Shifting office design up a gear

Motoring giant Hyundai shifted gear with their move to a new UK headquarters with a refurbishment which proudly tells their brand story.

Key features

  • Environmental design cornerstone
  • Graphics of fire, earth and air
  • Panels and textured wall coverings
  • Floor to ceiling media wall
  • One to one desk ratio
  • Private booths

Hyundai’s 17,000 sq ft office in Leatherhead is dedicated to celebrating the automotive industry. Being the only car manufacturer to operate its own steel mill means the South Korean company oversees the entire process from start to finish. This unique proposition is the cornerstone of Hyundai’s identity. Fire, earth, air and water are all manipulated, harnessed and engineered to create the end product.

Moving through the workspace, graphic representations of these four natural elements depict Hyundai’s powerful brand story.

Panels, textured wall coverings and bold typography on the walls signpost a carefully-planned route through the office, maximising design opportunities and utilising the space fully.

The office also features exposed services throughout, as well as layered textures in the furniture and flooring.

This all makes for a highly-visual and sensory space, not dissimilar from the experience of driving a car.

Showroom showmanship

The journey starts in the reception with a subtle recreation of Hyundai’s car dealership showrooms. The idea is that this space feels familiar to anyone in the Hyundai network across the globe. We used the same furniture, fixtures and fittings which are specified for any Hyundai corporate fit out.

The main seating area in the reception also serves as an advert for the latest model in Hyundai’s N-range. A floor-to-ceiling media wall, consisting of nine screens, shows off the sports car and its colour swatches certainly grabs the attention of visitors.

A space for everyone

The office has kept the same format of Hyundai’s previous workspace. It accommodates a one-to-one person to desk ratio in the open plan, a handful of meeting rooms and a large corporate boardroom. Teams are seated together but managers are given some privacy positioned a few steps away, often with a small meeting area nearby for convenience.

We also provided private booths so staff can find quiet areas to concentrate or to make calls. This is an important part of making the office a comfortable environment for all employees. Everyone owns a desk but that doesn’t mean they are tied to it; when they feel like working in a different environment, or taking a confidential call - there's always somewhere available.

Away from the keys

The focal point of the office is the large breakout space that opens onto a landscaped ground floor terrace. Dubbed Away From Keys or A.F.K, this informal setting is exactly what its name suggests. A.F.K offers a break from all things motoring.

It's a homely, open-plan kitchen with a coffee station, breakfast bar, meal prep area, dining tables and sofas. In addition, one of our favourite pieces of furniture is tucked beautifully into the corner of the breakout. The custom L-shaped bench is upholstered to match an expansive graphic of a twisting road; it’s the perfect place to get lost in daydreams about road trips.

Pit-stop for coffee?

We also fit out a stylish café for an independent operator, Coffee Society, to give employees more choice. This café wouldn’t look out of place on the high street with its retro garage finishes, including a ‘shop front’ made of frosted glass cubes and decorative neon letter lights.

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