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Bluebottle draws on early photography for Getty Images’ new workspace

Bluebottle unveils a colourful and collaborative office for Getty London, ready for a new era of flexible working.

03/05/2023

4 min read

Getty Images London Workspace Office

Project Team

  • Client

    Getty

  • Architect and Interior Designer

    Bluebottle

  • Flooring

    Forbo, Desso

  • Furniture

    Benchmark, Fredericia, Massproductions, Established and Sons, Icons of Denmark, Moroso, Workstories, Humanscale, Brunner, &Tradition, Andreu World

  • Surfaces

    Realm Projects, Silestone

  • Lighting

    Fritz Hansen, New Works, Wastberg

  • Other suppliers

    James Tobias, AAV Ltd, Kvadrat, Storey, GDM, Parkeray, Hennessy Godden

This article first appeared in Mix Interiors #224

Words: Lauren Jade Hill
Photography: Ed Reeve


Tasked by Getty Images to design a new London headquarters for the post-pandemic era of flexible working, Bluebottle came up with a colourful and collaborative workspace that radically rethinks the traditional office set-up, while also taking inspiration from early colour film photography. In doing so, the design firm has succeeded in encapsulating Getty Images’ brand identity in a 10,400-sq-ft space that transforms how its occupants work and draws hybrid-working employees into the workplace.

“We wanted to offer something that you can’t necessarily replicate at home,” says Zelda Hogg, facilities director for Getty Images. “There needs to be a draw (post-pandemic) for people to come in and we’ve definitely created that.”

While Getty Images’ former London office, which Bluebottle designed over 10 years ago, followed the traditional office format with dedicated desks for each employee, this new site, which is less than half the size, contains a series of different zones designed to promote a more dynamic way of working.

The long, broken-plan space, stretching all the way from the Bishopsgate side to the Spitalfields end of this duo-entrance building, is made up of small areas of desking — with no more than 12 in any one location — soft-furnished collaboration zones, both social and quiet breakouts including a kitchen and, amid those, a collection of phone booths and meeting rooms as well as editing suites. The largest meeting room, designed to function as a multi-purpose workspace, is set apart by its floor-to-ceiling windows commanding impressive views over Bishopsgate.

Based on the company’s approach to flexible hybrid working, employees reserve their desk space through the Condeco booking system on any day they plan to come in. “From the collaboration point of view, people can see who is going to be in on any given day,” says Hogg. “And on the days that we’re oversubscribed, it isn’t an issue at all because, having changed working habits since the pandemic, people don’t feel like they need a desk but can instead move between areas or hop into a booth.”

The layout graduates from quieter areas on the Bishopsgate side to the more social areas at the Spitalfields end of the building, fitting the two personalities that are brought into the overall design of the office development.

“We loosely allocated the main stretches of desks and breakout spaces from quiet at one end to noisier at the other, because there are some departments that suit a quieter environment while the more interactive teams would prefer to be towards the end that feels like it has the buzz of the Spitalfields side,” explains Nicholas Gibbs, Bluebottle’s lead designer on the project. “The main kitchen space is on the Spitalfields side, then walking through, the breakout spaces become more lounge-like, quiet and enclosed.”

The reference to early colour film photography then comes in through a colour scheme in which toned-down shades of bold hues — like blue, green and red — evoke early Kodak prints, as well as through statement design features like the entrance area’s overhead flash-bulb lights. Materials and textiles such as metal mesh screens, fabric wall panels and full-length curtains add more depth and warmth to the overall space, defined by curves and clean lines.

Bluebottle collaborated with the team at Getty Images to select artwork for each zone from Getty’s extensive archive of photography. The final selection of over 100 prints was chosen based on criteria ensuring they represented the company’s identity and ethos through timeless images, that also fit in with the bold but faded colour scheme.

“We wanted to represent all of our collections and we also wanted to think about the work we do around diversity and inclusion, making sure they were authentic presentations of different demographics, but also thinking about women behind the lens,” says Hogg. These prints are displayed individually and in sets, with frames adding to the homeliness of the space.

Longevity and sustainability were taken into account through the overall design process, with the use of low- carbon and recyclable materials such as Forbo linoleum flooring and composite stone tops for the kitchen areas. Furniture consultancy OW-N reused and refurbished existing furniture, reupholstering chairs and using the frames, but replacing the tops of the previous Getty office’s meeting room tables.

The final future-facing office design has proven successful in fostering a sense of community and collaboration and giving hybrid-working employees a reason to be excited about coming in.

“The way the space is designed, people flow back and forth throughout the day and there’s always a lot of interaction – it’s broken down a lot of the silos you get in a traditional office layout,” says Hogg. “One the things that makes the design so successful is that it contracts and expands naturally, and even on the quieter days it has a great energy to it.”

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