We caught up with Stephen Stott to find out about the inspiration of the new London office design, and discover the magic behind the madness in creating the perfect working environment for the staff.
What’s the theme behind the new office design?
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. It’s a fun and slightly wacky idea I came up with and it’s been evolving ever since! We worked with an amazing interior designer called Martine Le Gassick, founder of Maya Design, who helped us storyboard the concept and then bring it to life through murals and artwork. The most impressive one is a huge, colourful mural of Willy Wonka on one of the walls created by graffiti artist Snug. Snug (real name Charlie) worked on the piece over the course of a week, working out of hours each night so as not to disturb the staff during the day. Charlie is a perfectionist and would visit the office until he was absolutely satisfied with the work and every extra added detail. The final touches were the incredible lifelike sweets.
What inspired it?
I grew up watching the film and was blown away by it – the story is crazy and captivating and I loved the way it pushed creative boundaries. Willy Wonka was an inventor, trying things no one else was doing, and I wanted our office to be an innovation space where people could think big and not be afraid to fail. We’ve renamed our boardroom the Inventing Room, and the final stage of the refurb is to astro-turf the walls and sew sweets into them! The design is fun and a bit mad, but it’s also a reflection of our changing times. We’re not your typical corporate company, nor are our clients, and I wanted the office to reflect that.
Why is the office environment so important to you?
People spend a lot of time in the office so it’s important that it’s an energising space with natural light. But the way people work is also changing – Gen Y is much more collaborative and driven by job fulfilment, so the office feel is important. We’ve left a lot of blank wall space for people to write on to inspire community thought processes, and the remaining walls have quirky art created by the children of some of our staff. It’s a really interesting process – Martine worked with the children at home to create them, so the finished pieces help create that link between home and work.
How has the refurb gone down with staff and visitors?
It’s gone down really well and I’ve had lots of positive feedback so far. People love the Willy Wonka mural especially. But for me the office is never really finished or static – as you see people use and interact with it, you identify ways to improve it.