July 21, 2016

Bee Different

By Matthew Lowe

The Manchester office has recently undergone a refurbishment, taking it from a tired and uninspiring space to a bright energetic office which is a hive of activity.

The purpose of the refurb was twofold. Heading into 2015, our office began to experience a steady expansion which saw us using all of our space to the absolute maximum. We also wanted an office which would represent Cundall both in terms of our values but also to showcase what we can do!

Lee Leston-Jones joined the business last year and took the lead on the project. A small team was formed from a group of staff who helped to progress a pack of ‘design intent’ drawings. The most peculiar thing about this project was simultaneously being the designers and the client.

Our office’s design theme was formulated around the Manchester Bee (worker bee). For those who may be unaware, this is a symbol of Manchester, representing the working industry as one of the key northern cities during the industrial revolution. Seven bees were included in the crest of the city’s coast of arms which were granted to the Borough of Manchester in 1842 and can be seen replicated in various places within the city centre. The application of this theme in our office can be seen in the lighting and acoustic strategies, which pays homage in the form of hexagonal acoustic tiles and honeycomb luminaires.

In order to make the office as sustainable as possible (we don’t just design sustainable projects for our clients, this was an important part of our brief too), the office is naturally vented, with an exposed soffit and visibly coordinated services. Soon we will add more plants and greenery to offset carbon dioxide levels. In fact, we have just taken delivery of 22 bags of compost! This is in addition to our lighting specialists, Light4’s thriving herb garden.

The first phase of the project started in November 2015 and since February 2016 we have worked around the disruption of the construction constraints, through three phases. The trade-off has been a revived, spacious workplace, with modernised features and capacity for more people. This includes some hot-desking spots for colleagues who come to visit and temporarily work here.

We have also gained more meeting space and a large breakout area/client entertainment space. The latter is being used mostly for socialising at lunch time, which offers a respite from being at workstations and thereby adds another pleasant dynamic to the office. Feedback has been very positive, with comments like “an amazing change”, “a 100% better office”, “more comfortable” and “I can’t believe it is the same office”.

Overall, the office looks smart, feels like a much better use of space, and is a great place to work.

Official photos of the office will be coming soon, watch this space.

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Matthew Lowe, Workplace

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