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

Six recent projects designed for post-pandemic working

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Modus Workspace create ‘a feeling of being home’ at Checkout’s new office

Characterised by subtle contrast and a commitment to form and function, Checkout.com’s new workplace is built on the foundation of community, a spirit of collaboration, and a focus on supporting one another.

15/09/2021 3 min read

The ultra-modern, crittall-glazed building proved to be an inspiration for Modus Workspace, as the design team set out to create a space that incorporated the building’s modern-industrial aesthetic with the CEO’s vision of a sleek, minimalistic design and monochromatic colour palette. This was combined with Checkout.com’s (Checkout) brand values: youth, integrity, energy, environmental concern, innovation and enterprise.

Checkout’s new space is fundamentally an evocation of the company’s deep-rooted dedication to a sense of community spirit; to generating a feeling of being home, to collaborating, creating good times, and supporting one another. The office is designed around these facets of Checkout’s identity and is a significant part of its offering to potential candidates.

The community-driven aspects of the space are replete on each of the three floors: breakout areas, teapoints, scrum areas, comfy lounges and beanbags within the third floor’s striking amphitheatre. All contribute to an atmosphere of homeliness and collaboration. The office also includes a trendy coffee bar that can be transformed into a DJ booth for events held within the office, and libraries on the third and fourth floors provide quiet, comfortable spaces for reading and concentration.

The aesthetic of concrete, brick and exposed services are contrasted with beautiful design elements and details – with a particular focus on biophilia, timbers, metal, and glass. It is a starkly honest design scheme, reflective of the building’s exposed aesthetic: nothing is glitzy or overly ornate here. This theme is seen in many of the space’s design features, such as the pared-back raw steel interior staircase, linking the three floors of the new office.

Checkout is proud of their non-hierarchical structure, and this was reinforced with open plan desking and only a small number of offices, this allowed us to design in a way that focused on placing desking near windows for daylight and views out.  The topology of this open-plan offices creates a three-dimensional feature of varying heights, punctuated by pops of colour and biophilic accents; the industrial style of the breakout spaces; the feature wall of black-and- white photos of the staff with colourful neon lighting and signs. Colour is used sparingly to potent effect – creating a space of maturity, restraint and absolute commitment to the arresting visual power of sleek, simple forms.

In every detail the satisfaction of the employee was considered. Due to the variety of roles performed by the Checkout team the design included a wide range of work settings for individual function and teamwork – the ultimate activity-based design (ABD). One example is the large number of computer software engineers employed in the business who require areas for their frequent scrums and these were incorporated in both rooms and open plan locations throughout the offices.

‘It is a space that truly puts the employee first, making sure all needs are met, and it provides ample reason why existing employees remain with the business, and why prospective employees look to join,’ says the team.

The introduction of several innovations also directly contributes to Checkout’s focus on employee wellbeing: CO2 is monitored in meeting rooms and additional fresh air is drawn in when necessary, and reverberation within rooms is minimised through strategic placement of acoustic materials.

Fundamentally, Checkout’s new office has instilled a sense of pride: pride in the collaborative and community-driven identity of their company that has been so powerfully manifested in their new space. Despite being unable to officially move in due to the pandemic, Checkout’s new office will enable a new level of productivity through the addition of bespoke designed spaces, such as the libraries, reverberation-proofed meeting rooms and the amphitheatre.

More importantly, perhaps, the design has achieved Checkout’s core philosophy: it has become a place to call home for its employees. The CEO wanted to create a space where his team could form connections, bond together and socialise. The feature coffee bar, various teapoints and collaboration zones have contributed to an unparalleled working environment, where friendship and community spirit is a principal value.

Photography: Tom Fallon

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

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