JM Finn are investment specialists, managing investment portfolios across a range of structures including pensions, ISAs, trusts and offshore bonds. They were relocating from their Leeds office to Hudson Quarter in York. They had already chosen to develop their design with specialist interior design company, Bluesky Design, and Ben Johnson secured the fit-out and furniture contract through a traditional tender process managed by the client.
The brief was to create a warm and inviting workplace, one that would convey a sense of luxury to anyone who crossed the threshold both in terms of design and build quality. The office had great views with lots of natural light and JM Finn were keen for the space to remain as light as possible, despite the need to partition off the space to create their required meeting rooms and provide confidentiality.
Ben Johnson had the responsibility of taking the client’s and designer’s vision and making it a reality! We worked collaboratively with the project team, suggesting alternative products to help meet the lead-time and budget constraints without impacting the design vision, this included alterations to the furniture and fit-out package.
A key element of the build was the coordination of the mechanical and electrical alterations. Every client has unique features that are important to effectively run their business, and JM Finn needed specialist clocks on the walls which required additional power and data, as they work in numerous time zones. AV coordination was also a key consideration, with each meeting room and breakout area having a TV and integrated power modules within the tables for plug and play working.
Due to the confidential nature of their business, it was vital that meeting rooms had good acoustic performance so you could not hear conversations in neighbouring rooms. All partitions were built from solid and double-glazed glass with acoustic treatments applied to the walls and ceilings to achieve a good acoustic rating. The partition glazing was purposely opaque in the centre, with a faded effect from the ceiling to the floor, ensuring as much natural light as possible flooded the rooms while maintaining confidentiality. The external windows received the same treatment, letting natural light in but not allowing the people from residential flats next door the ability to peer in. Slatted wood was also used to separate the breakout area and locker storage spaces, obscuring the view but avoiding blocking off the flow of light.
It was important to ensure that we delivered a top-level finish to a high standard throughout, from the feature lighting to the quality fabrics and feature carpets. Quality joinery was also critical to delivering the required built finish, with blonde wood featuring heavily in the scheme from the Herringbone flooring to the use of bespoke wood panelling on the walls, booths and meeting tables.
The previously plain white columns were treated with a micro-cement effect to add texture and interest, and the addition of marble coffee tables throughout elevates the finish further. Those little details add up!
The finished project
The new office provides a welcoming hub for visitors with comfortable meeting spaces, open plan work areas and a social space, as well as support areas for print, post, comms and personal storage in the form of lockers.
You get a sense of arrival from the moment you enter the space through the bespoke joinery and feature lighting on the walls and ceiling. This, coupled with the lamplight, sofa seating and a curtain for softness, lends the area a plush hotel lobby look and feel, taking the client and designer’s vision forward and making it a reality.
Overall we’re thrilled with our new office. It feels like such a welcoming space – a true home-from-home for our employees and our clients.