Looking down, adjacent to Westfield Square, you can see the iconic Grade II listed Dimco building – a striking Victorian structure completed in 1899, originally built as an electricity generating station for the London Underground. Having once famously starred as the Acme Factory in the 1988 film Who Framed Roger Rabbit?, and more recently served as part of TfL’s White City bus station (as a bus garage), the heritage building is being brought into public use for the first time in its history as a 3,000 capacity event space. Exhibition London – named after its proximity to the site of the Franco British Exhibition of 1908 – is set to open at the end of this year.
The proximity of these entertainment and event spaces and venues is a key factor in attracting and retaining top talent. Equally appealing is the connectivity and ease of access – Westfield London is one of the most connected locations in London, with four underground stations serving three tube lines, one overground station and two bus stations.
The new workplace was designed by architectural practice Suttonca. The open, contemporary two-level space is more like a domestic environment than a corporate office. The aim was to enhance the working culture as well as increase employees’ sense of wellbeing and satisfaction.
Crucially, the space was conceived following an extensive consultation process involving all members of staff. This research fed directly into the design, enabling the design team to craft a workplace that met employees’ real needs and modern working trends while fostering the values of communication and collaboration.
Una O’Reilly comments: “Our new head offices are designed by our people, for our people, bringing them together in a dynamic and collaborative working environment. It was also important for our offices to be located within our business to enhance our understanding and collaboration with our retailers and occupiers.”
Core to the design is the introduction of multifunctional spaces, catering for different work models such as hot-desking and team working. Lush greenery creates a connection with nature and a sense of ‘bringing the outside in’, assisted by large floor-to-ceiling windows that allow for a flow of natural light.
A central, tiered auditorium joins the two floors along with libraries, colourful pod-style meeting places and a large café and kitchen area with communal bench seating. A carefully considered palette of high-quality materials has been used to create a sense of warmth, solidity and durability, coupled with playful elements including hidden flashes of colour and secluded spaces for focus and quiet working.
Keith Whitmore, Head of Development, Design and Construction UK/Italy, concludes: “This project is the result of the consideration of the needs of different office users and a true abandonment of the ‘one size fits all’ corporate stereotype. Contemporary office environments are rapidly transforming to meet the requirements of a diverse population, and Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield’s new UK headquarters embodies that change.”