27 February 2018
Unilever Prestige Division
Retail, Consumer & Manufacturing
6,400 sq ft
Caitriona Holdsworth; Design Director
One of the world’s leading suppliers of food, home and personal care products, obtains a new office space for their premium division, Unilever Prestige, and engaged workplace design experts, Maris Interiors for the project.
Truly progressive in their approach to beauty products, their desire was to house purpose-driven brands that are innovative, authentic, and entrepreneurial with a shared vision at heart. Their brands include: Murad, REN Skincare, LivingProof, Hourglass Cosmetics, and Kate Somerville.
At Maris Interiors we design workspaces outside the remit of the typical corporate office. For Unilever Prestige, who encourage brand autonomy, we felt that designing anything other than a workspace that reflects their passion for authenticity and innovation, would tarnish their brand identity and hinder their growth. In order for the brands to stay true to their original purpose, we were determined to build functional spaces, unique to each brand, that would enable them to grow individually but still benefit from the interconnectivity of the workspace – so that is exactly what we did!
We encourage movement in our offices, so we designed versatile workspaces that can adapt over time; with agile and open plan working. This hot-desk approach allows people to work flexibly outside of their proposed desk area and inspires co-creation in the meeting spaces and breakout spaces across the office.
Incorporating our creative space solutions, we designed a comfortable environment that could welcome approximately 120 people. The variety of work/breakout spaces include: one central office for the Unilever Prestige Team; distinct zones for each of the brands; one functional Reception; 4 soundproof Meeting Rooms; 2 Tea Points to accommodate amenities, that include fridges and coffee machines, with ample seating for the benefit of unwinding and stepping out of the workspace; and a brilliant outdoor seating and co-creation space on the terrace.
This completed Office Design & Fit-Out project now hosts 5 ‘Prestige’ brands under the same roof. One big family, together at last!
Interview With Design Director, Caitriona Holdsworth –
What were your initial thoughts on the projects?
“As soon as I saw the space at Union House, Southwark, I was desperate to work on the project! Unilever Prestige were 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 compliment the industrial aesthetic and not fight it, so 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.”
“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 gradually implement a hot-desking solution and only full-time users of the office would have a dedicated desk; for those more transient, we used hot-desks or touchdown benches.”
“We also incorporated a room booking system and less meeting rooms. This was 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 really 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.”
“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!” ~