Space Solutions Creates UK’s Most Pet-friendly Office with Bella & Duke

Staff wellbeing is playing a significant role in new office and workplace design concepts. With more people returning to the office through hybrid working, the need for a better work-life balance has never been more important.

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Workplace design and management consultancy, Space Solutions has recently collaborated with pet food company, Bella & Duke, to create an innovative workspace designed for staff and their pets. Bella & Duke is a unique, health-driven company specialising in raw and natural food products for dogs and cats, and its new headquarters needed to be as unique and health driven as the company.

After experiencing rapid growth, Bella & Duke tasked Space Solutions to create a workplace environment to accommodate its expanding team, as well as integrating health and wellbeing into the very heart of its new office. The second task of the project was to create a welcoming environment for staff and visitors to bring their pets into the office. In order to achieve this, Space had to create and design an office that was functional, fun and interactive for staff, visitors and pets. Since the workspace officially opened in March 2022, it has been coined as the UK’s first official pet-friendly office.

The 10,000ft2 design and build project was delivered in six weeks. The challenge of this project, and one that is not unusual, was finding the balance between delivering the brief and the budget. However, Space Solutions’ strong relationship with the client allowed the firm to work together to find solutions. An example of this was creating furniture through bespoke joinery rather than pre-manufactured goods. This enabled Space to create the practical booth areas as ‘huts’, the focus on bringing ‘park life’ inside.

The inspiring new workspace comprises an open-plan layout including hot desks, meeting rooms and breakout spaces that are full of natural light. To accommodate the office expansion, the design and build team installed rows of tiered benches adjacent to the main company boardroom. These spaces are separated by a bi-fold wall, which, when opened, creates a lecture hall-style co-working area.

As well as the typical office features, the workplace also includes interactive spaces for four-legged visitors to enjoy. This includes kennels, toys and even dog agility equipment. Bella & Duke has also hired a ‘park ranger’ role for the office to offer support for pets in the workspace. The role works closely with in-house expert Behaviorist, Caroline Spencer, to ensure pets and visiting pets are in a comfortable environment in the office.

Victoria Speirs, the Senior Interior Designer for the project, says: “It was a unique challenge as a designer to create a space that would accommodate the needs of both people and their pets. We wanted the office to feel like it was a natural place to be, whether you have two legs or four. By incorporating biophilic design elements, we brought the outdoors in using a green and neutral colour palette to mimic the park life experience.”

FACT FILE:

A human- and pet-friendly environment with a strong focus on health and wellbeing

Flexible workspace with a variety of work settings

Fun collaboration spaces with areas for exercise and places where staff can unwind

New furniture throughout with sustainable considerations

Bright and airy with lots of natural daylight and biophilic design to bring the outside in

Collaborative and inspiring, bringing teams together in unique settings

Mindful and tactile, providing variety and choice to its users in efficient and sustainable ways.

Creating an environment that staff love working in was the driving force behind this project and the result was a playful, easy-going and fun office that creates a positive and productive employee experience.

Jim Mathieson, Group Managing Director at Space Solutions, comments: “Our design and build team worked closely with Bella & Duke to create a workplace with health and wellbeing at its heart. We understand the need for improving the work-life balance for staff, and so this project was all about the employee and pet experience and focused on creating a unique and interactive space which goes beyond the conventions of a typical office environment.

“By using a mindful and tactile design, we have provided staff at Bella & Duke with variety and choice that brings teams together in a truly pioneering setting. We were incredibly proud to work alongside this hugely passionate company to bring all of their aspirations to life and to have the opportunity to be part of creating the UK’s most pet-friendly office.”

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