|CLIENT:||Kao Data, Slough|
|TOTAL AREA:||3500 sqft|
|SECTOR:||Commercial Interior Design Projects|
MPL was approached by Kao Data with the objective of creating an office design blueprint it could apply across its growing portfolio of data centres. The starting point was the Kao Data logo, which includes a set of distinctive green ‘fins’. On site, there was a requirement to retain the high-security fire doors, which were a bright cobalt blue, which would go on to influence the aesthetic. The new design was to be installed at Kao Data’s Slough centre, setting the benchmark for future refurbishments.
MPL drew on its experience of installing within highly-controlled environments when working with Kao Data. Our collaboration was underpinned by stringent safety protocols due to the nature of the commercial premises and our site visits were planned precisely.
The vast Slough data centre is an amazing building but its communal areas and office spaces still bore the identity of the previous occupant, and the overall feel was very austere. MPL’s design team set about branding the two-storey office zone, the hallways and the corridors, setting a furniture and accessories specification list, and introducing more natural light.
With ambitious expansion plans and sites in Harlow and Manchester on the commercial refurbishment list, Kao Data was keen to ensure the chosen elements had long-lasting appeal. The client accompanied MPL on a sourcing trip to London, seeing items of furniture and accessories in person in order to draw up a definitive spec list.
During our site survey, MPL found the boardroom lacked natural light so it was agreed that the majority of the solid wall between the boardroom and the reception be replaced with glass. The result is a meeting space that feels less oppressive, although we have introduced flexible levels of privacy by installing blinds. Extra light was also introduced in the shape of two, internally-illuminated flex face images. All new furniture, a recessed TV screen and a storage unit with an integral drinks fridge complete the boardroom.
The new glass wall has been accentuated from the other side of the boardroom in the most spectacular way. The corresponding reception wall has been painted a rich shade of midnight blue and green timber slats form an arch around the glass – with space left for the Kao Data logo. The installation is a wonderful impact piece and is the first thing people see when they enter the all-new reception. Visitors now enjoy a refreshed place to sit, with armchairs, coffee tables, rugs and a concrete-effect luxury vinyl floor. MPL also specified new green shades for the statement pendant light that is suspended in the double-height void.
Many of the reception's design elements reappear in a different combination in the first floor meeting room. Vertically mounted timber slats have been used again but they have been painted a matching shade of midnight blue. In keeping with the logo-inspired design, living plants in green planters have been added, along with two feature pendant lights and another storage unit with an integral drinks fridge.
The hallways provided a great blank canvas for MPL to work with. The cobalt blue high-security fire doors were to stay but rather than repaint them, the bright hue was incorporated into the design blueprint as it worked very well with the lime green of Kao’s logo. The ground floor hallway has been lifted with a full height vinyl print featuring shades of blue and green, with a grey-green two-tone carpet replacing the hard floor and improving acoustics. A mini breakout area was also added to a small nook, with chairs upholstered in green fabric and a plant collection.
The first floor hallway was also subject to a much needed makeover. Continuity keeps the space on brand, with another midnight blue timber slat wall, Kao Data logo, full height vinyl print, the same grey-green carpet and plants, this time with the addition of a grey sofa with colour coordinating scatter cushions. Full height vinyl prints were also added to the more functional corridors, serving to banish the clinical feel, with the inherited bright yellow rail repainted a more sophisticated grey.
MPL gave the communal kitchen/break out area a makeover, adding a combination of bench tables, stools, dining tables and chairs, with upholstery in brand-complementary colours. A full height vinyl print also gives the space personality and grounds the room within the wider data centre.
MPL is now consulting with Kao Data to replicate the Slough interior design blueprint in a number of other UK locations.
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