The need for an inspiring workplace is paramount when your staff are directly responsible for the morning rituals of millions of coffee drinkers across the world.
Costa was moving from their historic home in Lambeth to a new purpose-built facility in Essex. They wanted to ensure that key staff were retained, while providing a new home that fostered collaboration and 'lightbulb moments' across the wider business.
The scope was to deliver a mix of spaces; ranging from boardroom and executive suites, to breakout areas, and even a barista training and coffee product development facility.
We really got to know Costa's workforce to define exactly what they were after, and understand how they could work at their best in their new fit out. Team adjacencies and cohesion were key factors in developing the office layout, allowing for strong relationships to develop across the business. We also discovered that staff were after a games room, ample breakout areas, lots of natural light, and of course, readily available coffee throughout the office.
We set out to design an office that would integrate teams, improve staff engagement and decrease absenteeism; resulting in lower recruitment costs and increasing overall staff wellbeing.
What we delivered
We wanted to provide a place for Costa's coffee lovers to collaborate and create the future of high-street coffee, so we made sure the office exceeded expectations and that coffee was the real hero of the office.
A historic nod
Costa is incredibly proud about the history of their brand, and we wanted to make sure that this was reflected in their new, modern office fit out. We designed mock railway arches as a feature wall in the staff breakout area, that mimic their old home on Paradise Street in Lambeth. The exposed brick arches are a great visual feature that also act as a frame for wall graphics that showcase their growth from family business to global coffee house. We even found a space to display the first ever coffee bean scoop used by the Costa brothers! The railway arches reflect their past, but have been integrated into the design as functional elements; housing booth seating for relaxed and informal meetings, a tea point, and one of the arches even leads to a staff games room! We've featured 'Old paradise street' graphics in other areas of the design, so the spirit of the old office can live on in this new fit out.
A sweet touch
We incorporated a number of modern technologies to enhance productivity and highlight the coffee experience. Special consideration was given to creating collaboration and collision zones, which allow for roasting and office staff from two sides of the business to interact. A number of breakout areas have been introduced alongside the open plan office to provide spaces for informal catch ups, meetings and breaks throughout the day away from the standard workstations. These spaces are intentionally placed between the two different working areas – the office and roasting plant – to encourage different teams to interact more.
Activity based working
The workspace now facilitates a variety of working styles, providing different areas for staff to concentrate, collaborate or host a meeting away from traditional workstations. This way of working is supplemented by mobile technology and a new IT infrastructure to allow staff to work from anywhere, anytime. This shift from 'my desk' to 'our space' is set to improve productivity; while allowing staff to connect in different ways,and move away from a culture of presenteeism. Staff are already reporting an increased sense of belonging and connectedness in their new office - all helping improve team wellbeing and productivity.
Costa wanted staff from opposite sides of the business to interact with each other, so we situated the common amenities around the roasting plant. The boardroom, reception and new product development area have been designed to overlook the roasters, placing a spotlight on the coffee-making process.
We selected black counter tops for the new product development area to make the iconic white and burgundy coffee cups more distinguishable in person, and really pop when captured on film. This area has been centrally located in the layout to create a sense of excitement around any new products that are being developed, as staff pass by this central area on a daily basis. These areas were also fitted with colourful, yet durable floor coverings that make it extra easy to clean in case of any accidental spills.
The overall project is targeting a BREEAM Outstanding rating for the building, and elements of our internal fit out will contribute to the final stage assessment. These include achieving stringent indoor air quality benchmarks, the responsible sourcing of materials and timber, installing water-efficient equipment and using LED lighting.