Numis Q&A with Kirsty Foster

Kristy Foster shares how the team designed an office that responds to the occupants’ needs and encourages socialisation, as well as how they incorporated playfulness into a professional setting. Outstanding office design means removing barriers to communication, encouraging interaction and creating a positive environment in which people can thrive. The Numis project seeks to create such a place.

Firstly, tell us a bit about the design of your project. What were the key ideas, concepts and processes behind it?

The design brief was simple. “Take the company to the next level in terms of the client and staff experience – provide best in class facilities and encourage interaction and communication. And don’t forget to allow for 10 years seamless growth…!!”

The space selected was spread over three levels, so immediately we considered the potential for an accommodation staircase to dynamically connect all parts of the organisation, promoting interaction and a sense of togetherness. To further breakout areas were strategically placed to maximise accessibility to the external terraces.

The design exploits the stunning views of London’s skyline by creating an open, unhindered view to the horizon on entry to reception, this played a vital role in curating an impactful client experience.


What was your biggest takeaway or highlight from completing this project?

The highlight would have to be seeing how happy the client is in their new space. It is an amazing feeling to see clients not only enjoy the space for themselves but also be excited to show it off. We have built a lifelong relationship with the client team which is another huge highlight of the project.

What has winning an SBID Award meant for you and your business?

Winning an SBID International Design Award is a super high achievement and one in which we are incredibly proud. Being evaluated by both leading industry experts as well as the public is what makes this win so special, highlighting the projects attraction to a wide demographic.

How do you see the workspace designed for people to thrive in? What makes it different from regular offices?

With Numis we created a uniquely tailored workplace setting that adheres to the needs and requirements of the business. This was done by conducting a survey during the concept stage of the project to gain a detailed understanding of the types and amount of collaboration settings, meeting spaces and everyday amenities needed by the individual neighbourhoods.

One main breakout area allows all neighbourhoods to connect and meet, allowing teams that cannot sit near one another due to separations to come together to work and socialise. The main circulation route and staircase which runs through the heart of the workspace further adds to this notion of togetherness, brining teams together quickly and efficiently.

What was the most important thing to keep in mind when designing an office focused on communication and collaboration?

Firstly, it was essential to know how and where teams interact by putting ourselves in our clients’ shoes as it were, fully understanding their day to day needs. Creating dividing spaces to break up desk areas helped to create a collaborative focal point for each neighbourhood, enabling teams to work as efficiently as possible. The large breakout space provides a suitable space for hosting events, with the ability to place large screens for town hall meetings or to watch sporting events, homing in on this sense of communication and collaborating from a social perspective. Taking this even further an auditorium space kitted out with state-of-the-art technology and practical seating provides the client with a more formal gathering space, ideal for internal and external gathering.

How did you make sure the employees could stay focused and find privacy in such an open and collaborative space? Was it challenging to keep it professional while also introducing vibrancy and playfulness into the office?

Adding quiet pods, phone booths and zoom rooms enabled employees to choose focused settings to work in, all of which were not bookable, increasing their flexibility. In general, the company worked in a relatively quiet environment, so keeping the team focused wasn’t a huge challenge. Some acoustic solutions were applied in collaboration and meeting areas to reduce reverberation, but due to the nature of the business and its culture not much more was required.

The fact that we had three floors to work with enabled us to be playful with the space. The 7th and 8th floors had their own unique look in comparison to the 9th floor. The client focused 9th floor was a high-end luxury space with bronze metal, stone worktops with indulgent fabrics applied to the joinery pieces. The working floors on the other hand incorporated a handful of playful colours. It was this client / working floor separation that gave us some extra wiggle room when designing for both playfulness and professionalism.


To read the article from SBID click here

To see the full case study click here


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Kirsty Foster - Senior Designer