Ashcourt Rowan

Sector: Financial Services
Location: Leeds
Scope of Works: Furniture Supply, Installation

The Brief:
On winning the design and build of Ashcourt Rowan’s offices in Leeds (see interiors case study) Ben Johnson worked with the client to firm up the furniture package. The furniture solution had to be on-brand – particularly the monochrome pallet – in order to mirror the London design and decor. The space was split into two distinct areas: client/meeting area and work-area

The Challenges:
Getting the required number of people within the space without it looking too much like a call centre was an issue. Exploring ways to improve workplace efficiencies so the workstation size could be reduced to achieve the numbers was key to the design. Lead time was also a challenge as the client needed to be operational within 5 weeks. This was achieved by splitting the 9 week programme in two delivery phases: offices completed in 5 weeks, and the client suites completed in 4 weeks.

The Solution:
Phase 1 – Office Area
It was important to the client that the employees felt part of the selection process. Workshops were arranged at both the existing Leeds and Pontefract offices where a pilot of the proposed workstation was installed together with mood and sample boards for the meeting and breakout areas. The final selected workstations were 1400mm W x 800mm D benches. User space was increased by using a slim line pedestal and double monitor arms. A central breakout/kitchen area was provided with a mixture of seating types so the space could be utilised for dining during lunch time and informal meetings throughout the day. Care was taken to select finishes which would be durable and easily cleaned. As all the users were moving from cellular to open plan, informal breakout areas were provided within the open plan workspace in the form of high back sofas, phone booths, or series of mobile table and chairs to support the various types of informal meetings and conversations which happen throughout the working day.

Phase 2 – Client Area and Meeting Rooms
The reception desk had to closely match that of the London office, which was a bespoke Italian piece with a long lead-time. Ben Johnson surveyed the reception and produced a match for half the cost and within the short programme. The client was delighted!
The meeting rooms had to support a range of scenarios: both internal and external meeting, formal and informal, for training and video conferencing. The client chose four fixed meeting rooms to seat eight people and one larger flexible meeting room to seat 20-40 people depending on the furniture configuration. A business lounge was also provided outside the meeting rooms for more informal meetings or to support the overflow of breaks following training session. The business lounge was split into various zones, with a feature screen used to provide privacy and improved acoustics within the area.

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