Being the end user, 2 fundamental design principles were agreed at the projects inception namely; staff well-being and environmental impact. Staff well-being was achieved by prioritizing the open-able windows and views of the outside to the resident open plan spaces, rather than static spaces such as meeting rooms. There is also a noticeable abundance of carbon dioxide absorbing plants in the space and a variety of different work settings to allow staff to change their posture regularly. From an environmental impact point of view, Shaw Contract was an easy decision given the cradle to cradle recycle-ability (among other green accolades.) Shaw Contract carpet was therefore specified as the majority floor covering throughout the space. It is to be noted that Larry Shakinovsky of Pentafloor South Africa was hugely instrumental in the specifying of the appropriate product in this regard.
The end user, being an international organisation, are witness to how the office environment or ecosystem has evolved into something which is fundamentally different to the office we have come to ‘know’ and accept as the ‘norm.’ Standardized for efficiency and typically with a conservative approach to ensure “one size fits all,” the traditional office limits the potential for inspiration, expression and social connection with colleagues and clients alike. The client’s vision was for a space which would achieve the exact opposite; thoughtfully curated destinations which would blend in with the overall design, enhance performance and allow staff the freedom to choose where and how they would like to work. Formal and informal, in isolation (focus work) and perhaps the biggest driver of them all – collaboration with others. Given that the requirements were virtually larger than the real-estate available, the office needed to be adaptable and needed to shrink or grow depending on the demand for space. This was achieved by making static spaces work harder and smarter by doubling up on their function. Power and connectivity throughout allow staff to work virtually anywhere in the space. All this and with the added practicalities of how the client’s business operates, ensuring the influx of nomadic staff and clients would not disrupt their desk based staff but also whilst ensuring that there is no visual disconnect between the various spaces. Real-estate optimization is always of paramount importance, so on days where the office is empty, the “front of house” spaces, rather than becoming redundant, become a work-cafe for the staff and essentially an ‘extension’ of the office. The net result is a well-balanced space with client facilities at the front of the premises and the resident neighborhood (desk based staff) at the back of the premises. This would minimize any possibility of disruption caused by the influx of clients and visitors to the desk based staff in the office whilst mitigating clients and visitors from having to travel through the staff space to get to meeting rooms.