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MCM and Hunters create a landmark hub for Mediabrands

A new people-focused headquarters brings together eight distinct brands under one roof.

24/08/2022 3 min read

A Grade II listed landmark building has been transformed into the London workplace of global group of media and marketing agencies, Mediabrands. Juggling multiple brand identities, 16 Old Bailey will be home to over 1000 creatives working within eight separate distinct brands, all under the Mediabrands umbrella.

The redevelopment project provided the opportunity for designers MCM and furniture specialists Hunters – Furniture Providers to champion environmental responsibility and sustainability.

The key project driver was to acknowledge, respect and embody the individuality, character, culture and spirit of each of the brands, bringing them together under a seamless and holistic ‘Mediabrands’ experience.

To create a progressive and unique workplace, MCM established what they call ‘creative tension’ within the space. These ‘tensions’ relate to the location, the building and brands; expressed in design responses and materials that work with the location’s industrial history, the building’s modern and historical architectural cues, and the culture and creativity of the eight brands.

These ideas are seen throughout the nine-storey ‘layer-cake’ building, and provide a thread to bring the brands together, although each brand is still entered, whether client or creative, through its own ‘portal’ or front door to give a unique arrival experience. A series of brand specific neighbourhoods and collaborative spaces offer a variety of settings to both inspire and provide agility and flex for a post pandemic dynamic workforce.

Permeating through the layer-cake are a series of unique destination spaces encouraging movement and collaboration. These are crowned by an inter-brand co-working and an immersive client experience floors, each with external terraces, high levels of daylight and stunning views of London.

LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification was determined as the benchmark for the project. A significant starting point was the decision to refurbish the 100+ year old building instead of demolishing and rebuilding. This resolution heralded the centrality of minimising environmental impact throughout the entire process.

Hunters was appointed to supply the full FF&E solution, encompassing over 2,750 items from desking and task seating to auditorium, bespoke, specialist and outdoor furniture. Reuse of existing furniture was also integral to the overall sustainability imperatives – with the furniture provider operating to its own Net Zero Pledge.

“Working with MCM, we set minimum criteria and also investigated smaller, more local suppliers to ensure we had a 360o view of the marketplace,” explains Lewis Harman, Director and Project Lead at Hunters. “There would be no compromise on aesthetics, functionality and wellbeing criteria whilst delivering ‘best in class’ for environmental responsibility.”

Research included alternative materials, such as cork, as well as recycled options, durability, care and maintenance and end-of-use. Circularity including ‘design for disassembly’ was part of the evaluation to recognise future reuse and recycling implications. ‘Source local’ was also a key driver with many British and hyper-local companies featuring in the schedule- including the bespoke, flexible tiered seating, manufactured in London using locally sourced plywood with cork seat pads.

Mediabrands also wanted to maximise reuse potential of existing furniture. “The inventory enabled us to reuse many items including lockers and table bases,” continues Harman. “We also proposed some imaginative upcycling projects such as existing, solid oak refectory tables repurposed to coffee tables. An old gym horse and scaffolding formed the bases for new, feature pieces.”

“It was a pleasure to work with IPG Mediabrands to create there new London HQ,” adds MCM designer Terri Scott. “A progressive, unique and flexible home that responds to the ever changing needs of their employees and clients”

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