We’re pleased to announce the completion of our design and build of Costa Coffee’s new office in Basildon, Essex. The office will support the company’s global growth, and provide a new home for employees who bring exceptional blends to millions of coffee drinkers around the world.

The office on Salusbury Road is 25,000 sq ft of space across three floors, home to 200 employees who were previously split across three buildings. AMC, a renowned broadcaster responsible for bringing shows such as Breaking Bad, Fear the Walking Dead and Mad Men to UK televisions wanted a dynamic, cost effective workplace that unified its workforce, and provided a professional space to host clients and visiting colleagues.

Morgan Lovell established the key design principles for the space following a comprehensive workplace study with AMC employees. These included a functional and effective workplace, a collaborative environment that encouraged movement and interaction between floors, as well as designing a space that reflected the creative character and values of the business.

“Several design elements have helped to establish a sense of community and encourage interaction,” says senior designer at Morgan Lovell, Marianne Paulsen. “One example is the central staircase that we designed and built in the atrium on the ground floor. Its prominence in front of the lift encourages people to take the stairs and maximises opportunities to bump into colleagues and have an informal chat, as well as just generally reinforcing that employees are part of a wider team.”

According to Marianne, the workstations reflect this same philosophy and are set in an open plan layout with very few partitions that separate teams or interrupt a clear view across the office. Those who had their own offices before have now moved into the shared work environment but to support AMC’s new way working, contemplative areas have still been catered for. Flexible breakout areas have been provided on each floor for collaboration, and each team has access to ‘hot offices’ for individual or quiet work. These have been kept intentionally small so that they are only used for a few hours at a time. In addition, a range of meeting rooms in varying sizes to accommodate different teams and serve numerous purposes have also been created.

To encourage socialising, Morgan Lovell has created an onsite café on the ground floor with booth seating alongside two kitchens. A ‘genius bar’ style IT helpdesk has also been provided on the ground floor with a roller window opening directly into the café. Marianne continues: “The IT helpdesk is one of the focal points of the café to help change how IT is perceived within the wider team and to encourage easier access to their services. The idea is that staff can drop off their phones, laptops and other devices to be fixed or upgraded while they eat lunch. Vice president of international IT Jay Hunter’s personal promise of ‘Don’t worry, it will just work’ has also been playfully used as a graphic on the wall.”

It was also important for AMC to be able to use the space to host launch events and screenings in the cinema room, rather than have to hire cinema space at an external venue. This is more cost effective and essentially, adds to the client experience as they can see first-hand the professional and creative environment and workforce all under one roof.

Whilst there is lots of natural light in the building which helps create a healthy environment, the glare had to be managed for one of the production teams who spend hours looking at monitors and editing. To counteract this, solar film and blinds have been added to the windows, and ambient lighting and glare-reducing black desks have been installed. Acoustics were also an important consideration in the open plan areas, as well as in the two editing booths and the cinema room where heavy draped fabric, acoustic panels and angled glass has been used to absorb and block unwanted noise.

Storage was also a key consideration of the design. Marianne adds: “Finishing touches include roller racking and clever storage solutions that offer compact, space-efficient storage for hundreds of VHS tapes.”

The investment into the office will see longer term savings for the business - two comms rooms have been built, one active and one backup, which is important for business continuity and disaster recovery and will save AMC approximately £140,000 each year in offsite comms room costs.

Marianne concludes: “We’re delighted to have been part of creating AMC’s new UK headquarters which we feel really encapsulates their brand and values. The space now accommodates their different working styles and supports the growth of the business, whilst also providing professional event space for clients and visitors.”

Rob Stewart, chief finance officer for AMC Networks UK, comments: “So far, there’s been a positive impact on team morale, there’s a new energy and the team were very excited to move in. We’re now in a single office that we can be proud of - a collaborative and creative environment for employees and a welcoming and professional space for clients and visiting colleagues. We also expect that our new offices will have an impact on attracting and retaining talent in what is a very competitive industry. All in all, it has been a very worthwhile investment.”

Find out more details and view the full gallery in our project case study.

"There’s a new energy and the team was very excited to move in. We’re now in a single office that we can be proud of."

Rob Stewart, Chief Finance Officer, AMC Networks UK