Astra Zeneca Da Vinci HQ

Medium-Size Office Winner

Project: Astra Zeneca Da Vinci HQ | Cambridge UK

Firm: Space Invader Design | Manchester UK

Design Statement

Space Invader’s design response creates notional “Neighbourhoods” within the open-plan office, each supporting a variety of work settings. The arrangement responds specifically to the adopted building which includes a double height glazed atrium overlooking water and mature planting, with a dark, predominantly solid elevation at the opposite elevation. The contrasting internal environments – at one end of the spectrum social & open and conversely quiet and dark – endorses the internal arrangement to transcend a typical open plan office layout of endless rows of desks – instead the space provides a huge variety of work settings and spaces to encourage the full spectrum of work styles. IT enabled activity based working allows Astra Zeneca employees the choice of work setting according to the task they’re undertaking, rather than a one size fits all approach – thus improving productivity, comfort, communication and focused work. Non-allocated desks are therefore achievable on this basis. The Neighbourhoods concept is inherently flexible and can be adapted to suit any internal office. The nature of this interim space creates the opportunity for a test bed environment that evolves over time, providing a set of empirical data proving invaluable for the design of the new HQ building. The design aesthetic of the interior was inspired by the scientific nature of Astra Zeneca’s work – a series of overhead undulating timber elements were created as an abstract interpretation of a skeletal form. These interventions create a series of spaces underneath which naturally generate room-sets of various scale and configuration to support the Neighbourhood concept.

The design brief was clearly defined – to create a domestic and homely interior that responds to the fact that we are experiencing a work-life blurring and spending longer hours on work. The Shaw Contract Group Hexagon product enabled us to create a patchwork blanket on the floor which responds perfectly to the holistic design concept of flexible Neighbourhoods, room-sets and activity based working. It was vital that the design did not create fixed boundaries and therefore there was a requirement to avoid incorporating rigid lines in all aspects of the interior. The hexagonal form is non-directional and the random lay of the tile pattern creates a wonderful organic effect. The addition of clusters of selected neutral solid colour tiles further breaks down the expanse of flooring and reflects the informality of the work settings, furniture and feature lighting. The client immediately understood the significance of the Hexagon product to contribute to the overall concept, and how it was an important visual aspect of the design as a move away from the previously favoured corporate, delineated look. Furthermore, this product reinforces the desire for the interior space to evolve over time as a test bed environment. Avoiding rigid divisions in all aspect of the interior design, the room-sets can adapt and change freely – not confined by a fixed space or geometry.

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