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Interview with Caitriona Holdsworth On Designing Unilever Prestige’s Amazing Workspace


Client: Unilever Prestige Division

Sector: Retail, Consumer & Manufacturing

Location: London, SE1

Size: 6,400 sq ft

Duration: 8 weeks

Design Director: Caitriona Holdsworth


Interview with Caitriona Holdsworth On Designing Unilever Prestige's Amazing Workspace 1

Caitriona Holdsworth

What were your initial thoughts on the project?

“As soon as I saw the space at Union House, Southwark, I was desperate to work on the project! Unilever Prestige was taking the stunning 5th floor, a new industrial, glazed extension on a historic building with tons of London charm, and great roof terrace overlooking the railway.”

How did you approach designing five distinct workspaces under one roof?

“It was a fantastic opportunity to implement new work styles. We were keen for our design to complement the industrial aesthetic and not fight it, so we retained the concrete floor and implemented details such as Crittall glazing.”

“As for designing distinct spaces for each brand, we focused on the brands’ passion for authenticity and ensured each zone reflected their values and culture. For example, we captured the organic nature-inspired brand, REN Skincare, with a nature-themed space including tree trunks and a rattan rug; the muted tones here mirrored the brand colours.”

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Unilever Prestige – REN Skincare

“Whereas for the Kate Somerville lounge, we used pink velvets, soft greys, and marble tones to reflect the Hollywood glamour found in their Los Angeles Headquarters.”

Why did you decide on the hot-desking approach for the workspaces?

“The idea was to implement a hot-desking solution, so only full-time users of the office would have a dedicated desk. For those more transient, we used hot-desks or touchdown benches.”

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Unilever Prestige – Breakout Space

“We also incorporated a room booking system and fewer meeting rooms to encourage people to work in a more collaborative, informal fashion where possible. Our ultimate goal was to provide the users with choice.”

Which space stood out to you?

“My personal favourite space was the Reception / Waiting Area – this was a far cry from a typical office reception! The office didn’t need a formal reception desk and instead was more of a showcase space to display all the different product types.”

Interview with Caitriona Holdsworth On Designing Unilever Prestige's Amazing Workspace 2

Unilever Prestige – Reception/Waiting Area

“The large Buddha was a staple piece to REN Skincare’s heritage and had been ordered many years previous; it was expected to be the size of a table ornament! The team found it hilarious and vowed to keep it. So having it on show at the new office was non-negotiable!”


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