Published on:

27 April 2022

Updated on:

17 May 2022

Read time:

4 minutes

Office Principles has delivered the flexible and sustainable headquarters of a West Sussex based housing association that is changing the way its employees work.

The leading interior design consultancy has completed a 12-week project to remodel the three-storey Saxon Weald House on Worthing Road, Horsham, on behalf of Saxon Weald.

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Designed to deliver an “experience” for Saxon Weald’s employees and customers, the refurbished 8,500 sq ft headquarters has been transformed into a hybrid workplace with industry-leading environmental credentials.

Established in [2000], Saxon Weald House was originally intended to house just 70 staff but had accommodated up to 130 desks prior to the pandemic.

Office Principles has overhauled the building with a complete strip out to shell and core. The firm worked in partnership with Saxon Weald to deliver a change programme that reimagined the traditional office space as a modern workplace, with the capability to facilitate the housing association’s adoption of agile working practices.

The new office delivers a combination of purpose built spaces for both collaborative and concentrated work, with specialist acoustic consultants employed to advise on sound absorption for an optimised user experience.

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A reduction in the number of private offices and traditional meeting rooms has created additional space for a new, larger meeting forum, with areas for extensive in-house training and a central café-style eating area to promote social gathering and employee wellbeing.

Visitors to the new space will benefit from a more inclusive layout that has been informed by the neurodiversity needs of Saxon Weald’s staff and customer base. Bright wall branding and messaging contrast with an earthy, calming colour palette, while soft finishes and organic shaped furniture allow users to flow around the spaces.

All tea points and break out areas are fully accessible, a new lift has been installed to aid movement between all three floors and there are new toilet spaces throughout.

The project has achieved a SKA gold rating for prioritising sustainability in its design, with features including a large living wall, extensive use of biophilia and a display unit in the reception area to monitor energy consumption within the building.

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Externally, there is a new glazed canopy at the main entrance to the building with a new [sustainably sourced] wooden frontage, additional window space, bespoke ductwork and photovoltaic roof panels. Office Principles has also installed seven new EV charging points at the rear of the building, as well as a new car park barrier and speed ramp.

Saxon Weald’s employees were closely involved in all stages of the project through regular site visits and the creation of immersive 3D Matterport models of the workplace design, which allowed users to engage with the space prior to its completion.

Stephen Parsons, managing director of Office Principles, said: “Saxon Weald asked us to create a workplace that has a purpose and delivers an experience, and we’re thrilled to have achieved that. It has been a project we’ve very much delivered together, in partnership. Saxon Weald’s expectations were pragmatic and realistic throughout and as our business values are very much aligned, we were able to overcome several challenges, most notably the remote delivery of almost all preparatory work due to the pandemic. It’s a remarkable project on behalf of a remarkable team of people and we’re pleased to see how positively Saxon Weald has embraced the new workspace.”

Steven Dennis, chief executive of Saxon Weald, said: “The Office Principles team has been dedicated to delivering what we wanted to achieve and provided great advice as to what was possible. They have guided us throughout the process, from working with our staff groups to understand what the requirements were, all the way through to the completion of the design process. The whole team has been exceptional in providing us with a really first rate outcome which is perfect for us. I couldn’t be more positive.”