When designing the office, WSP Group, a global professional services firm offering technical consultancy for the construction industry, wanted to devise an open-plan working environment to promote an even more creative culture among its team members and encourage collaboration. While several small partitioned pods for quiet working and two meeting rooms were included, the proposed layout for the space mainly consisted of a single, open desk area. To ensure the transition was successful, the company needed to create an impactful design scheme to define zones for group and individual working, which would also help to unify the office as a whole.
“Going open-plan was a major step-change for our Glasgow team, so it was crucial that, when designing the office, we did everything we could to create an environment that supported the well-being of our team members,” commented Richard Bennett, Corporate Estate Project Manager at WSP Group. “To achieve this, we needed solutions that would help keep background noise levels to a minimum – a key challenge when developing open-plan offices. Above all though, we wanted to create an inspiring interior – somewhere the team would enjoy spending time in.”
Interface supported project leader Aileen Rooney, Design Executive at Innovative Design Associates Company (IDAco), to create a scheme that would help facilitate WSP Group’s transition to an open-plan culture. Products from Interface’s nature-inspired Human Nature collection were selected.
Reflecting the colours and patterns found in nature, Interface’s flooring was inspired by the concept of biophilia – the school of thought that nature-inspired elements in an interior play a major role in upholding the physical and emotional well-being of occupants. This was an important consideration for WSP, who were therefore keen to utilise interior products and furnishings that would help its team members feel comfortable, happy and productive.
Aileen explained: “110 Queen Street has great panoramic views of Glasgow city centre with floor to ceiling windows. The windows provide plenty of natural light into the office space, a key element in improving the well-being of workers, so are a great feature of the space. It was clear that the design in the Human Nature collection would help create the ideal frame to draw the eye to the cityscape outside the windows.”
In the main office area and partitioned pods, carpet tiles from Interface’s global collection, Human Nature 810, 840 and 850 ranges were selected. Inspired by the colours of natural limestone, the different textures of the three tiles were used to create a pathway weaving around the desk pods. These were designed to assist in distinguishing the solo work zones from those intended for group activities, and to draw visitors into the room towards the picture windows.
In the meeting rooms, Human Nature 810 Limestone tiles were broken up with small accents of deep orange Persimmon tiles from Interface’s Human Nature 830 collection. These were included to evoke WSP Group’s red and blue branding, and complement the scarlet walls of the acoustic pods and the red desk dividers.
In addition to offering design creativity, Interface’s modular flooring will also help WSP Group to reduce long-term maintenance requirements. The durable system is able to withstand heavy traffic, and allows individual tiles to be easily replaced when worn, ensuring the floor remains looking fresh without the need to change the entire carpet.
Reflecting on the project, Richard concluded: “Changing the way a team works –moving from a closed-plan to an open environment – takes a lot of careful planning. To succeed, you need to look at every aspect of an office interior, from the layout of the furniture, to the décor, to ensure the space is both functional and comfortable for the people working in it.
“With the help of Interface’s flooring products, we have created an interior that helps bring us significantly closer to our goal of a more collaborative, social working environment. The nature inspired flooring design also supports our goal of ensuring the well-being of everyone on our team, providing an inspiring workspace where they can feel happy and motivated.”