30 July 2019
Client: Unilever Prestige Division
Sector: Retail, Consumer & Manufacturing
Location: London, SE1
Size: 6,400 sq ft
Duration: 8 weeks
Design Director: Caitriona Holdsworth
Unilever Prestige Division
Unilever is one of the world’s leading suppliers of food, home and personal care products. They engaged workplace design experts, Maris Interiors, to design their new Unilever Prestige office for their premium division.
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.
Unilever Prestige Office
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.
Unilever Prestige – REN Skincare
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 Unilever Prestige office for its 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, on her approach to the Design & Fit
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! UnileverPrestige 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.”
“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.”
“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.”
“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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