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tp bennett has completed the largest single office fit-out for an occupier in Birmingham, delivering a new workplace experience for BT.
One of the biggest workplace improvement schemes ever undertaken in the UK, the project is the first of four strategic Hub locations for the global technology company, delivered as part of its ‘The Better Workplace Programme.’ The largest BT Hub outside of London, the space provides a future-fit workplace for up to 3,500 employees across 283,000 sq ft at Three Snowhill.
tp bennett’s design concept takes BT’s well-known brand and situates it in the local context, with subtle references to Birmingham’s railway industry, canal networks and jewellery quarter woven in through artwork and furniture selection. This design narrative gives the space a strong Birmingham identity while BT’s brand DNA runs throughout.
A neutral palette and use of sustainably sourced natural materials create a welcoming environment and softness in contrast to the architecture of the building, and delicate indigo lighting hints at the BT brand. At reception, a portal wrapped in perforated mesh is lit to emulate the soft glow at the edge of BT’s logo.
tp bennett has delivered a series of agile spaces and social hubs on every floor, including coworking on the ground floor, that are designed to bring colleagues together and encourage cross-collaboration across the business, while still accommodating focused individual work.
“By building a deeply collaborative relationship with BT we have been able to truly understand their needs as a business,’” comments Naomi Buckley, Director at tp bennett. “This ensured that the design we have delivered for them provides the innovative space that can transform the way their Birmingham teams work for the better. It was really important to ensure we curated a positive and comprehensive Workplace Experience.”
Throughout the BREEAM Excellent rated workspace, tp bennett has designed floor layouts to maximise natural light and views out across the city, as well as integrating plenty of planting. In the marketplace – a double height ‘grab-and-go’ catering area – tp bennett has incorporated a large green wall, and Midlands-based artist Tim Fowler has created two large artworks for the upper floors injecting colour and vibrancy into the atrium, in what he described as “creating a neon technicolour greenhouse garden.”
The colleague and visitor experience has also been carefully considered so that nothing is siloed. Destination zones throughout the building encourage staff to move around the building, and a staircase between levels connects a restaurant and adjoining terrace to a dedicated events space – which is central to BT’s ambition to bring its colleagues together.
Reflecting BT’s commitment to inclusion, a variety of welfare facilities including multifaith, parenting and consult rooms have also been incorporated, alongside wellness spaces. Able2, BT’s accessibility network, was invited to test the building and feedback on their experience to improve the design and ensure it is accessible to all.
tp bennett is designing a series of other workspaces for BT in the UK and internationally.
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