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Trifle focus on four ‘design pillars’ for MVF’s new home

Moving from a cluster of buildings to one roof, Trifle ensured the creative process was underpinned by four ‘design pillars’ – the spaces, colours, textures and feelings which make Wenlock Works the home of MVF.

06/07/2021 4 min read

When MVF made the decision to move from a cluster of buildings in Kentish Town to Wenlock Works in Shoreditch, Trifle* were appointed as lead designer. With a history in devising human centric spaces, Trifle was immediately motivated to creative a nurturing and inspiring environment which enabled everyone who works there to thrive.

MVF Global, (one of Sunday Times’ Best Company 2020) have big plans. They are all about growth. This is not just about being commercially ambitious, they want their people to grow: ‘help others succeed’ is one of the businesses core values. They understand that people need emotional, mental, and physical support from the organisation they work for and that the buildings they work in are intrinsically linked to this, so, they hired Susan Stanley as ‘Head of Space’ and Trifle to ensure that this would be realised in their new buildings.

The Workplace Strategy was led by Kursty Groves of Shape. Both Shape and Trifle* had worked with MVF previously on their existing buildings – so had solid insight into this thriving business and their ways of working.

Various sets of people from across the business were interviewed, alongside surveys and workshops – being a data driven organisation themselves, MVF global appreciated the numbers, analysis and scenarios Shape and Trifle were able to provide, empowering the decision-making process.

‘When discussing the brief for their new workspace and a client states that they want ‘people to feel better after coming to and spending time in our workspace than they do when they arrive’ you know they mean business when it comes to wellbeing,’ says Emma Morley, Trifle’s founder.

‘This is an organisation that lives and breathes culture, people are the beating heart of the business and wellbeing is at its core. They are champions of diversity and inclusivity – with 30+ in house languages spoken! So, when they approached us with their intention to move from a cluster of 4 buildings to one big roof, we were immediately motivated to design them a nurturing and inspiring environment that enabled everyone who works there to thrive and deliver on the business’ mission to shape a high-performance work environment – encouraging collaboration, innovation and learning.’

Trifle ensured the creative process was underpinned by four ‘design pillars’ – the spaces, colours, textures and ‘feelings’ which make Wenlock Works the home of MVF: an inclusive layout that offers choice and is a catalyst for collaboration, function over fashion, wellbeing and colour that is bold – but not loud.

An abundance of meeting and collaborative spaces to suit working needs, moods and styles were all priority requirements that determined the spatial zoning. Trifle wanted to ensure that floors were democratically laid out, with balanced meeting rooms, shared access to natural light and one buzzing and multipurpose central zone/Town Hall. A key decision surrounding layout was knocking through and adjoining 2 floors to enable the perception of one big ‘Home’. Multiple types of shared spaces force movement between floors and engineer collision points and connectivity across the business.

Depth of research enabled Trifle to be in tune with the work-rhythms of the organisation. Trifle created a large room with a movable wall so that by day there was space for both MVF academy training and an out of hours Pilates and yoga studio. A discussion with the Director of Wellbeing and Health Hannah Meredith saw an idea for the ‘garden path’ – encouraging people to take more breaks and have walking meetings. The concept was designed into the ceiling with a hanging garden of plants and foliage, forming an overhead pathway which goes beyond just a biophilic element and acts as wayfinding throughout the space.

‘At Trifle we prefer to not indulge in design gimmicks, so the concept was designed into the ceiling,’ adds Emma. ‘Initially we hoped to spray a ‘pathway’ through the ceiling but as this was not permitted, we refused to be beaten and persisted with a concept of a hanging garden.’

MVF has bright, fun colours as part of their identity but, with wellbeing at its centre, Trifle* considered softer shades and undertones of quiet alongside these bolder, accents tones. ‘When developing a colour scheme, we look first at the colours associated with a business – this might be the brand palette, but it also could be the existing space and building, signage and any other external communication,’ explains Emma.

‘This is always a good starting point, but rarely do we take literal brand colours into a space anymore. Brand colours are just that – and don’t always translate well to interiors. MVF global has very bright fun colours as part of their identity, but we knew that with the overarching vision of creating an inclusive space with wellbeing at its centre that we would need to consider softer shades and undertones of quiet alongside bolder accents tones.’

Designing for Post Pandemic work-life

Trifle delivered the concept design for MVF in February 2019, began detailed design in March and then – the world imploded. Fortunately for MVF, Shape was on hand to stress test the concept design against social distancing requirements and to investigate what ‘Day 1/2/3; could look like for re-entry back into the office.

Trifle’s original thinking, scheme and design had been progressively thought out in accordance with delivering a high performing, world class space – which meant that few changes had to be made to the plans and that the space was on track to accommodate all manner of possible requirements, pandemic or otherwise.

Now, MVF has a new HQ befitting of their ambitions and values. It is a home they can be proud of, a space in which they can thrive and grow – as well as being one of Trifle’s most ambitious project to date.

Photography: Ed Reeve

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