Grant Thornton already occupied an office in Birmingham but due to a lease event, they took the decision to relocate their office to Birmingham’s landmark 103 Colmore Row, downsizing in the process. The move represented an opportunity for Grant Thornton to adopt a more flexible working model and this need for greater agility and flexibility in the space shaped the design of their new office space.
The vision for the new office was to increase the quality and complexity of the office design to push boundaries and signify a departure from the previous office. The new ‘destination office’ needed to provide the business with more flexibility as part of a shift to adopting hybrid working, and be an enjoyable place to work. While the office was going to change, it still had to feel like a Grant Thornton office, while also positively impacting their people.
Connecting the entire office and lift lobby is a 13m long transition tunnel illuminated by lightboxes that proudly displays Grant Thornton’s branding and adds to an impactful sense of arrival. Grant Thornton also wanted to introduce influences of the local culture into the design to connect their workplace to surrounding Birmingham, and our designer drew a map of Birmingham by hand which has been printed on the wall in the teapoint.
Grant Thornton wanted the office to help with talent attraction and retention and become a place that people would want to return to. Even under their new hybrid working model, they wanted to get people together in person and give them a comfortable and collaborative environment that bridged the gap between work and home.
The office has been designed to encourage efficiency which has been achieved through the wide variety of choice in work settings available. The mix of task-based workstations, informal spaces and hideaway private areas have been added to the office to promote movement and to offer workers everything they need, regardless of the task they are working on.
The new teapoint is large to ensure people have space to break away from their desks and socialise, promoting unity amongst colleagues. The teapoint has been named ’the heart of the space’ and acts as the community focal point throughout the day, not just at lunch time. The bespoke teapoint features a split-level island and is designed to maximise recycling.
With an increased number of collaborative areas, it was important for people to have a space to retreat to and do concentrated work. To achieve this, we added secondary spaces across the office that deliberately feel more intimate, allowing people to get away and focus when they need to. The development of the focus tunnel allows greater privacy and provides another dedicated quiet space away from the office floor. This was specifically designed as a single person booth with LED lights and folding ceiling details.
Wellbeing was also a feature that needed to be supported in the office and by adding in a variety of different initiatives across the work floor, such as a wellness room and aromatherapy pod. The new office is a bright, positive working environment complemented by free-standing plants and green walls to bring biophilic elements into the space. Extensive research went into the selection of the acoustics to provide the correct level of sound absorption as well as selecting panels that look like artwork to maintain the design aesthetic.
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