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Pukka Up: The new working home of Pukka Herbs

We might have had (for us at least) a relatively early start and lengthy journey, but we can be absolutely sure of one thing when we reach our destination – we’re going to enjoy a really good cup of tea.

01/05/2019 6 min read

Project Team

  • Client

    Pukka Herbs

  • Architect & Interior Designer

    Claremont

  • Furniture Provider

    Claremont

  • Flooring Suppliers

    Desso, Forbo Flooring

  • Surfaces Supplier

    Artworks

  • Furniture Suppliers

    Frovi, Pledge, Boss, Triumph, orangebox, Protocol

  • Storage Suppliers

    Triumph and Spacestor

  • Other Suppliers

    Autex

Workspace with biophilic elements and upcycled desks

We’ve travelled to Keynsham (situated almost equidistantly between Bath and Bristol) to look at the new working home of Pukka Herbs – the leading organic teas and food supplements producer.

The new home of the herbal wellbeing company is on the 3rd floor of The Chocolate Factory – part of an amazing regeneration of the original Cadbury’s campus.

Pukka Herbs is a global producer of organic teas and supplements with a passion for working with nature’s finest ethically sourced herbs and an inspiring and wellbeing orientated brand.

 

The company’s organic herbal teas, lattes and wellbeing supplements are now sold in over 40 countries in Europe, Asia, Africa, Australia and North, South and Central America. Last year, more than 500 million colourful cups of organic tea were drunk across the world! That’s a lot of brews!

The journey to create these delicious teas (and they are delicious, despite the fact that we can’t even pronounce the rejuvenating brew we’re Kindly been given) starts with the highest-quality organic herbs, rich in natural oils, carefully and ethically sourced from over 50 countries across the world.

When the Pukka team decided to relocate its UK-based headquarters to accommodate further growth, Claremont was called on to epitomise the brand’s affinity with nature in a dynamic, vibrant and flexible workspace.

Walking into the open, welcoming heart of the new space, we find Pukka Herbs’ Office Manager, Tammey Cross, and Pippa Davie, Claremont’s Associate Director, Design, waiting for us. While we take a seat and enjoy our tea, our hosts tell us about the background to the scheme – and, indeed, the history of the business.

‘Pukka is now 17 years old – we’re a Bristol-born business,’ Tammey tells us. ‘We have two founders – Sebastian and Tim – and Tim wanted to do something different and something better for the planet. He put an advert out there for someone to join him in creating a new, ethical business – and Sebastian was the only person who applied! So they started making tea together in a spare room at Sebastian’s house and then got a small warehouse building in Bristol. The business grew considerably and at one point had four sites in and around Bristol.

It was always the goal to have a single home – a sustainable office where all of us could grow as a business and continue the Pukka journey.’

‘It took a long time to find the right building,’ Pippa recalls. ‘We won the job pitching for a different building – again in Bristol. That fell through for various reasons. We looked at various alternative buildings – we looked at all sorts of buildings – and it took the best part of four years before actually moving into this building. So we’ve got to know Pukka pretty well over that time.

The brief was always the same. It was all about colour and it was all about the Pukka way

‘This building came up quite early in the search but they thought it was going to be too far down the line before it was ready because they were doing the entire site. So because it took so long and other buildings kept falling through, it came back up again.

‘This is a 17,200 sq ft single floorplate – and you don’t find too many of them in and around this area. The beauty of being here is that there are great connections – and especially cycling and sustainable travel options. The move has lengthened some people’s journey, but it has also shortened other journeys. We weren’t in central Bristol anyway, so this is a bit further out but has opened up new prospective attraction from Bath..’

The relocation to Keynsham is clearly as much an environmental shift for Pukka’s people as it is a physical move. ‘One of the original sites was a former warehouse, with small rooms and little natural light,’ Pippa reveals.

‘Then one of the temporary buildings that Pukka moved into over the four years was being knocked down for residential – so the landlord didn’t want to do anything with it.’

