Interaction Studio created the ultimate workplace for money.co.uk by transforming their unique and characterful office in The Castle.
Ranked as the 2nd fastest growing business in the UK in 2015 by The Sunday Times, financial comparison website money.co.uk needed their workplace to support this recent exponential growth. The grade II listed Victorian ‘Castle’ they occupied, having had no major alterations in years also did not illustrate their current standing and vision for the future.
Representing their success through their workplace was important, but at the heart of the decision for the refurbishment was the team, rewarding the staff with the best place to work. This meant creating an environment where their team can flourish, fulfil their potential and feel happy. Furthermore the price comparison company needed their new inspiring work environment to continue to attract and retain the best talent in their industry.
The design concept was to juxtapose the traditional architecture of The Castle with a contemporary and one-of-a-kind finish. The unique building provides a characterful and quirky setting for a workplace, therefore the interior needed to reflect the eccentricity of the exterior.
An important part of creating the best place to work meant looking beyond aesthetic and focusing on functionality. Having a diverse range of teams, from programmers to content writers, each with varying needs, money.co.uk’s workspace had to enable people to work the way they wanted. As a result Interaction explored the individual requirements of every employee, in order to design a multitude of flexible and adaptable workspaces tailored to the needs of the team. These spaces give people the freedom to work how they want, to support their wellbeing and thus productivity.
There are a host of settings in which people can go for meetings, private work, training, relaxing or socialising. This includes the ‘ice cave’ which can be used for an informal meeting or to eat and socialise. There is also the ski lodge which be accessed through a secret door in the library, perfect for relaxation or quiet work.
With software and technology at the heart of their business, having the best technology to interface seamlessly with their work environment was imperative. Interaction installed SONOS in every room with iPads mounted on the walls to allow the team to enjoy a productive environment. There are also 30 TVs throughout the office that are all linked to a HDMI matrix, which makes collaboration effortless. Their new ‘high-tech’ room boasts a 98” 4K TV with the latest video conferencing system, to allow money.co.uk’s agile teams to communicate easily, and outside every meeting room is a touchscreen booking panel. These are linked to the e-mail calendars of all employees for a convenient and effective system. The cinema also boasts a 7.2 surround sound system with HD projectors and subwoofers built into the tiered seating, topped off with customisable bespoke lighting.
The work on The Castle was delivered whilst staff were in occupation and delivered in two stages. The main workspace was completed in the first phase, and the meetings spaces and informal rooms delivered in the second. Some of the major work included fitting a bespoke oak external staircase which links up the back of The Castle to the main entrance. A feature that was removed years ago; restoring the staircase was critical to unlocking how the space worked by allowing everyone to enter into the main hub of the building.
Interaction also gave a new lease of life to neglected basement rooms, creating two gyms, one for cardio/yoga and another for weight training; both linked to changing rooms with showers. Another basement was transformed into a completely bespoke and one-of-a-kind Star Wars themed cinema. The cinema has proved to be a popular addition, being used as a unique setting for a company meeting, or for the team to relax and play Playstation as well as hosting film nights.
The result is a fun, unique and extraordinary workplace that goes beyond convention to give the people of money.co.uk the ultimate workplace. Proving that a workspace doesn’t have to be just a workspace, and can have a discernible positive impact upon the people and the business.
This project demonstrates that when wellbeing is placed at the centre of the brief and design, the workplace can be utilised as a tool to incite a positive culture and enhance productivity, creativity and collaboration. After 9 months on site, the client is beyond delighted with the finished product and the snag free delivery. The Castle is finally fit for the kings and queens of the tech world.
Project: The Castle – Workplace for Money.co.uk
Area: 10,000 sqf
Location: Gloucestershire, England
Photography: Chris Terry
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