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Creative expression

The company behind Tommee Tippee wanted its new HQ building to support growth and agile working, wow its staff and celebrate the ‘rollercoaster ride’ of bringing up baby

Mayborn Group, the global company behind parenting super-brand Tommee Tippee, recently invested around £2 million in a new HQ office on Tyneside, near Newcastle, to support ambitious global growth plans. The brief for the new office was to design a space that would enhance the employee experience, bring parenting ‘to life’ and create an HQ that would build pride, attract talent and reflect the strength of the brand internationally. Explains Louise Rich, Global Head of HR: “The old site created a number of challenges, not least in terms of attracting and retaining talent.”

In April 2018, following 12 months of searching, Mayborn Group acquired a new office building on Balliol Business Park, North Tyneside, and Ben Johnson Interiors was assigned to design and fit out the new, 3,145 sq m workspace. This new site was twice the size of Mayborn’s existing premises in nearby Cramlington, Northumberland, and offered the business ample expansion space to accommodate a growing workforce and high calibre talent.

The existing workplace had been a converted warehouse, which had suited the business in the early days, but the rapid development of Mayborn Group and its products had since outgrown the building. Staff were working in a restricted space and there was no suitable area for groups of people to gather for briefings. Additionally, there was no room for hot-desking and new starters caused yet another space headache. Meeting rooms were rarely free as every available space was taken up with desks. Car parking and transport links were also becoming problematic.

Overall, the building was starting to look outdated, yet no amount of refurbishment could have transformed it into an impressive global headquarters where the business could further expand. Mayborn Group had plans to grow to over 200 people in the north east, and this new site was to be the core from which the company would manage its growing global footprint across Europe, North and South America, China and Asia, and support its 1,300-strong worldwide workforce.


The overall concept of the interior design was to support collaborative, agile working and encourage creativity and expression within Mayborn. Throughout the workplace, the brand values, ethos and colours were to be incorporated in an engaging way. The environment had to reflect real parenting and represent a non-uniform existence.

The whole building was to champion parenting, but how was that to be brought to life in an office environment? Head of Global Brand for Mayborn, Louise Mustard, along with Project Manager Karen Crosby and Global Operations Director Neal Austin, worked closely with Ben Johnson Interiors Designer, Helen Wright, to come up with the overall ‘look’ for the new workspace.

Wright was initially concerned about the ‘non-uniform’ and ‘reflecting parenting’ aspects of the brief and took care and time to interpret these concepts into a workplace environment without its appearance appearing chaotic or confused. After a few “back to the drawing board” moments, as she puts it, an outline design was approved and agreed.

Once underway, Mayborn and Ben Johnson Interiors ensured everything was planned down to the last detail. All the different parties and suppliers were aware of their role and knew at what point they were to swing into action. The company wished to make the whole process positive and as seamless as possible for the Mayborn employees, and to make sure there was no negative impact on ongoing work. All staff were brought together for the announcement of the move. Ironically, because of lack of space in the company’s former premises, they all had to be gathered in a small, slightly chilly manufacturing facility at the back of the building, which made the news of the move even more welcome. Loud cheers and whoops greeted the news.

About Sarah OBeirne

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