Project in Detail
London, United Kingdom
Gensler’s brief was to design a powerfully evocative and highly productive working environment that would reduce costs, increase productivity, unite a geographically fragmented workforce and define a new cultural personality and work ethos. Further still, another acute challenge faced by Gensler was how to integrate three very different, dynamic and culturally strong-minded brands into working alongside one another.
The key objectives as defined by the brief where
• Integrate and unify 3 companies, 3 brand identities and 3 different cultures in 1 building
• Create a new, powerful 3 dimensional brand experience for Edelman’s European Headquarters
• Provide a flexible, cost effective environment capable of supporting change
Staff work in an open-plan ‘Velcro’ environment with dramatic change capabilities. Through in-depth consultations with suppliers Gensler provided a unique variable density desking system that caters for 260 staff but can accommodate a further 110 people overnight at no extra cost. This flexibility permits rapid alignment of resources, people, technology and systems giving Edelman a competitive advantage within the marketplace.
An aggressive filing audit, a dramatic reduction in ‘owned’ space and a strict policy of every space having at least two functions, permitted the design team to include almost the entire wish list of collaborative spaces on the floor. Staff, have much more choice in how and where to work and are encouraged to get away from their desks as much as possible.
Desk sharing, corridors that double as breakout areas, a reception that doubles as a coffee shop, directors’ offices doubling as meeting rooms, filing requirements reduced by 40% - the overarching philosophy throughout the entire design process was one of reducing cost, maximizing space, increasing efficiency and boosting productivity.
B2 highlight most important elements of the design including any innovations
Prior to Edelman’s relocation cross-brand synergies were not being exploited and staff were limited to working at assigned desks with no collaborative spaces and little or no opportunity for socialising or knowledge sharing.
To help break down cultural barriers and open up communication channels, the traditional reception area is substituted for a gallery, bistro bar, meeting area and a floor to ceiling reference library, which serves as the ‘creative-hub’ of the company has been incorporated into the scheme. Knowledge sharing and socialising are also encouraged with a free breakfast served to all staff every morning and, come 5 o’clock on Thursdays, the library is transformed into a fully stocked bar.
Edelman’s three conference rooms can be transformed into one large entertaining space, eliminating the need for outside venue hire. This dual functionality differentiates Edelman from the competition and the space is currently hosting an average two events a week, including clients’ own meetings and functions.
Teams and individuals preserve their own identity and creativity though branded meeting rooms and their own choice of desk screen fabric. To enhance exposure to natural light in meeting rooms and desk areas, directors’ offices are located in the heart of the office. The conference rooms and the reception area are purposely located at opposite ends of the building, providing clear circulation paths around the office perimeter offering staff and visitors an insight into the vibrancy and scale of the business.
The results of the design are evident. Edelman’s win rate on cross-practice pitches has increased by 30%. Staff churn is tracking 20% below the same time last year and staff sickness and absence levels are down by approximately 25%. Edelman’s own quality of life survey revealed a rise of just below 60% in approval ratings. The marked increase in clients using the space as a venue for their own business meetings and events is also a measure Edelman’s investment, having provided an additional service provision and a ’home from home’ environment means new business can walk through the door on a daily basis.
The solution billed as the ‘office of the future’ by the FT (5th November 2008) is a unique 21,000sq ft single floor plate located in Victoria. A powerful new unifying culture of ‘inside media’ envelops the space, drawing inspiration from the world of print and digital media, revolutionising the media environment to fully embrace the newly defined ‘conversation age.’