Counteracting the call centre look
Ensuring the office didn’t feel like a call centre was high on the list of design properties, so the MPL team took a two-pronged attack. Firstly, the space was divided into distinct areas using half-height partitions, new glass internal walls, open shelving units and strategically placed items of office furniture.
The second strategy was to deploy a more domestic interior design approach that would stop the space feeling too commercial. Influences from residential property add warmth, with botanic-print textiles, wood-slat feature walls, an abundance of faux plants, pendant lights, velvet upholstery and Crittall-style partitions – all underpinned by shades of turquoise, teal and duck egg blue.
Checking in with staff
A clear directive from the client was to create a central breakout area/kitchen that felt like a luxurious hotel bar and lobby. Not only would this add the ‘wow’ factor and provide a glamorous place to informally meet guests, it was designed so staff would enjoy coming to work and therefore increase productivity. With an on-display, open kitchen, care was taken to integrate the appliances, with a statement bar area, designer bar stools, pendant lights and a dramatic plant canopy suspended above. A smaller breakout area has been included to the rear of the office, now home to a pool table, a TV, bean bags and a football table.
As a broadband civils and fibre specialist, MPL wanted to reflect the nature of Lane’s infrastructure work in the office scheme. This is particularly evident in the dramatic reception area, where a bespoke lighting installation and a sculptural Corian®-faced desk reflects the angles and geometric shapes seen in its infrastructure work. This is echoed in the vinyl manifestations on some of the glass partitions, which capture the fluid lines of fibre optic cables – a design feature completed by a custom-made wall mural that depicts the history of communication.
Take a seat
Lanes Infrastructure is a businesses with a particular focus on cross-department collaboration with a need to accommodate different working styles. Therefore, MPL has included no fewer than six styles of seating arrangements, from the genius-style bars (a concept carried across from its Slough office) and four-person acoustic pods with TVs, plug sockets and charging points, to banquette-style sofas with laptop tables and conventional office desks.
Of particular note are the meeting tables positioned in front of the three, 3-screen media walls – designed especially to facilitate co-working meetings, during which large plans, job logs and graphs are displayed. MPL also included a 22-seat boardroom adjacent to a 10-seat meeting room, with a folding wall system between them that can be retracted to create one large training/conference space. Smaller meeting rooms, a private office and several desks with ‘meeting ends’ allow staff to work in different locations, increase the opportunities to collaborate and give the ability to expand the workforce.
Lock up and leave
The request to encourage a ‘clean desk policy’ has been facilitated by the omission of under-desk storage and the provision of communal lockers instead, with the combination locks allowing employees, freelancers and hot deskers to safely store their belongings. Tidy desks are also achieved with data/power/charging points built into the floor and wires kept neat by a cable management system.