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MoreySmith uses social space to link old and new at CBRE’s London office

A refurbishment and extension to CBRE’s UK Headquarters increases workspace and enhances the employee experience with amenities focused on wellbeing.

20/01/2022 2 min read

Words: Lauren Teague
Photography: Hufton + Crow and Philip Durant

When approaching the refresh of its UK headquarters, CBRE wanted a workspace that was “as much about the total employee experience as the space itself”. This was the design rationale for the redevelopment and extension of Henrietta House; the office building that the company had occupied since 2011.

From the outset, interior design and architecture firm MoreySmith focused on creating a “world class inspirational space” that Executive Director Adam Heatherington says “embraces agile working and employee wellness, giving [CBRE] a significant advantage in the war for the best talent and retention” to support the growing business.

CBRE negotiated with landlord Lazari Investments to redevelop and extend the 1990s building to better serve its 2,000 employees. A 40,500-sq-ft new-build extension to the rear of the building increased the internal footprint by 40% to provide not only additional workspace but amenities and social spaces to benefit employees, clients and partners alike.

The atmosphere, noted by MoreySmith as incorporating “elements of a luxurious private members club”, is created through a combination of classic material choices and modern furnishings. A variety of different workspace options across five floors include meeting, breakout, collaboration areas and quiet zones, allowing employees to choose how they wish to work in line with hybrid and agile working practices. Facilities to increase employee collaboration are provided in the form of talent training spaces, an innovation studio, tech bar, presentation facilities and pitching suite.

MoreySmith focused on human-centred design and employee wellbeing, in line with CBRE’s own ESG strategy. Throughout the building, biophilic design brings plants and greenery to each floor to construct visual access to nature, with landscaped open-air terraces on the first and seventh floors offering views across London. New amenities include two professionally-run on-site wellness studios, over 260 cycle spaces, employee café and facilities for returning parents. A library space, with designated technology-free zone, is available for quiet and focused working.

As well as improving the internal spaces for employees, clients and partners, MoreySmith has enhanced the building’s street presence with a two-storey retail-style front elevation that provides a transparency to the office building. Where old meets new – highlighted by glazed bricks that connect the inside and outside – two light-filled atria maximise daylight to the new interior that creates central space for encouraged collaboration and social interaction. This also hosts a client lounge at the ground-floor entrance, embellished with a ceramic sculpture suspended above the stairwell created by Fernando Casasempere from 2,000 pieces of hand-moulded porcelain – one for each of CBRE’s employees.

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