Network Rail asked Oktra to design and build a reception and creative meeting suite to supplement their new headquarters at Puddle Dock. Networx is their on-site facility that can be used by Network Rail to relieve pressure on the office’s meeting rooms and give employees an alternative environment to collaborate or rented to their partners for conferences and industry events.
Oktra’s design concept follows three main threads: Heritage, Topographics, Geometry. These integrate with the existing building fabric whilst embracing the industrial aesthetic. While design elements from their office are carried through the spaces in Networx, the aesthetic goes beyond their brand parameters and establishes a unique design identity that visitors will remember. The dedicated reception ensures Networx is a destination in its own right. While the facility is connected to Network Rail’s head office, Oktra developed custom branding and graphics to differentiate and celebrate this function.
Spread across three floors, a mix of layout styles are achieved using sliding, folding acoustic walls that enable spaces to be flexible and transform function. Stackable furniture allows users to further customise the space for training sessions, standing meetings, private talks, in-person conferences, and more. A smart room booking system ensures efficient usage of the meeting rooms which are equipped extensive AV systems for presentations and virtual collaboration.
Each floor has its own breakout space, flexible meeting suite and lounge area that are vibrant, inspiring, and diverse – spaces to encourage collaboration and creative thinking. Oktra created colourful envelopes that add elements of surprise for users as they journey through the spaces. Floating mesh panels inject colour into breakout spaces, and themed corridors are playfully adorned with ladybirds, butterflies, and prints of landscapes to reflect Network Rail’s connection to the natural world.
Network Rail can use the multi-functional auditorium to host over 100 people or configure the space into six meeting rooms. The inherently flexible space is supported by furniture storage rooms that facilitate the change into lecture-style, cabaret, or drinks event layouts, and even features a games room where employees and guests can unwind.
The achievement of a BREEAM Very Good certification demonstrates the sustainability and environmental performance of this fit out. To meet the criteria, Oktra considered light levels during the design process to shape a layout that would reduce the need artificial light sources and maximise the sweeping views over the Thames. Materials were chosen for the longevity and organic shapes and materials reflect the sustainability credentials of the design.
Networx is a unique meeting facility that is inspired by and designed for the travel industry. The creative work setting is a step away from Network Rail’s traditional office and will help employees to optimise their productivity and host collaborators in an environment they can be proud of.