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Inside Knight Frank’s global HQ from Resonate Interiors

While you might find a number of top chefs eating poorly at home, when it comes to Knight Frank’s own real estate, the leading property firm definitely puts its money where its mouth is, recently commissioning a top-of-the-range fit-out for the refresh of its 100,000 sq ft Baker Street global headquarters.

02/03/2021 4 min read

Project Team

  • Client

    Knight Frank

  • Designer

    Resonate Interiors

  • Fit-out

    BW: Workplace Experts

  • Furniture Provider


  • Furniture

    Rawside, OB&B, Flokk, JDD, Ocee, Mark Product, Orangebox, Pedrali, Frovi, BuzziSpace, Allermuir, Elite, Vitra, Hay

Back in the day, this building served as the headquarters for good old Marks and Spencer, before being given a 21st century makeover by Make Architects. Knight Frank occupies three floors of the building, recognisable by its modulating glass façade on one of London’s most famous street names.

‘We refurbished the same office space for Knight Frank around six years ago but, overall, this new fit-out supersedes the previous scheme,’ explains Tom Harvey, Construction Manager with BW: Workplace Experts, who helped deliver the project. ‘We have carried out the works over 12 phases to date, within a live working environment.’

Chris Kerr, BW’s Contracts Manager, elaborates further: ‘It was a real programmed partnership with Knight Frank to suit their ongoing operations, which was also one of the challenges. Each phase was just three weeks long and any problems we encountered we had to manage within the project dates.

‘It was more about a look and feel refresh, focusing on the aesthetics of the space, so that meant transforming the flooring, the wallcoverings, the furniture and the lighting in places like the tea points, rather than a complex refurbishment.’

While BW’s team worked with building services design consultant GDM on the MEP part of the project, it also successfully collaborated with Resonate Interiors, who brought additional design know-how for the ‘Connect 55’ concept of collaborative spaces (the 55 coming from the 55 Baker Street address).

‘It was a big deal for us to work with Knight Frank, migrating 1,300 people across to agile working,’ explains Resonate Founder and Managing Director, Pernille Stafford. Resonate deftly navigated practical aspects such as the chilled beams in the ceilings and the neutral colour scheme of grey and white to add a sense of homeliness. ‘It needed a heart space,’ Pernille continues. ‘We looked at the idea of creating a British street scene, where there would traditionally be things such as a phone box, bus stop or letter box.’

Riffing on this idea of ‘stopping points’, Resonate created various typologies of gathering spaces around the large doughnut-shaped floorplates. Because of the scale of the floors, clear signage across the office landscape was also key.

Each floor took references from parts of London and the UK, and also cities around the world, reflecting Knight Frank’s international standing. So, on the 4th floor, for example, the influences include London’s White City. Not only is this part of the west of the capital where much of the 1908 London Olympic Games took place, but it is also the location for Television Centre, an iconic building that was the home of the BBC for over 50 years.

The latter has now been successfully redeveloped into a mixed-use scheme of homes, offices and independent restaurants and cinema, with Knight Frank chosen as one of the property agents for this landmark project. Representing the rest of the world on the 4th floor, there are colour and material nods to San Francisco, Nairobi and New York, reflected in the choices of furniture, lighting and flooring. There is a juice bar, for instance, which represents the health-conscious nature of the residents of the Big Apple. ‘It had the biggest scope of any tea point and was the talking point amongst staff once handed over,’ explains Tom Harvey.

With its mix of traditional and contemporary themes, the 5th floor was inspired by the spherical forms and linear crossovers of Shanghai. This manifests itself in the wall of blue and white pottery and pendants reminiscent of traditional Chinese lanterns. The influence of London’s Battersea Power Station can be felt in the architecture of the easily reconfigurable breakout spaces. Splashes of colour on this floor can be traced back to dynamic hotspots around the globe, from Singapore to Shoreditch, while Berlin provides a starting point in terms of the linear forms and semi-industrial feel of the Bauhaus movement. 

The 6th floor, meanwhile, takes its cues from the streetscapes of Mumbai and the ornate detailing of Dubai, as well as the colourful street markets of Hong Kong.

The impressive refit included three floors of office space, the reception and high-quality meeting rooms. While all floors feature state-of-the-art AV systems, the build also included technological advancements such as touchscreens and 4K HD video walls, providing a productive and efficient working environment.

A big part of the design of the meeting rooms on all floors was biophilia, which can even be felt in the selection of vibrant green carpet tiles. Consistent elements across all meeting rooms included coat stands from Mark Product, tables and credenzas from Rawside and black and white chairs from Hay. BW and Resonate worked with specialist dealer, Rainbow, achieving the aim of specifying 80% of British furniture, which was, where possible, produced within a 100-mile radius of the project.

Whilst international influences are prevalent throughout, regions of the United Kingdom were not left out of the geography-based design references here. In the meeting rooms of the 4th floor, Castle Square in Sheffield, Central Square in Cardiff and Merchant Square in Glasgow provided aesthetic prompts, across the 5th floor it was Birmingham’s Victoria Square and Bristol’s Queen’s Square, while on the 6th floor Henley’s Adwell Square and Market Square in Cirencester were among the eclectic design inspirations.

‘The office working areas were quite calm in contrast,’ Pernille reflects, moving away from the meeting and collaboration spaces, before neatly summarising the success of this project for Knight Frank: ‘What we achieved for this client is an open, experiential environment, truly reflecting the character of their business.’

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