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Global asset managers, Western Asset Management, wanted a space that enabled communication to thrive. Its new office needed to be a hub for sharing investment ideas, while also allowing teams to come together to collaborate on new projects and decision making.
Having spent ten years occupying the tenth and eleventh floors of 10 Exchange Square, located in London’s renowned Broadgate on Liverpool Street, Western Asset Management recognised a need for change. The existing office had become tired and run down, and as the lease expiry was approaching, a decision on whether stay put or venture to a new home was needed.
Upon appointment by Western Asset Management’s Global CEO, Peldon Rose set to work. First on the agenda was space planning a number of alternative locations, working closely with the client and project management team from CBRE throughout.
However, with the largest pedestrianised area in London and a vibrant hub of offices, bars and restaurants, nothing could really compete with what Western Asset Management already had. This led to the decision for the business to remain at 10 Exchange Square, but relinquish the 10th floor. The Peldon Rose team were then tasked with carrying out a CAT A & B refurbishment on the remaining space one floor up.
Fitting out an iconic London building is always an exciting prospect, especially when the opportunity to incorporate the building’s existing architectural features presents itself. Using these unique features, Peldon Rose were able to create a warm, inviting and fresh space for Western Asset Management.
A welcoming, bright reception space that encapsulates the vibrancy of 10 Exchange Square first greets clients and colleagues upon entering the office, offering impressive views of the city of London. The striking architecture of the building, designed by architects Skidmore, Owings & Merrill in 2004, has been woven into the design, with Peldon Rose introducing new ideas that complement and enhance the space. Meeting rooms have been designed around concrete structural pillars, adding a unique touch which also maximises the floorspace available.
As a company with workplaces across the world and a client base to match, Western Asset Management needed a space that made both its clients and teams feel at home. A strong brand identity and unified look to the other global office spaces was also key, as 10 Exchange Square needed to be an immediately recognisable space. By studying the layout plans and finishes of its other locations, as well as utilising the global playbook, Peldon Rose brought this identity to life using cohesive colour palettes, fixtures and finishes. Pops of colour, like the vibrant blue of Western Asset Management’s branding, are a key example of this, and have been used throughout the space embedding the sense of identity. The end-result is harmonious, creating a synergy between every global Western Asset Management office.
Consolidating the space onto a singular floor presented an opportunity to bring teams together, and the breakout area is now a collaborative hub that unites Western Asset Management’s workforce, echoing its core business values and people-based culture. It inspires collaborative thinking in a new setting, and is an area where employees can share ideas and work together regardless of job role or department. New elements like booth seating and a breakfast bar further help to encourage teams to socialise or change up their working environment to somewhere more collaborative.
The design of the breakout space also introduces new colours to the company’s palette with punchy orange hues, mottled greys and warm earthy tones, which harmonise with the corporate blue and yellow, but still give the space a distinctly different feel.
As an imperative part of the brief, sustainability has been considered at every part of the design process, with the project set to achieve a SKA Gold rating. Western Asset Management’s sustainability values are embodied through the use of ethically-sourced natural stone finishes, creating a light, airy, feel for employees, complemented by sustainably-crafted bamboo-fronted cabinetry. Acoustic panelling that has been made from recycled single-use plastic also provides an acoustic barrier with a low environmental impact. Original features such as the terrazzo floor in the main reception area have been maintained and restored, complimenting the original architecture of the space.
As Western Asset Management are an international team partly based in America, Peldon Rose worked closely with the project management team from CBRE on all aspects of the project journey. From space planning, to designing in line with Western Asset Management’s global playbook, Peldon Rose have ensured the involvement of the CBRE team at every stage, strengthening the partnership.
Not long after the project started, the Covid-19 pandemic saw the closure of all offices causing all site activities to be paused. With the landscape of the office taking a dramatic shift and new ways of working becoming key to the business, Peldon Rose ensured the new design reflected a more hybrid approach to working, liaising closely with Western Asset Management senior team regarding any changes to the scope of work. Throughout this process a strong foundation of trust has also been built with Western Asset Management’s team.
Senior Project Designer, Georgia Nogas, explained ‘Despite the challenges we faced due to Covid-19, our relationship with the client grew from strength-to-strength throughout the process. They put their trust in us to deliver the project in uncertain times and collaborated with us throughout. The client now has a new, unique office space to bring their employees back to, and I’m sure they will continue to thrive as a global business’.