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MoreySmith, in conjunction with project manager, CBRE, and fit-out contractor, BW: Workplace Experts, has completed work at the former sorting room of the Royal Mail – now the new London headquarters for McKinsey & Company.
McKinsey & Company
BW: Workplace Experts
Clifford Chapman Staircases
McKinsey & Company is a global management consulting firm with 30,000 employees. When the firm decided that the time was right to leave its Jermyn Street home of the last 25 years and relocate, it appointed MoreySmith, a renowned workplace strategist, interior design and architecture studio, to design an exceptional workplace for its people and clients. The new office is located in Holborn, in the heart of London’s Knowledge Quarter, surrounded by a cluster of over 100 academic, cultural, research, scientific and media organisations, and easily accessible via both Tottenham Court Road and Holborn tube stations.
The vision here was to create a new destination with a focus on McKinsey & Company’s people, creating a place for employees to reconnect with their like-minded knowledge community. The building has employee wellbeing and sustainability at the forefront of its design.
The MoreySmith team initially spent six weeks immersing itself in the firm’s culture and daily activities to develop a deep understanding of the firm. The result is a pioneering new flagship destination, with a light and contemporary environment that feels fresh and dynamic, and enhances wellbeing, happiness and productivity.
Areas within the workspace range from quiet and studious to open and energetic, and have been designed to encourage choice, allowing employees to select their optimum working environment. Plug and play technology allows absolute flexibility across the various spaces, encouraging collaboration between teams and across sectors.
MoreySmith’s design has increased natural light throughout the workspace by reducing the number of enclosed spaces on the building’s façade, thereby maintaining natural light filtration deeper into the floorplates. This, we’re told, was a key and early request from the initial immersion and focus process.
A new central interlinking staircase, made from beech plywood, connects the main workplace floors and helps to maximise natural light throughout, whilst acting as an artery between the floors, enhancing visual and social connection.
At the base of the staircase, biophilic design principles have been applied through the creation of a glazed greenhouse, filled with plants and trees, to bring the outside in. This approach extends across all floors, with plants included throughout the new spaces. Direct views and access to outdoor space further support these biophilic principles, with each floor featuring an outdoor terrace, plus an extended wraparound terrace on the 7th floor. The Post Building also has its own rooftop terrace, complete with 360-degree views, which creates a space away from the workplace for McKinsey employees to enjoy.
The vision here was to create a new destination with a focus on McKinsey & Company’s people, creating a place for employees to reconnect with their like-minded knowledge community
MoreySmith also used technology to respond to McKinsey’s health and wellbeing brief and incorporated circadian lighting along with internal green spaces to further support colleagues’ wellbeing.
Healthy food and drink options are offered on each floor and the space includes a staff restaurant and coffee and juice bar. Further spaces dedicated to health and wellbeing include a gym, mother’s room, calm (or relaxation) rooms – all of which are intrinsic to MoreySmith’s designs.
The experience for McKinsey’s clients, which includes organisations across the private, public and third sectors, has been carefully considered to foster greater collaboration and provide a premium experience, while maintaining discretion and confidentiality, with a range of architectural solutions providing privacy. The 10th floor arrival experience is enhanced by 360 degree views of London, and ‘Astral Projection’ – a spectacular neon light installation by Welsh conceptual artist, Cerith Wyn Evans, which is suspended in mid-air. This space has clearly been designed to take client entertaining and hospitality to the next level.
The top two floors of the building enable McKinsey to serve its clients with more agility, seeing a doubling of client space, with coworking space alongside the premium client suite, encouraging coworking and co-creation via hackathons, design workshops and sprints.
The 10th floor features two concrete and timber staircases that flank the concierge area, and a further two mesh spiral staircases that connect to the 11th floor mezzanine and provide direct connections to the rooftop terrace.
‘McKinsey is defined by its commitment to its clients and ensuring that sustained success is achievable,’ Linda Morey-Burrows, Founder and Principal Director at MoreySmith, says. ‘Their values of innovation and collaboration in the workplace inspired us to create a varied environment in which everyone can thrive.’
‘We are delighted to be in our new home,’ Dame Vivian Hunt, UK & Ireland Managing Partner at McKinsey & Company, enthuses. ‘This office provides us with the perfect environment to foster creativity and collaboration. Most importantly, our new office will help us continue to attract and retain the best talent and bring cutting-edge insights to our clients.’
The new space accommodates a multitude of impressive features, including an open plan reception with meet and greet area, open plan workspace and cellular offices, breakout areas, conference rooms and quiet phone booths. The quality of finishes and fittings throughout is equally impressive.
Indeed, sustainable materials are used effectively to achieve a unique aesthetic, whilst still aiming to reach LEED Gold standard – which, we understand, the project is very much on target to achieve. The testing of various details and finishes in a real-life working environment at McKinsey’s previous office allowed the team to refine the design to create the optimal collaborative and flexible solution for the business.
There were, we’re told, a number of stakeholders involved in the project and therefore clear and open communication was essential to enable rapid decision-making. With this in mind, BW invested in a dedicated studio space near MoreySmith’s office, where the team built full-scale mock-ups, prototypes and an extensive library of sample materials. This assisted quick and early sign-off, in addition to helping resolve complex design issues, including full-scale staircase sections and specialist rafts.
Photography credit: Philip Durrant
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