Inspirational Design for the Insurance Sector

PROJECT BRIEF

Following DeVono Cresa’s support in acquiring new office space, specialist insurance firm Compre Group appointed Dthree Studio to bring their new home to life.

Compre wanted to modernise their way of working, to be more reflective of their culture as well as to provide a more aesthetically inspirational space for both staff and visitors. Key components of the brief were to have a uniform open plan space with personal storage allowing Compre staff to work from anywhere within the office space. Additionally, collaboration was to be encouraged with the use of informal meeting spaces and dropdown working zones, all designed within easy reach of the social tea point space.

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DESIGN DETAILS

Having been recently refurbished to a high standard of CAT A specification, the space boasted exposed services and strong architectural features. Combining this with the bold orange and cyan from Compre’s brand identity, Dthree created a fresh and vibrant space. The texture was also crucial to this space. The industrial feel was enhanced with the use of orange mesh panels to demark zones, as well as concrete effect flooring. In contrast to this, multiple fabrics were introduced to soften the space, provide balance, improve acoustics, and to add further colour and pattern to create subtle interest.

Staff wellbeing has been at the focus of this project and has guided not only the design but also the material choices. The carpet for example, whilst providing aesthetic interest in the design, is specially designed to help prevent dust travel and improve indoor air quality.

PROJECT HIGH POINTS

Delivering an inspirational space for the next chapter for our client’s business.

PROJECT LOW POINTS

Closing out during lockdown was difficult, three days’ work took six weeks!

View full project here.

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Dthree Decoding Industry Jargon...

The range of office space available to rent has widened over the years, not just the way in which a workspace is
leased but also the variety of finished states available. A consequence of the current pandemic and economic crisis is a rise available office space. Unlet workplaces are under scrutiny like never before, and the rapidly changing landscape of available options across flex providers and conventional landlord space is colliding the requirements of occupiers across the capital. Cash preservation is uniquely high on the agenda of almost all occupiers, meaning that fitted options trigger curiosity and engagement now more so than ever. The competition that landlords face in letting their space will undoubtedly get more difficult.

So, when embarking on your next office search, you may well face some terminologies that may refer to the type of office space you will be searching.

WHAT DO WE MEAN BY SHELL AND CORE, CAT A, CAT A+ AND CAT B?

As workplace creators, we are constantly surrounded by industry professionals who understand our working industry jargon, yet we are reminded that these terminologies may mean nothing to our clients. While our colleagues at DeVono Cresa would happily engage us in a conversation concerning the merits of being able to influence the design
of a CAT A ‘install’ to reduce the cost of a CAT B fit-out, we recognise that most individuals looking to create their perfect workplace may not appreciate the difference between the two.

For clients that have not been through the process of office fitout, this can seem like a daunting task, especially when you consider everything that goes into finding a suitable office in the first place. The last thing they need is to be bombarded by language and terms that are confusing.

Accordingly, to help our clients better understand some of our industry terminologies, we have come up with a simple description of the four main categories of fit-out:

SHELL AND CORE

The most self-explanatory of the four categories, quite literally the shell (outside) of the building along with the core (inside), meaning stairs and lift shafts within the space. Often this means lots of concrete and exposed raw surfaces, no lighting or other services, just a frame ready for everything to be installed within.

CAT A

We like to think of CAT A as the bare essentials of an office floor being installed – this includes lighting, air conditioning, building amenities (reception, lifts, WCs), and white painted walls. This type of fit-out is how most landlords will deliver space within buildings as it allows the incoming tenant maximum flexibility to create an office setting of their choice.

CAT B

This is the fun bit for our client as it brings the big white box of a CAT A space to life. The CAT B stage involves creating all of the rooms a client will use, specifying the flooring, gathering all the furniture to choose from, and selecting the colour and materials that allow them to make their workplace feel their own.

CAT A +

CAT A + is often referred to as a “plug and play” office space. In this situation, the landlord will install all the elements of a CAT B fit-out, meaning typically all that a tenant then needs to do is bring staff and laptops. While the tenant may not have had the chance to fully design their own office space as they would with a CAT B, they also would not face a significant capital expenditure nor wait for it to be built.

LANDLORD SHIFT TO CAT A+

The type of office space and the level of fit-out that businesses should take will depend heavily on budgets, appetite for design, and time constraints to list a few. However, in what is expected to be a crowded marketplace for leasing
space, landlords will want their space to shine amongst the others, as such a CAT A+ finish will increasingly become more commonplace.

Of a survey engaging over 400 businesses occupying offices of between 1,000 - 15,000 sq ft commencing at the start of enforced remote working during COVID-19, 67% voiced intent to prioritise fitted space in their next search, specifically looking for options that would “eradicate or significantly reduce” a need for CAPEX on fit-out, with 83%
outlining that flexibility was also a major influencing factor in their ongoing property requirements. With this viewpoint expected to become widespread as the economic impact of the pandemic hits home, are landlords ready for this shift?

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