Monday 17 Jun 2013
Expedia.com Ltd, the world’s largest online travel company, was looking to expand its London base and act as the European HQ by moving into a 2-storey, 80,000 sq ft space in the newly-refurbished Angel Building in Islington.
Rapid growth had meant the sacrifice of collaborative spaces in the company’s previous offices. A primary requirement therefore was for exciting interactive spaces, with contingency for further desking to safeguard the creative spaces into the future. A further imperative was to attract and retain the best staff, overcoming any concerns about a move out of central London.
Inward- and outward-facing spaces fan out from the initial arrival space on the 5th floor (‘Check-In’). A range rooms - quiet rooms, huddle rooms and booths - encourages different types of working, with few cellular offices. With a 50/50 split of workspace to collaborative space, people can - and do - work anywhere.
By 'pre-designing' workstations to suit max capacity, an initial operational density in excess of 10 sq m per person was achieved, with future capacity to reduce this to 8 sq m without changing building services. The strategy has already proved effective as the business has doubled in size.
The building’s existing Cat A was retained where possible to minimise waste. Timber flooring and purpose-made joinery was also re-used. Where possible, furniture from the existing premises was re-used, with the remainder transferred to the new tenant. Recycling points were incorporated into the service areas of the layouts. Expedia has one space for cars, two for motorcycles and 80 cycle spaces. Additional on-floor showers encourage staff to cycle. The fit out has received a Silver SKA Rating.
‘Genius Loci’ (‘Spirit of Place’) informs the planning language of the space (‘Northern’ and ‘Southern’ Hemispheres, ‘Global’ and ‘Local’ meeting rooms), but also the architectural, interiors and graphic language. The destination meeting spaces have huge-scale framed windows, underlining the idea of postcard-panoramas, whilst a constant parade of enticing vistas is integrated into the whole scheme. Way-finding signage takes the form of signpost totems.
The success of the project is described by an Expedia manager: ‘Our staff constantly have smiles on their faces. It’s hard to get them to go home at night and recruits are falling over themselves to work here’. (Janis Batten, EU Real Estate & General Services Manager)
EDGE was subsequently commissioned to create the company’s Global Workplace Guidelines’ and to design a further seven Expedia offices around the world, including a new global headquarters.