BE Offices hosts a regular business briefing and invited Mark to speak to our members about his own journey from BBC’s The Apprentice, to successful entrepreneur – so there’s a real sense of community amongst our members. Climb Online is also now providing SEO services to our parent company.
Corporate social responsibility is something we take very seriously at Headspace and, increasingly so, this relates to sustainability.
Late last year, we became (we think!) the first major coworking provider to move to renewable energy sourced power in all of our workspaces, only using electricity from ‘green energy’ renewable sources – typically wind and solar.
As we learn more and more and about the impact of fossil fuels on the planet, this feels like a relatively small, but hugely important step for us to take. We also know that these issues are becoming increasingly important for our members and I’m delighted that we can support their own efforts in helping to protect our environment. We all have a responsibility to become carbon neutral and help pave the way for a more sustainable business environment.
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