SGS The Maltings
Cool office design RFD HULL
What a cool office environment craeted for SGS in the Old Maltings.
Lead developer and property owner Allenby Commercial have suceeded again in a challenging development in the City.
RFD were comissioned by them to create a comprehensive design and FF&E package for the refurbishment works and the result looks stunning.
The project took over a year to complete with a fully local Hull based team of businesses under instrcution by Allenby as a large extension to the original Hull brewery building refurbished in 2010.
The exciting renovation has breathed new life into the old gymnasium building, which was left untouched, unoccupied and unloved since the 80s. In the new space, SGS sought to create an environment that would inspire and develop creativity amongst its employees as well as lure millennial talent. To do so, the space had to be flexible, support multiple ways of working, and promote community and collaboration.
SGS chose RFD Interior Architecture, a Hull-based interior design company to undertake the full interior build specification and worked closely with Alex Jenneson, designer director and owner of RFD, who had created the original Brewery House interiors in 2012 - and who has a reputation for supporting designer intent and client requirements - to transform the space. Working alongside Barbara Sharp, Managing Director, SGS The Maltings, Alex passionately brought back to life the beautiful original features integrating them into a functional working environment.
“Bringing back old buildings is both challenging and rewarding, especially one with such a strong local connection to the city and its people. Exposing and reusing the rich visible architecture within the building, allows the staff to interact with these spaces and appreciate the heritage as well as having a great place to work and socialize,” he explains.
Whilst the original structure of the property was left intact and preserved, the developers uncovered bricked up windows, archways, doors and beams and sympathetically restored them in keeping with the integrity of building’s past, while repurposing recognisable aspects, like the swimming pool and Jacuzzi, which were retained as a social area for staff.
To achieve a space that would nurture the brand’s culture and support a range of working styles, the project team zoned the space into quiet and active open plan work areas maximising the extensive availability of exposed natural architecture within the building. To encourage serendipitous meetings, RFD located social hubs along each of the common routes of the building’s three floors.
The team created aesthetic buffers between spaces by utilising the original features and structures to provide unique work and breakout areas without the need for many newly constructed walls, whether it was old window spaces knocked through for seating areas or the exposed brick walls and ceilings with visible vented pipe work for the air-conditioning, industrial styled cable trays and exposed galvanised conduits bolted to the untreated brick work.
A huge amount of attention and detail has gone into the renovation and real thought has been given as to how the employees will interact in the new workspace, which has also been designed to provide a variety of unique areas for brainstorming, casual collaboration, relaxation and socialisation, in terms of staff facilities. Digital screens have been strategically placed around the building displaying both business and social messages to keep employees informed and engaged.
The end result has created light-filled and airy contemporary working areas where staff work surrounded by industrial backdrops of Lowry themed artwork, original sourced period fireplaces, original brass antique Victorian kitchenware, polished copper pendant lighting and a host of other artefacts, including the old ceiling mounted pully system from the brewery, which brings the past into today in a very sympathetic way.
All around is the feeling of light and space, which in part has been achieved by the intelligent lighting scheme installed by Allenby Commercial, that has awakened areas of the building that had previously been blighted by no natural light. All the functional lighting within the facility was specified as LED. This was to increase performance and to significantly reduce running costs. The additional use of new motion and daylight dimming technology has reduced carbon footprint and kept a consistent lux level in areas of increased natural light.
The swimming pool and Jacuzzi of the former gymnasium have been retained to create a ‘pool-side’ outdoor breakout space with a fun ‘beach bar’ feeling. The pool was lined with a new water effect style carpet finish, which provides a great acoustic platform for gaming stations, air hockey and a pool table in matching blue finishes. Beach huts were painted in individual colours for changing rooms and vending areas in Whitby Sands style finishes. A swim up beach bar was created next to the pool with inbuilt iPads, which staff may access during lunch, while the original Jacuzzi was uncovered and reinstated as a seating pod and has an illuminated wave effect plastered wall. A stunning ‘Tree Sculpture’, complete with log effect cushions and mushroom stools, illuminates the space and provides a ‘wow’ factor as a gathering point for staff to come together and germinate ideas.
Not satisfied with surpassing themselves on a stunning interior fit out, Barbara was also really keen to give staff a unique outdoor retreat for meetings and socialising. Inspired by the roof top gardens of London and Amsterdam, she asked Lead Developer Allenby Commercial to rise to the occasion and create a spectacular outdoor environment. “Although the conversion was technically challenging for Allenby Commercial, the result is dramatic. The roof top garden is a perfect sun trap with amazing views over the slated rooftops that allow complete appreciation of the original architecture of the building and the domed church steeple, which were hidden from view until the recent renovation,” said Barbara.
“The attention to detail, high quality finishes and quirky features throughout the entire property, has resulted in a contemporary working environment for SGS staff, who can come together and use the facilities not only during the day but after work as well. I think that we have created a fantastically cool and functional space for our staff and the results speak for themselves. Colleagues are coming together and building stronger bonds using the spaces creatively to support collaboration and communication, which is great to see. It is a fact, that morale, employee satisfaction and engagement are always increased when a business invests in its people and in their working environment,” she added.
The current and future development of SGS within the Hull area is giving an impetus into the local economy. Its division in The Maltings has recently been awarded two new contracts and has already started to recruit a further 30 full time employees, demonstrating the company’s dedication and investment in the city and its people.
The increase in staff has been driven by clients’ demands and the fact that the Hull team has been recognised for its high level of service and expertise