I was commissioned by AIS to produce a design for Future Games of London (FOGL – part of Ubisoft, creators of the app Hungry Shark) They were looking to move out from their overcrowded space in Exmouth Market to a new location in Clerkenwell. We looked at several buildings for them before they decided on the very smart Sutton Yard location and split the office over 2 floors. The split was between the Meeting Suite on the top penthouse floor and the working staff floor below.
The Meeting Suite was for both internal and external client meetings including the need for whole company staff gatherings regularly… The space also had to cater for multifunctional large events (Game launches etc.) They wanted to have rooms for different styles of meetings – both corporate and relaxed. The decision to place the main breakout area with Play Area for staff on this floor created a challenge of how to split the space to reduce distraction.
With this area being away from the staff desks hoped to encourage Collaboration and Staff Culture – their buzz words are: FEARLESS | GAME 1ST | ORIGINALITY AND CREATIVITY | LOVE AND PASSION
Their corporate identity used 4 primary colours so they wanted a professional, yet toned down, colour scheme with clean and crisp working areas and trendy breakout spaces. Key considerations being – use the views / control the daylight / use the space efficiently / staff migration around the space / staff culture / future staff growth and how to manage it.
They liked the look at feel of the more loft style office space they had seen – but they had selected what was in fact a white box with floor to ceiling glass…
The biggest challenge was to make the space NOT look like a white box and to bring in elements from the other buildings they had seen on the building selection, as location and usable space were key to the Sutton Yard decision making process. The style could easily be added.
Acoustics were a big concern with all the hard surfaces / exposed services.
The staff floor was to house 70 people day one, and allow expansion to 90 easily without moving staff around – merely filling the gaps. The main concern with the 2 floor split was that the route from the staff floor to the meeting room floor meant leaving the office and using the fire exit stairs – so re-routing the direction of the existing escape stairwell so a direct link between the two floors was investigated with the landlord and building control.
Spaceplan and original visual:
Angling the walls to lose the building’s box effect was a good way to add interest and diversity to the space on the top floor.
Vtec acoustic brick effect panels and wood effect vinyl flooring were easy solutions to create a different look and feel to the space. A large bespoke bleacher seating area allowed staff to congregate in the play area. Buzziskin and Buzzigrid felt ceiling features were added to soften the rooms once they were created on the meeting suite floor.
Being a gaming company whose main app was Hungry Shark – I wanted to bring in the fun side without being too literal. A flooring design which was added to breakout areas used square pixelated patterns which looked like the sea. On this feature was the Naughtone Rhyme seat which had characteristics of a sharks fin. The Hendrix Chair by David Fox also looked like a Hammerhead Shark – all these subtle references were dotted around the office in varied locations.
Creating spaces for staff to use in a variety of ways was key to the layout – high bench areas for short meetings / sofa snug areas for quiet less formal gatherings / chill-out sofa rooms / VR area for future game demos / long tables for lunches / bleacher seating in the pool & ping pong area for collaborative group meetings / one to one tables and chairs for more intimate conversations and a booth for lunch / informal huddle meetings...... All this – and everyone has a desk…..!
The end result is an office that functions for their varied needs, plenty of alternative working locations and a space they can be proud to call home.