Sector: Manufacturing
Location: North Yorkshire
Date: 2022
Size: 4000 sqft

The Brief

Firmenich is a global leader in creating scents and flavours and is the largest privately-owned company operating in its field. Established in Geneva in 1895, the organisation specialises in creating flavours and fragrances that touch the lives of millions of people every day and is one of the leading brands and experts in its industry. They have over 18 sites worldwide, with a hub in Thirsk, North Yorkshire, which is where they needed our help.

Like many businesses today, Firmenich saw the impact that the pandemic had on its employees and their working preferences, deciding that a refresh was needed to update the environment and create a more agile, collaborative space for colleagues. The office hadn’t been updated for some time and was fairly basic in terms of decor, as well as not making the best use of the space available.

As a global leader in their field, environmental responsibility and sustainability are both key considerations for Firmenich and they wanted their Thirsk office environment to reflect this focus. Employee wellbeing is also high on the agenda, but the workplace, as it stood, did not provide the most fulfilling and enjoyable environment and provide employees with the spaces they needed to work effectively. Think plain and dated fit-out, old carpets, aged ceiling tiles and a lack of logical flow.

Once we clearly understood the needs of the business, we got to work on creating the solution.

The Solution

Changing the way the office works/flows was crucial to getting the foundations in place for the rest of our proposed scheme. We created a number of adaptable communal areas, from casual soft seating to break-out spaces, an informal meeting area, a board room and a private study area, giving employees options for where they chose to carry out their work.

Utilising natural light was also a key factor, both from an employee wellbeing and sustainability point of view, so we positioned workspaces and meeting areas in spaces that had plenty of natural light. We also used biophilic design to brighten the space and compliment the natural textures and colours utilised throughout the scheme.

The business has moved towards a more agile, collaborative way of working and a clear-desk policy was part of this, so we provided storage and furniture solutions that complemented this shift in working style, including lockers. Common areas are better positioned, such as keeping all aspects of IT/Comms together, along with a designated visitor sign-in area, complete with product display.

The colour palette adopted lots of natural, neutral colours that we knew contributed to feelings of well-being, and these were paired with natural materials and finishes such as timber to provide a cohesive, natural look.

The finished project

The finished workspace at Firmenich is a total departure from the look and feel of the old office space, which is exactly what they wanted to achieve. It is fresh, clean and modern, with an almost-Scandinavian aesthetic and a clear focus on employee productivity and happiness.

The overall office flows so much better and the variety of casual and formal workspaces keeps things relaxed and flexible for employees, enabling them to work in a space that meets the needs of the task at hand.

Check out the project video below – don’t forget to click to view full-screen to see the project in all its glory!

We are delighted with the transformation of our Thirsk office space. The team at Ben Johnson Interiors fully grasped and delivered what we were hoping for from the space, bringing us plenty of ideas to consider and remaining adaptable and open to feedback throughout the project.

Trevor Newman

Multi-Site Plant Director (UK, South Africa, Norway) | Firmenich

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