‘The space didn’t reflect our values or our personality and we didn’t feel very proud to show people around,’ Tammey takes over. ‘When we had meetings we either went outside or we’d go to our clients. That has completely flipped since we’ve been here. This is so different – it really is fabulous. We now have people who want to borrow our space or host meetings or training events here!’

Claremont’s brief was to bring the Pukka brand to life and create open plan, flexible and inspirational work settings for its 130-strong team. With a clear focus on employee wellbeing and biophilic design, it was also necessary to include a combination of restorative, relaxing and playful spaces while embodying the brand’s ‘come alive’ positioning.

Sustainability is, of course, at the heart of much of what has been achieved here. It was important to Pukka to work, wherever possible, with local firms and Bristol-based Claremont ensured that local suppliers and contractors were also brought on board.

We ask Pippa what the greatest challenges were for the team – other than finding the right space in the first place. ‘Working with the Cat A was a challenge – because the building was being fitted out at the same time as we were doing our fit-out and Pukka were the first tenants here,’ Pippa tells us. ‘There was a real overlap, so we had to coordinate with the main contractor. It did mean that they could do certain amendments to the M&E to suit our layouts – and it did work out well in the end.’

‘For us, the biggest challenge was the timing – it was literally down to the wire because of the renovation that was due on the building that we were in,’ Tammey recalls. ‘In the end, it was perfect – we literally moved out on the same day as they brought their team in!’

‘From a design perspective, there weren’t too many challenges,’ Pippa continues. ‘We had worked with them for so long that we knew them and knew what they wanted for the space. The brief was always the same. It was all about colour and it was all about the Pukka way.

‘It’s all about the colours you find in nature, with biophilia at the heart of everything. The fabrics are either natural or recycled, the carpets have all got great sustainable programmes behind them and the furniture is all manufactured in the UK, while we have upcycled some of the existing furniture – such as the frames for the workstations.’

Meeting room with folding wall and flexible upcycled furniture

This is so different – it really is fabulous. We now have people who want to borrow our space or host meetings or training events here

The results speak for themselves. Bright and colourful throughout, Claremont has created a truly on-brand workspace for Pukka, making this new home the very embodiment of its nature-inspired values and employee-minded ethos.

The strong nature-themed and biophilic elements included planters, hanging plants, a living moss wall, artificial trees and nature-themed artwork to really tie the office with the building’s views of green fields and the River Avon.

The design of the open space sees guests and employees enter a large communal space, complete with smart soft seating, a central teapoint and a creative ‘Island of Tranquility’ wooden pod.

This area is flanked by banks of ‘think’ and ‘phone’ pods for quiet and lone working as well as six meeting rooms, one of which can be opened up via a folding wall to create a larger space.

In addition to the open plan workspaces, the office features a Heart of Pukka room – designed for meditation and group contemplation, a Retreat Room for mindfulness and calm and a project space for brainstorming, complete with write-on walls. At the opposite end of the floorplate, a large gathering space doubles up for employee yoga sessions and company meetings.

The Heart of Pukka room, which is completely technology-free, features a beautiful, large-scale Indian rug (we later find a second, equally ornate and beautiful rug in the other wing of the space) and a series of mindfulness quotes and sayings (called Wisdom Seeds by Pukka), which might be in a slightly different language than we’re used to in the corporate world, but are actually grounded in common sense and are the business’ values.

‘When you ask about the biggest challenges, getting the rugs up the stairs was maybe the hardest thing! It took about 10 of us,’ Tammey tells us.

This area links with a kitchen, which has a large central island and is suited for informal meetings, communal lunches and team relaxation.

Some bespoke and unusual Pukka details have been incorporated into the design detail too – including tree trunk columns for visual interest, the use of gold finishes on selected wall manifestations, colourful tea-box-printed tiles for kitchen splashbacks and unique door handles in the kitchen.

Pukka’s extensive and visually appealing product range – which includes no less than 42 different teas – takes pride of place in a customdesigned laboratory for testing and tasting.

Employees and guests can watch expert tea tastings through a large viewing window. 42 teas! If they’re all as good as the new Pukka space, this business will undoubtedly continue to flourish. What’s really great is that it is doing so in such a caring, responsible way.

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