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Thirdway design ‘day-to-night’ workplace for GKN Automotive

Designed at a time when the world of work experienced a global shakeup, collaboration and flexibility became the foundation of this forward-thinking workspace.


2 min read

Thirdway GKN Automotive workplace breakout space

The Thirdway design team needed to create opportunities throughout the space where users could seamlessly come together to cowork, problem solve or discuss ideas. This spearheaded a floor plan that consisted of key areas such as the multi-functional breakout space, designated working areas suited to different tasks, the large, executive boardroom and corridors with meeting booths tucked into walls, each one named after a Formula-E race location.

Design inspiration was initially drawn from the geometry and beauty in the raw engineering components in GKN Automotives own product lines, tied in with industrial and contemporary interiors frequently seen in hotels and restaurants. With breakout spaces typically being the central hub of the modern workplace, this area especially needed to feel inspiring and show off GKN’s culture. Featuring a mixed use of space such as the booth seating and oversized lounge chairs – this area has the potential to function from day-to-night when required. Industrial elements typically spotted when sipping a Punk IPA in one of BrewDog’s bars was referenced for how the kitchen space could feel.

Dramatic, exposed black ceilings and track lighting illuminates the corridors, providing wayfinding and interlinking areas. The large, floor-to-ceiling windows on the two external sides of the demise maximise natural light to both the brighter, covered ceiling and the dramatic, dark exposed parts.

According to the Thirdway team, GKN Automotive were collaborative and forward-thinking from the start. It was this mindset that sparked a great working relationship and allowed both teams to explore the beauty of engineering by looking at their pieces as more than just parts, but “things to be amazed by.” A mural in the breakout space takes centre stage, “unearthing the beauty in the concept of engineering,” having manipulated both shapes and outlines from technical drawings of GKN’s own product lines to create blown up, abstract art.

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