Leading venture builder, Blenheim Chalcot partnered with Imperial College London to develop the building for its scheme, Scale Space. With the concept of providing a community for innovators to flourish, Scale Space’s primary function is to give businesses access to the right people, along with the services and the room they need to grow.
Using land owned by Imperial that hadn’t been in use, a building has been constructed for Scale Space that can house its network of primarily tech ventures, bringing them together from disparate locations in and around London.
The goal was to create a space where innovative businesses will develop and thrive.
With 100 per cent of the lease, Scale Space wanted to benefit from the development of prime real estate, while providing its companies with a flexible environment that would give them space to expand. The functionality of the space was a key underlying component.
Office Principles was engaged following a tender process. The team presented appealing design concepts and set out its intention to lead the project with the introduction of a data driven, analytic approach.
We rolled out a series of workplace engagement activities, reviewing occupancy levels across the whole of the Scale Space community in order to decipher and understand the level of agility that could be accommodated and what facilities would be required in the new building.
Workshops were undertaken with different venture groups throughout the design period. This extended process lasted for over 12 months, with its results impacting on the final use of the building and influencing the design, which changed fairly significantly during the final stages of the CAT A fit out, completed by contractor, Western.
Aspects were altered to improve the flow of space, including the movement of the main staircase. The ground floor suites were given over to more traditional serviced office space, which meant that a lot more partitioned areas had to be created. The first floor remained a co-working area, while other floors were designated for the occupation of some of the larger businesses in the community.
The building, a new modular construction, then required a complete CAT B fit out with furniture. A central collaboration area was included, FBCA (Food Beverage Community Amenity), along with supporting zones for pitches, informal training and events. These spaces, known as ‘Pitch’ spaces, connect to the main FBCA area and blend aesthetically, with folding doors to enable an extension to the space as required.
We advised on all furnishings to ensure a broad mix of products across all areas, adhering to the environmental principles of SKA to meet Scale Space’s sustainable agenda.
Covid-19 presented some challenges. Materials that should have been supplied locally had to be sourced from further afield and further operations contractors had to be identified to ensure the initial contract programme was met.
The project benefits from a dynamic colour palette, selected to reflect the multitude of brands that Scale Space accommodates. Office Principles set out to create an experience for the end-user and so the project evolved to become more than just a space, reflecting the spirit and ambition of the overall project and Scale Space’s positioning.
“The workplace engagement activity and the early design stage was crucial to achieving the best outcome for the client and ensuring that the space would live up to the expectation that surrounded it. Given that, we dedicated an inordinate amount of time to those early parts of the process to ensure that every voice was heard and the vision could be met.”
Stephen Parsons, joint managing director, Office Principles