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Office design shows company’s creative expansion

03 January 2020

LXA has used its creative talents to create a workspace that serves as an advertisement for all the services it now provides.

One of the more notable themes to emerge in commercial premises is that of mixed-use development, typically focused on providing office space as the main element but incorporating other areas, ranging from retail to residential and additionally including leisure facilities.

This will require the FMs of these buildings to increase their skill sets, if they do not have long experience in the running of mixed-use facilities, and will additionally often see them extend the list of outsourced service providers they work with.

Another aspect to consider is how the client uses its facility, with an increasing number of companies using their workplace to make strong statements to publicise their brand and maintain their focus on their corporate culture.

While the latter will typically apply to larger organisations, the example of the LXA London office shows that this can be applied to all sizes of company through the application of creative thinking and careful design.

PFM spoke to director Richard Partington to gain greater understanding of how the company’s recently-opened office in the London Bridge area is proving attractive to colleagues and clients alike.

“The company was originally formed as a quantity surveyor (QS) and project management provider, but we’ve added to our skill set considerably and our new office shows this to very good effect,” he explains.

“We were previously in a serviced office space, which was great initially, but it became clear that a permanent space of our own would work better for us as a business.”

When the search for its own space began, it combined with the closure of a long-running boxing gym used by one of Mr Partington’s fellow directors.

This resulted in providing the creative influence for the initial thought processes of combining two common interests in the same project. However, it took the imagination of the property agent to convince the company that the 2 London Bridge site provided the scope for its new home.

Mr Partington explains: “When we first saw the space it was just a shell and we first thought it wasn’t for us, but then the agent shared his thoughts on what we could do and we went away to think about it.”

Describing this as a “light bulb moment”, he says that within a short time the consideration process had changed from a vague idea to the drawing of the initial design for a gym, café and office space, with all the company’s divisions involved as the project became a reality.

“The landlord loved it and we’re really happy with the end result which works well for us and being in a modern office, alongside the river and very near to all the new developments at London Bridge says a lot about our progress,” he says.

Having used the company’s own resources for the initial design of the space, the plans were then shared with colleagues in other departments to progress and manage the project, including all aspects of procurement and interior design, with its branding department producing all the relevant material to complement the move to the new, dedicated space, now known as 2LB.

With the office space located at the rear of the building, it enjoys high levels of natural light and allows each of the company’s staff to work closely with the members of their immediate team, while collaborating with all other colleagues.

In addition to increasing efficiency, the company’s office is also proving to be beneficial when recruiting new staff, Mr Partington continues. “We’re finding it significantly easier to recruit people now we’re in this office.

"The space is very appealing and very easy to get to from London Bridge, and our new recruits love the fact that we’re a fun, young company with a great culture that doesn’t take itself too seriously,” he says.

He supports his last statement by pointing out the ‘No dickheads’ neon sign positioned above the company’s reception desk, the phrase famously used by the New Zealand rugby team:

“We make sure that our clients get personality, as well as what they pay us to do, and this makes dealing with us an even more enjoyable experience.”

More meetings with existing and potential clients are held at the company’s office, he further explains, which has been seen to have had further beneficial outcomes.

“We’ve already had a few people turn up and immediately understand what we’re about, appreciating what we’ve done here, to the point where we’ve got them on board before they’ve actually reached reception in some cases,” he says.

With clients encouraged to return to use the café or gym, he finds that this is proving attractive to a growing number of customers, who frequently stop by on the way to other meetings.

“We often come to the office and see people we know in the café and often provides the opportunity to sit down for a quick chat and shows another positive aspect,” he says.

“We’re very pleased with our new site and it’s a great example of what you can do with a little thought, effort and oomph and also shows landlords how they can let their buildings easier and keep their clients longer.

"Things that are different and fun can be included in the design, especially if they make things better for everyone involved,” says Mr Partington.

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