meant an uplift in finishes but the design concept would still have been the same – and there should be a way to achieve that whether you’ve got £100 or £1,000 to spend. We worked closely with the contrac- tor on sourcing materials, which fostered a very positive collaborative process.” A major contribution to both affordabil- ity and sustainability was the relocation/reuse of existing Microsoft furniture and kitchen equipment. Templeton says: “Much of the furniture was about functionality rather than brand names – in line with the stripped-back, start-up ‘vibe’ the end users were comfort- able with. The company had plenty of furniture across their campuses, some of it under stairs and in stock rooms. Around 60 per cent of furniture at Paddington has been relocated there – a saving that allowed us to spend on the new timber flooring on floor seven, which was a nod to the luxury of Soho House.”

A design rethink of that timber flooring prevented the need to buy new electrical busbars, while, in other areas carpets were removed to reveal the existing raised floor tiles. Templeton explains: “Microsoft design guidelines talk about elevating the ordinary and this is an example – we polished the tiles and added vinyl graphics to turn the ordinary into something more.” Elsewhere, reclaimed timber crowbars, once used to lift railway tracks in the area, have been repurposed to create tailor-made space division.

Transparency & collaboration

Lift London and SwiftKey staff have been making use of their new Paddington home for some months now. Lift London’s Lee Schuneman says: “We set out to rethink the way we work together as a team, with a new environment designed around the principles of transparency and collaboration.” Talking about how the new spaces have gone down with the firm’s staff, he adds: “The space has been enthusiastically received and people are using it in a way that suits them best – which was one of our main goals. The feel of the place has always been really important to us, and employees comment on how positive it is. It’s an environment where they can do their best work.” Gensler’s Templeton happily agrees that Microsoft staff’s initial apprehension around the project has melted away. He says: “Of course it really helps to be able to engage with end users like Lee – that always creates for much better design.”



All photos © Hufton + Crow


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