Wish you were here: a destination workplace

As one of the UK’s leading wealth management companies, Quilter’s purpose is to help create prosperity for the generations of today and tomorrow. To aid them in this quest, we have designed their office to be multifunctional and flexible and seen by their employees as a true destination.

Key features

  • Glazed meeting rooms
  • Grey colour palette
  • Touchdown workspaces for collaboration
  • Informal seating for sharing ideas
  • Natural light flooded atrium
  • Flexible seating

Focusing on the long-term benefits of customer and colleague relationships, choice and flexibility are at the heart of its offering. But for this forward-thinking firm, better choice doesn’t necessarily mean more choice – too many options can be confusing. For Quilter, it’s all about offering tailored, relevant solutions designed for different people with different goals, but without triggering decision paralysis. Quilter House was an office to be designed on the same rationale.

Designing an office destination

Morgan Lovell’s mission was to turn Quilter’s workplace into a destination, a place that people would choose to be, a space that offered something that little bit more special compared to working from home. This involved opening the entire ground floor to create an active, lively, flexible environment. Not just a welcoming, on-brand reception area, but a multifunctional hub that offers colleagues and visitors an immersive and participatory experience along with the energy and buzz they don’t get to enjoy at home. The Quilter House workplace is a destination to encourage staff to share a space and collaborate rather than to permanently work from home.

Office design maximising natural light

The atrium, bursting with natural light, is the first touchpoint – a symbol of the Quilter brand and a visual snapshot of the finance firm’s culture. A focal point in its own right, the bright atrium creates intrigue and lures people in. But the brief didn’t end there. The ground floor had to deliver so much more. It had to double up as a multi-use flexible space that supports collaboration, focused work and social events.

To that end, the ground floor features training rooms, 'Grab and Go', client suite and a central breakout area. We incorporated luxurious finishes, materials and patterns into the build, reinventing the space in the process by using an on-brand palette of colours and patterns designed to create intrigue but ultimately an aesthetic fitting of a brand that creates prosperity for those it serves. The end result is a highly functional, stunning space that fosters a sense of community and delivers that all important wow factor.

Designing for today and tomorrow

Recognising that colleague sentiment is constantly evolving, and that the potential distribution of work between home and office in the future is therefore unpredictable, Quilter wanted the four floors to offer a variety of multi-functional flexible work settings, but without cutting back on the number of workspaces.

As a brand that focuses on future generations, it is prudent not to assume that colleagues of tomorrow would always want an element of home working. By the same token, it was important to reduce the dependency of individual desks in the office in order to create more space for collaborative activities. To face this challenge head on, we reduced the number of desks and created nearly 200 desk spaces – a work setting where someone can work individually without occupying a designated collaboration space. This has freed up space for other use and ensures that even on days with full occupancy, every colleague will have access to an individual workspace.

Improved wellbeing from natural light

The benefits of sharing a space can only be reaped if people use the workplace in the first place, and so the collaboration areas had to be as attractive as possible. According to Leesman, a firm that measures employee workplace experience, 70.5% of office workers rate the provision of natural light as being particularly important to their overall experience, and yet only 59.1% of office-based colleagues are satisfied with the levels of natual light on offer. We sought to ensure Quilter employees got to enjoy as much natural light as possible, a physical feature that isn’t always on offer at home.

The glass roof of the atrium floods the building with light, and we decided to extend this to as many spaces as possible. On each level above the ground floor, the collaboration spaces are on balconies facing the central atrium area. We installed glass panels around the inner walls of the central atrium so that natural light reaches the collaboration spaces and other rooms close to the atrium.

A sense of community

The Morgan Lovell team embraced the challenges of this fast-paced project and delivered a spectacular workplace across four floors that makes everyone who steps foot into Quilter House in Southampton feel welcome and part of a community.

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