By Shaun Dawson
When it comes to the return to the office, there’s a strong argument to suggest that Bumble were ahead of most with their peoplecentric HQ. Designing a personable and people driven workspace for the global dating app, Bumble, required a unique approach from Dthree Studio. DeVono looks at Dthree Studio’s planning and design behind Bumble’s ‘cosy’ new headquarters in this blog.
THE DESIGN BRIEF
Bumble wanted to create a London HQ that is both memorable and welcoming to anyone who enters it. Bumble are very much for their people, and therefore the space had to reflect this by providing their employees with a ‘home from home’ environment. Because of this, the word ‘cosy’ became the overarching guideline to the design brief and essentially embodied everything they wanted their workspace to represent.
Hospitality and employee amenities played a vital role in the design. You can get your hair done, have a home-cooked dinner, or grab a snack from the fully catered canteen any time of the day. We had to make sure that all of these spaces had the right level of energy and liveliness encouraging collaboration whilst also considering the quieter working areas. A successful solution to this was through flexibilityoffering a variety of choices and offering a variety of choices. Efficient use of the available floor plate provides lots of different pockets of space for people to work, depending on their individual needs. Each enclosed area has been provided with high acoustic treatment and low-level lighting to create the perfect, distraction-free zone. This means that even in aly highly collaborative and energetic workspace, there are many quiet areas for those head-down moments. In keeping with the ‘homely’ experience, there is also ample opportunity for the team to “bespoke” their working areas – with bookshelves, posters, picture frames, and planters – allowing people to add small items which are personal to them, in the same way, you would in your own home. We worked very closely with the furniture team to further enhance that' cosy' feeling, specifying warm, inviting fabrics and finishes throughout the space.
The real focus of the design was around the team rather than the business ambitions. Although that was an important aspect of the process, there was a heavy emphasis on ensuring that every individual felt valued when using the space. Staying closely connected to that, the new space provides a wealth of people-focused areas, including anything from individual work and company-wide meetings, through to live social events and self-care facilities.
The project's biggest challenge was around the existing mechanical system, which simply did not meet Bumbles needs, but due to being a Grade I listed building, it posed many restrictions for Dthree. The existing mechanical system was installed at floor level, which heavily impacted the available footprint of the space, as well as causing discomfort for the staff. Dthree went through a process of high-level consultation, advising Bumble on what was possible within the space using a mocked up version of the proposed system, so they could see the benefits of this and the aesthetic impact to the space. The ultimate decision was then made to move the mechanical system to the ceiling, which required a lot of technical design and a significant amount of detail consideration. The new system provides the space with an even distribution of heating and cooling supply, which improves the day-to-day experience and increases the available footprint.
THE DELIVERY APPROACH
The space was occupied during the construction, Dthree’s delivery approach was very specific and sensitive to the ongoing needs of the business. The key concerns revolved around time efficiency and noise levels. Across the 15 weeks, a created a four-phase plan, starting with the required mechanical changes implemented outside of business hours to avoid disruptions. The final phases then moved onto the remaining aspects of the build, rotating around the building, space by space. Including the Bumble event calendar within the delivery programme, which seamlessly adapted to and worked around, eliminating any impact on both the business operations and staff experience.
In general, the vast majority of tenant clients were starting to consider wellness as an essential part of their initial brief however, the pandemic has accelerated this concern – similarly with the global climate concern and awareness of sustainable practices and product uses.
The new office has shifted their culture hugely. Bumble has a central space to draw people together – for both working scenarios such as training, workshops, team meetings and global conferences and also leisure scenarios, such as external product launches, team bonding days, parties and self care days, not forgetting the full time catered service available to all staff any time of day– something that completely sets Bumble apart from their competitors.
“Our experience with Dthree has been nothing short of outstanding. The team places value on understanding the client, their strategic business needs and the many moving parts that drive workplace decisions. The outcome of this has been a unique and agile space that completely reflects our brand, our diverse workforce and their evolving needs. The Dthree team have delivered a complex project, with great integrity, attention to detail and care”. Brondie McNamara
To find out more about Dthree Studio, visit https://dthreestudio.co.uk/
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