Prague’s Maximilian Hotel reopens following redesign by Conran and Partners
One of Prague’s most established boutique hotels, Maximilian, has reopened after a refurbishment programme by Conran and Partners.
It’s the morning of Mixology and we’re keeping ourselves busy by taking a look at one of the many incredible shortlisted projects, which will be featured in the awards later in the day. As we enter Jacada Travel’s new working home, we can’t help but think we’ve chosen the perfect space in which to relax ourselves into the day’s proceedings.
Peldon Rose, Forest to Home
Siesta Cork, Howdens
Forest to Home, Hillcross Furniture, Adventures in Furniture, Konk
James Clark Garden Design, Camira
We’re high above the rapidly changing section of Old Street that connects Silicon Roundabout with Clerkenwell, where Jacada Travel’s Founder and Managing Director, Alex Malcolm, is happy to give us the tour of this cool, nature-inspired space.
Jacada Travel is a luxury travel provider that prides itself on creating authentic travel experiences for travellers who wish to go beyond the typical, getaway from the crowds and experience something different and special.
It is this authenticity that underpins the look and feel of the new Jacada home. We ask Alex about the origins of the relocation. ‘This space is a lot bigger but also quite different from where we were,’ he reveals. ‘We didn’t have any communal space in our previous office, we had a tiny little kitchen and people ate at their desks. It was quite a nice space. It was open and had a really nice skylight – this was near Highbury and Islington, not too far from here – but it was way too small for us. We had grown organically and were full to the brim. We didn’t want to move too far from where we were – we didn’t want to lose people.
‘This space was an empty shell when we first saw it. It was quite industrial, with exposed ceilings. I immediately loved the light and – with it being this L-shaped space – it gets light from both sides. My immediate thought was that we needed to soften the area, so when I first spoke to Peldon Rose I told them that what I really wanted was to not make it feel as though we are in the middle of a major city – to try to use elements that would help make our people feel a bit more relaxed. We had some plants in our last office – but certainly not this many! I had gone online and looked at what others had done with plants and with biophilia – and had seen a few spaces that looked alright, but it was almost as though they were just nodding towards it.
‘Sustainability and the use of natural materials was something I really wanted for the space – that became a bit of a journey. We’ve used sisal for the flooring, for example, and then I found some chaps who make tables out of a workshop in Wiltshire – I really wanted a big table for the boardroom here and they came up with this amazing oak table. After chatting with them, I asked them if they could provide us with desks, so they produced these beautiful, natural ash desks.
‘Before we got the furniture in here I did the tour of Clerkenwell showrooms – but nothing really stood out to me. I think a lot of the decisions that are made at boardroom level are about the elimination of risk. If you work with proper natural materials, there is a risk that they will change or shrink – and I was aware of that and willing to work with it. I didn’t want anything that wasn’t natural, where possible, in this space.’
Over a seven-week programme, Peldon Rose delivered a workplace design that celebrates sustainability, biophilic design, collaboration and inspiration. As Jacada’s business grew, it quickly became apparent that its office was no longer representative of the brand, never mind physically straining at the seams. By relocating to Bentima House on Old Street, Jacada had an opportunity to design an office that showed off its personality and created an inspiring workplace for its staff.
Sustainability and the use of natural materials was something I really wanted for the space – that became a bit of a journey
Through careful planning and a collaborative approach with the client and external suppliers, Peldon Rose has delivered a stunning landscape that transports you into a sustainable, authentic and organic workplace. The new 4,500 sq ft environment focuses on providing a better insight into the way Jacada Travel works and provides enough space to support its continued growth. Sustainability and biophilic design were at the heart of the design process and links back to the focus that Jacada puts on community, conservation and carbon offsetting in all the bespoke packages the company creates.
Peldon Rose worked closely with Alex in order to learn exactly what he wanted to communicate through the new office and how it would positively impact the business and staff. Some of the concepts from Jacada’s philosophy – such as authentic, characterful and uplifting – were brought through into the design of the space so it would accurately represent the brand.
As well as bringing out the personality of the Jacada brand, the space needed to help encourage collaboration and integration – something that was sorely lacking in the company’s former home.
The teapoint is a central feature of the office and gives staff a dedicated space to connect with each other. A breakfast bar and large dining table gives staff enough space to enjoy a break away from their desks and to socialise. ‘We now have a no eating at desks rule – which worked straight away. People now come to the breakout space/social area – which is probably the nicest corner of the floor,’ Alex tells us.
Natural products are integrated throughout the design, from the cork partitions and sisal flooring through to the organic materials used for the fabrics in the smart meeting booths. As Alex said a little earlier, the use of available natural light was key. There are no solid partitions in the main office floor and Crittal-style glazing was used to maximise the available natural light. To help bring the outside in and incorporate natural woods and products into the design, the team worked closely with Forest to Home, Acorus Gardens and Hillcross Furniture to achieve a high-level finish that used organic, sustainable products. And there are, of course, a lot of plants. Again, Alex and the team veered away from the usual supply chain here. ‘I think the plants are really fun. I spoke to a few of the ‘conventional’ office plant suppliers – and I didn’t really like them. So I found a gardener. The upshot is that we have some much more interesting plants, which do require more maintenance, so the gardener comes in once a week to look after them. It’s been really interesting – and people love them. It makes a huge difference to wellbeing here.
‘A few of our guys have even brought their families in – which has to be a good sign!’ Alex smiles. ‘They wanted to show if off – people love showing it off.’ It’s little wonder that the Mixology judges also liked this space so much.
If you work with proper natural materials, there is a risk that they will change or shrink – and I was aware of that and willing to work with it
Major partners for this project
Inspiration for your next read
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Fitwel has been created from a desire for a wellbeing standard that could be applied to any property of any age and condition, not just the Grade-A city monoliths. Written by: Georgia Elliot-Smith, Director, Element 4
As regular readers will be all too aware, we like to get out and about. With both London and Manchester within easy reach of our editorial team, it’s important to us that we don’t just focus on these two centres. So, a day out in the lovely West Country ticks a number of boxes for us!