Non-Profit Re-Invents Its Office, Boosting Female Empowerment
Client: Girls’ Day School Trust
Sector: Associations & Charities
Location: London, SW1
Size: 14,230 sq ft
Duration: 9 Weeks
Design Director: Caitriona Holdsworth
Female empowerment is the name of the game for the UK’s leading network of independent girls’ schools, Girls’ Day School Trust, who strive to inspire and educate the young woman of today.
Destined for a new and improved workspace, GDST collaborated with us to design a contemporary new office in Victoria, London; aiming to reflect its female focus and social mobility, we got cracking with: Sketching and drawing; facts and figures; coffee and collaborating; detailing and designing. THE FULL MONTY!
Once appointed onto the project, Caitriona Holdsworth, Design Director at Maris Interiors, began connecting the key elements that reflected GDST’s nature:
Female Empowerment. We drew inspiration from some of the leading females in the design industry. Marie and Annica Eklund, world leaders in woven vinyl flooring and rugs, were the inspiration behind the flooring: Bolon, Elements Birch.
‘Bolon design the most beautiful and sophisticated flooring, and this was perfect for the project,’ says Caitriona. ‘The designs are clean and contemporary, and I’m thrilled with the finished result.’
Community. Entering the office into a wide-open space that is connected to the main hub space was key. We designed the Tea Point to create a social space within the office, which welcomes staff and visitors alike.
‘The Tea Point had to look different to the rest of the office,’ says Caitriona. ‘You need to be able to step out of the office environment and enjoy a hot drink with your colleagues, and it also creates a community within the workspace.’
Avoiding the corporate cliché, we aimed to create a more agile space and designed the office to allow everybody the flexibility to work where they feel most comfortable doing the task at hand.
‘If you can create your own workspace, it promotes the well-being and happiness of those at work. And a workspace that offers people the ability to move, encourages its staff to socialise and connect with one another.’
Smart. Largely inspired by Scandinavian design, we sourced clean, sophisticated furniture that would work well around the office and have a timeless aesthetic. Iconic Carl Hansen chairs are placed thoughtfully throughout; the combination of simplicity and functionality is brought to life by its high-quality craftsmanship.
Adding to the contemporary chic of this space is the bold, steel 1940’s designed Grasshopper Lamp by Greta Grossman. This classic lamp illuminates the space it sits and brings great character to the room.
Natural. Our biggest challenge was allowing unblocked, natural light into the workspace. We successfully achieved this by leaving the entrance clear and avoiding putting any cellular spaces in the centre. The centre was left open plan, with low-level partitions, and the conference rooms were purposefully designed internally along the atrium; all of which were partitioned with floor to ceiling glazing to allow additional light to flow in.
For the finishing touches, we paired a crisp palette – neutral tones and pastel colours – around the workspace to articulate the simplicity and sophistication. Additionally, this design element was intentionally chosen to create a cool, fresh and soothing space to inspire all those who occupy it.
Needless to say, we love this workspace!
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