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ECI Partners is a dynamic and growth focused private equity partner. When the company looked to relocate to 80 Strand, just down the road from Trafalgar Square and their former, much-loved offices, it was an opportunity to create a new London workplace that would reflect its success, future ambitions, and enhance its collaborative company culture.
When ECI Partners and the Peldon Rose Design team started imagining the new office design together, they realised that establishing broader context and vision for the project would be useful – so they brought in Peldon Rose’s Workplace Strategy team to help them out.
By deploying investigatory measures such as all-staff surveys, team workshops, occupancy analyses of meeting rooms, and interviews with representatives from a cross-section of the business, the Workplace Strategy team really got to the root of matters and learnt how to successfully expand the limits of what the project could deliver. Their approach is uniquely rigorous, and results in designs which closely reflect clients’ needs and desires, more so than without their strategic insights. The process together with ECI Partners was no different.
ESG was at the heart of our decision-making process, and Peldon Rose supported us with a reusability strategy that kept a significant proportion of the furniture without compromising on the appeal of the space, and ensured materials were in line with top sustainability standards. The ECI team are delighted with the new office, and we now have an environment that provides space and focus, but also opens up more opportunities for collaboration and open conversations.
ECI Partners’ previous office was on one level but split into two halves: the first a blend of peripheral executive offices and a central open-plan working space, and the second an assortment of client-focused meetings rooms.
Findings suggested that employees were keen for the new working environment to facilitate collaboration, drive socialisation, and harmonise office hierarchies in a way that would improve how the team worked together. A crucial talking point was how to establish cohesion between working spaces, and whether the floorplate should open out to replace the more traditional executive offices with collaboration zones and breakout areas. After much introspective reflection and exhausting the advantages and disadvantages of different design arrangements, ECI Partners chose to transition to a bespoke open-plan working space.
The new design improves the initial visitor experience upon entrance, to align with ECI Partners brand and elevate client experience.
80 Strand overlooks stunning views of the South Bank. The reception area is flooded with natural light, and together with the pastel colour palette and wooden flooring creates an environment which is bright and welcoming. This ambience is enhanced by soft seating in the waiting area atop a plush white carpet, and a marble, down-lit reception desk. Small touches, like the brass trim around the inset chevron, or the coffered detailing on the walls framing artwork and wall lamps, are in keeping with the materiality and art deco design of the building.
Behind the reception is a panelled unit painted sage green to match the oxidised copper finish on the glasshouse in 80 Strand’s building atrium. The unit is home to awards, portfolio company iconography, and books relevant to ECI Partners. The importance of displaying these upon arrival into the workplace is something which was unveiled in the Workplace Strategy analysis, as they looked for ways to support the culture of ECI Partners authentically, and without an expiry date. Filling the shelves with the accomplishments and quirks of the business is a talking point for clients and visitors and reminds employees of the community they’re part of and contribute to.
An open-plan office must be designed with a careful consideration of the factors which impact employee wellbeing and productivity. From acoustics and natural light to movement throughout the space, and catering to different pacing of work, Peldon Rose are delivering a space that will expand the horizons of ECI Partners and its future, backed by data-derived insights from the Workplace Strategy team.
Desks are arranged in clusters of four to retain a semblance of identity and belonging, and group together individuals who have the same working requirements. ECI as a whole require high focus and minimal disruption, so creating these pockets of teams, with glass partitions between bays and other acoustic treatments throughout, helps to alleviate concerns about potential disruption, while maintaining the visual connection between colleagues and keeping the space bright. Shelving units, characterfully filled with books and plants, have inbuilt storage for hanging jackets and coats, and further create a sense of separation and location for these focus units.
All collaboration, from conference calls to breakout brainstorming, happens inside acoustically treated meeting rooms set apart from the open plan. Design isn’t a one size fits all solution, and that’s why, with Strategy, we were able to create a bespoke open plan solution which worked for the array of preferences and requirements at ECI Partners.
Furniture from the old office has been used where possible, saving on costs and waste. Being mindful of the impact the construction industry has on global sustainability efforts is something our Strategy and Design teams always look to maximise, and was something ECI Partners specified in the brief. Biophilia planted behind banquette seating and beneath large windows overlooking the South Bank in meeting rooms, breathes life into the space. Greenery in the office is known to enhance employee wellbeing, and brings the serenity and steadfastness of nature indoors. ESG is always a top priority for our teams, starting with sunlight analysis based on window aspects to inform a new design’s schedule of accommodation, right through to helping you achieve and formally accredit your sustainability commitments with our inhouse certified sustainability experts.
While the open plan is designed to promote communal focus, the new tea point is all about concentrating employees’ collaborative and social energy into one space. The spacious kitchen contains premium facilities and a simple, playful aesthetic. A large table sits atop the pale oak vinyl flooring, similar to that used in the reception area, tying the two ends of the office together. Orange-cushioned seats match the sunny backsplash tiles behind the kitchen countertops, adjacent to which is an island unit for employees to prep their breakfast and lunch. High stools are available for informal eating and/or a quick coffee catch-up.
Nestled in the far end of the eatery is a row of multi-purpose booth seating and tables, perfect for smaller meetings over lunch. The upholstery of these is also yellow-orange, and the lights above directly replicate the design assets from ECI Partners’ website, covertly establishing the brand’s identity in the space.
Creating different pockets of rest within the single breakout area caters to various moods, social batteries, and workloads, and ultimately provides all employees of ECI Partners’ with a place to refresh and refuel.
Four cogs worked together to turn the wheels of this project and catalyse its potential: ECI Partners, Peldon Rose’s inhouse Workplace Strategy team, the Peldon Rose Design team, and the Peldon Rose Build team.
The new London office interior design for ECI Partners enhances the collaborative capacities of the workforce, and spotlights its culture. Insights from the Workplace Strategy team provided solutions surrounding desking, and inspired and supported ECI Partners in their transition from siloed working to an open-plan floor. The Design team then brought this shift to life in a way that accommodated different work preferences, optimised productivity, and showcased the bold growth and forward-thinking of the highly successful private equity group.