With just 20 weeks to vacate their existing facilities and be occupying a new facility, inclusive of the 12 weeks needed for construction, (TTI), a hedge fund specialising in institutional investment seized the opportunity to create a new connected workplace in the heart of the financial district. drawing on local history and exploiting views of some famous neighbouring buildings.
Codifying existing challenges
Although faced with a short timeframe, a detailed brief had not yet been developed by the client. And with only headcount information gathered, there was not enough detail to allow for space planning. We initiated a laser-sharp briefing exercise to collect all the necessary detail on special spaces, storage, equipment, adjacencies, IT and AV requirements, while simultaneously initiating workshops with small focus groups of TTI's staff, in order to explore the goals and aspirations for the project, embellishing the quantitative brief with key additional qualitative information. During the workshops, a number of challenges were identified with TTI's existing workplace, these included storage issues, poor end of trip facilities, noise and distractions easily travelling through the space, and a lack of control over their surroundings - particularly temperature, together with a lack of spaces for collaboration as well as private spaces for phone calls or quiet conversations. These challenges, once identified and agreed, were collated and used to inform the design of their new space.
With the challenges of the existing space in mind, the workshops with the staff focus groups were used to derive the detail and inspiration for what would make a great new facility. These included creating a space that has clear circulation and is open plan. as this works well for TTI, the space all needed to have great daylight and views for the staff. TTI's new space also needed to have collaborative spaces to inspires connection and interaction between staff, with spaces for meetings and informal gatherings, while also making provision for privacy and focus - such as spaces to have a private conversation and intelligent acoustics in order to mitigate a floor that is too quiet or too loud. Another important component of TTI's new workplace was to have places to decompress - with great break out spaces and facilities, such multi-functional kitchen and eating facilities, as well as space that can be used as breakout space
Drawing Inspiration from the city
The concept design for this project pulls together four separate streams which were garnered from the workshops and the principles set out in the brief. These four streams entail ‘mood’, ‘context’, ‘inspirations’ and ‘connections’ which together create a harmonious design that is both site and client specific.
62-63 Threadneedle, TTI's building, has some amazing neighbours with the Old Lady of Threadneedle, the Bank of England to the west and the Royal Exchange to the south. Both of these imposing structures are visible from the windows of TT International’s new workplace and provide a unique opportunity to reference them within our project to give contextual relevance to the design. This rich tapestry of historic neighbouring buildings inspired mood and context of the interior spaces of TTI's workplace, where elements such as cast iron, sandstone, cool and warm colours and strong contrasts, gold and burnished finishes, ornate details and simple carved forms, could all be used to create drama and delight.
Allowing for connections and focus
Another important piece of the puzzle of for TT International’s new workplace
was to design a series of interlinked spaces that could enhance connections
between people, while also catering for privacy and focus when people need it. All of the different spaces were to have specific finish requirements, ranging from fabrics to enclosures according to their purpose of enhancing either privacy or interaction.
Time of the essence
The concept and detail design of TTI's new office were developed in the remaining six weeks before construction began. This allowed the project to go to tender using a 2-stage Main Contractor appointment which saved time and allowed us to deliver a project of exceptional quality matching the client’s goals and objectives in a relatively quick timeframe. We also managed to competitively bid the systems furniture package and undertake showroom tours in order to secure the right value for money with a quality furniture system matching TTI’s requirements.