Saracen Interiors designed and delivered a full fit out for Audatex, translating the global leader’s brief to deliver showcase offices for the purposes of welcoming and hosting visitors, as well as providing a more agile, open-plan work environment for all employees.
Following an initial workplace assessment, Saracen completely stripped and refitted 10,000 square metres of commercial space in Reading for the risk and asset management software and services provider, including mechanical and electrical services.
The design featured strongly in the early planning stages and Saracen worked closely with the client to ensure the best use of space, while creating an eye-catching, contemporary setting befitting a ‘centre of excellence’, to drive future innovation for the benefit of insurers and body shops. The project was won at competitive tender and we spent a lot of time, in the early planning stages, ensuring that we could present to the client the most effective use of space, incorporating all the requested features.
"We’re developing a strong reputation across the industry for our design work and this job reflects the level of creativity and attention to detail that Saracen is renowned for when it comes to to space planning.”
Michael Page, joint managing director of Saracen Interiors
Audatex was presented with a pantone guide to assess which colours would be preferred, to sit alongside its recognised corporate shade. Saracen then picked a vibrant selection from the client’s choice and presented these colours, throughout the office, in a random configuration, using carefully sourced furniture and fittings to provide a canvass for the multi-coloured hues. This backdrop of vibrant colour was then complemented by feature walls, designed by Saracen, with striking manifestations, including a map of the world, and the outline of a car, made up of various car parts. The car theme was continued with docked ipads outside the meeting rooms, identifying each room as a car make and providing an easy reference for schedules of events and availability.
Although the design included an open-plan space offset by a series of offices, the client was keen to diffuse any feelings of ‘them and us’ and to discourage staff from congregating in any one area. Saracen countered any potential issues by installing high level glazing above the print hub on the first floor, encouraging optimum light flow as well as serving an acoustic purpose and promoting a sense of added space. Audatex had considered retaining the suspended ceiling throughout but was encouraged by the designs, including feature bulkheads over the teapoint and break out areas, which emhasised a change in the use of space and broke up the monotony of a single suspended ceiling running throughout.
Meeting booths were also included to allow people the opportunity to take themselves away from their desks and seek out a quiet space, when required.
The refurbishment was undertaken in phased stages to ensure the 112-strong Audatex team was able to continue to operate with a ‘business as usual’ approach for its customers. Although working in an occupied office presented the team with its greatest challenge, it also allowed the project to evolve and enabled a collaborative approach to be enjoyed by the consultant and the client through all key stages. Each phase covered approximately four to five weeks, with stud partition walls errected at the beginning of the phased activity, dividing space and relocating staff as parts of the office were turned into a live site. Fire routes had to be acknowledged and maintained at all times in deference to health and safety protocols. The project embraced a number of green initiatives including the installation of LED lighting and a new air-conditioning system throughout, for a cleaner, more energy efficient working environment. Saracen also oversaw the landscaping around the building, to create a fresh, welcoming look for staff and visitors.
As a dynamic technology company, it is vital we remain focused on enabling our teams to collaborate and innovate and this refit recognises that need. Saracen offered us the expertise to create the highest level of specification for our offices, harnessing the latest technology to build not only a stimulating and contemporary workplace for employees, but a centre of excellence for customers, prospects and partners to benefit from.”
Nicola Mascard, operations director, Audatex