A subtle combination of office design, corporate branding and curatorship.
RHWL Interiors' award-winning scheme for P&O's new corporate headquarters is the result of a stimulating and subtle combination of office design, corporate branding and curatorship. P&O wanted to convey an impression of modernity and 21st century efficiency but equally it wanted to remind clients and staff of its unique history and 170 year-old heritage. Its important collection of artworks, silverware and model ships has been integrated into its new contemporary open plan spaces, becoming part of the office landscape.
The offices are located in a speculative development, so the fit-out had to have minimal impact on the building itself. However, RHWL Interiors has almost managed too suggest that the building was custom designed for P&O. As visitors exit the lift, they are presented with four vast 19th century portraits of the company’s founders, which face outwards across the central atrium.
Inside the offices, contemporary furniture and carefully arranged sightlines of artworks have created a space that is both workplace and art gallery. The glass walls of the principal meeting rooms contain voids in which model ships are suspended, and the tea points in the offices are merged with glass boxes displaying the company's magnificent collection of silverware.
“It would be almost insulting to describe the fit-out of P&O’s new corporate HQ as ‘office design’. Of course, there is nothing wrong with designing offices – but this is much more than that.”
David Littlefield FX – April 2006