‘A framework of possibilities’
The original appointment for this project was with North East Housing Association, Vela Housing Group, to produce a development brief for their new build headquarters building in Northshore, Stockton.
Further to the development of this brief Vela merged companies with another large North East Housing Association, Fabrick to form Thirteen Group. ‘Joining in partnership meant sharing expertise, resources and costs, achieving savings without reducing services and allowing the partners in the group to focus on the needs of their tenants, clients and neighbourhoods and provide genuine opportunities, looking for the potential in everyone.’
Thirteen Group strives to challenge perceptions and see things differently, the brand provides a framework of possibilities to raise the aspirations of tenants and communities as a whole.
Following the merger we undertook an additional engagement exercise to check the development brief with the new company and further develop the brief for the interior design fit out.
Our proposals for the fit out of the approx. 4000sqm new build office headquarters provide a range of character areas based on our office town concept in which to undertake activity based working. The proposals have been developed by engaging closely with departments to understand their requirements and more subtle nuances for their spaces.
The office space is designed to increase the opportunities for chance social interactions, to foster new relationships within Thirteen and promote expertise sharing. Chance social interactions have been encouraged by providing ‘active streets’ in the office that include locations to break away and carry on a conversation started in passing. The most iconic interpretation of this concept is the 2 feature stairs that create a short circuit within the office wings for departments to collaborate vertically as well as more traditional horizontal collaboration. The bold move to cut 2 holes in the new office floor plates has not only captured the imagination of Thirteen, it has increased the number of essential and desirable adjacencies achieved between different departments within the building.
Our design takes many cues from the new brand by abstracting the wireframe logo and the concept of a framework of possibilities into a number of zinc and valchromat frame elements that accommodate storage hubs, confidential working booths, informal meeting spaces and seating areas. Colour is added to the backdrop of the monochrome frames where people interact with the space including individually coloured lockers and chairs.
This aspirational scheme is bold in intent yet sensitive to the needs of individual departments who will occupy the space.
Thirteen Group Offices
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