Cool, Calm & Collected were our three inspirational drivers, which best represented our client, Ashfords. This guided the overall philosophy and feel of their eventual space. Through early collaboration with Ashfords to explore who they are as an organisation, we created an outcome that truly reflects their innovative nature of business.
Whilst successful as an organisation, in the old office, teams were spread out, dis-jointed and disconnected from one another. The space was difficult to navigate and provided little of the creature comforts that keep talent happy and inspired. In the new workplace, we ensured that all staff were positioned to gain maximum light during their work times and could easily collaborate with their teams. We decided to keep all the enclosed offices off the perimeter to allow the natural light to flow in through all open plan areas. A pivotal design element was the creation of a multi-functional breakout & meeting zone. The breakout links to meeting spaces via operable walls which also connect to a large outdoor entertaining space. All spaces can combine to make one large indoor/outdoor function zone or be separated for individual & multiple space combinations. This combination of functions ensures endless opportunities for transformation. The Reception area centred around emulating the Cool, Calm & Collected design aesthetic. To achieve this we incorporated natural timber panelling, neutral tones and a fish tank with a calming influence, all brought together in an organised, structured manner. Signage is subtle and greenery abundant.
Our client, Ashfords, truly cares about their staff and wanted to ensure we involved them at every step of the design process. We began the process of designing a tailored and professional space for our client around 4 years ago. At CIA Designs we believe strongly that a great design must be first informed by an inciteful workplace strategy. Through approaching design in this manner the outcome is one which is authentic and as individual at the organisation themselves. Through our explorative strategy process with key personnel at the organisation we get to build a profile of what makes their business successful and sets them apart from the rest. We also uncover their individual workplace culture and what makes their staff want to be part of their organisation. Through this understanding we can then embark on designing a space that will best represent this to their client and ensure they attract and retain their current and future talent. The outcome created is one that does just that. The space represents who they are whilst at the same time embracing and rewarding their staff through an environment that reflects their culture.
The main design challenge of this project was the long timeline and obviously going through the design process pre-covid and then having to rethink everything during covid to make sure that we had a safe environment for staff to come back to and also to design an environment that staff would want to come to back to work in after having worked from home for such a long period. Ashford’s were keen to keep a flexible work life balance for their staff and offered the option to both work from home as well as welcoming them back into the brand new and improved office.
Relative to the sustainable aspect of the eventual design outcome was the re-use of some of existing furniture the client currently had, including meeting chairs, lounges, and mobile caddies. This approach resulted in an outcome which was not only sustainable yet also cost effective. Furthermore, relative to sustainability, we focused on enhancing and exposing the existing finishes such as the polished concrete flooring to the reception and breakout area and the exposed ceiling in the breakout area.