Explore the latest projects from the UK’s commercial interiors industry, featuring the best of workspace, hospitality, living and public sectors.

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BDG designs new agile-ready workspace for Sony

BDG architecture + design has completed a new world-class working environment for Sony Pictures Entertainment, celebrating the impact of film and television while looking to the company’s future and building a powerful connection between people, place and purpose.

17/08/2021 3 min read

Relocating the entertainment giant from Soho to the Brunel Building in London’s Paddington Basin, BDG has completed this ‘agile-ready’ environment for over 500 people, including large shared spaces. The Japanese word Kando provided the starting point for the project, reflecting a desire to move people emotionally through the medium of the physical space.

The world of Sony Pictures Entertainment (SPE) has been brought to life, from big ‘wow’ spaces to quiet moments of discovery. Column-free floorplates have allowed BDG to control the visual narrative, much as a film director would. The new working environment has been developed to support a modern, agile way of working. In total there are nearly 400 alternative work settings, offering staff a genuine choice when it comes to working away from their desks.

For times when quieter, concentrated work is required, there are areas that support that too. Variety is the watchword here: there is everything from booths, edit suites, focus rooms, phone rooms, movable walls and screening rooms. A vertical village of amenities draws staff between levels via dramatic new staircases, which unites the business and represents a symbol of connection, while sightlines across the floor are framed by a series of structures, and the speckle of terrazzo evokes memories of TV static.

This modern working environment was created to celebrate the amazing work of SPE’s highly skilled workforce and provides a platform for them to create the future of entertainment. Objects and spaces associated with the making and consumption of film and TV form the material inspiration, with BDG reworking them in a playful, abstract way to create a curated expression of entertainment. SPE has many stories to tell and people’s achievements to celebrate – and BDG’s skill lay in expressing these in a way that staff and visitors alike will want to explore. There is also an ambition to create a campus-style atmosphere so people from all areas of the business feel they can meet and work together wherever they want within the workspace.

There is a strong emphasis on wellness here – with contemplation and wellness rooms and generous greenery and planting throughout. The building has a BREEAM rating of Excellent.

BDG has created an office that buzzes with activity and movement through deft use of light, volume, colour and contrast in order to juxtapose past achievements with present capabilities and future goals. BDG achieved uniformity and physical connection of spaces, and therefore the different business groups, by inserting the new staircases, and the building has a distinctive diagrid (a portmanteau of diagonal grid) geometry with irregular yet identical floorplates. In order to underpin a sense of place, the decision was made to free up two corners on each of the floors to offer unrestricted views from the building which is adjacent to Paddington Station, the Grand Union Canal and Paddington Basin.

One of the great challenges was how to incorporate meeting rooms, print rooms and focus areas, without disrupting the building’s original concrete structure. The answer was a cluster of almost freestanding structures, creating this micro architecture within each floor, stacked around the concrete blocks that make up the building cores. There are sit/stand workstations and lockers for everyone, with carefully curated touch points revealing stories of innovation and discovery. When it comes to the impressive furniture specification, workstations and storage are from Knoll, task chairs are from Herman Miller, meeting room chairs are from Wilkhahn and meeting room tables, bespoke credenzas and console tables are from Benchmark.

BDG worked closely with SPE to rethink how they work within their new home. This 20-month project brought together four of the client’s business groups: Theatrical, TV Production, TV Entertainment and Corporate. The aesthetic is contemporary and coherent, whilst remaining relevant to the client and meaningful to its staff and business objectives, creating memorable on-screen moments. There are independent structures within the floorplates that are a nod to the client’s heritage of having had numerous film or TV sets on the same studio ‘lot’.

A new vision of a connected community has been developed, where talent from across the business can easily meet, share and celebrate together. There is a landscape of new options for staff to do their best work in this office. The materials, details and moments within the design make this unique workspace a beautifully composed reflection of SPE’s values and achievement – a physical embodiment of the magic of entertainment.

This project is a finalist for Project of the Year, Workplace Interiors at the Mixology21 Awards.

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