December 4, 2015

Gensler Helps Nokia Move its UK Head Office to Central London


With a cell phone, people can work (almost) anywhere. But even a multinational cell-phone maker knows there’s an upside to in-person collaboration. So when Nokia decided to move its U.K. head office from the town of Farnborough to central London, with an eye toward attracting urban-minded millennials, the company radically changed its work space and work style. The goal was to make the office a magnet for staffers who’d grown accustomed to largely working from home—or as Gensler design director Matt Jackson puts it, “Bringing everyone back to the mother ship.”

While boosting occupancy, Nokia also hoped to boost efficiency, accommodating more people in less space. To replace its 300,000- -square-foot 1990’s campus, Nokia leased just 65,000 square feet on three floors of the Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates–designed Two Kingdom Street building in Paddington. Then Gensler crafted an agile workplace, with 300 stations for 600 staffers, supplemented with meeting and quiet rooms, lounges, a cafeteria, and other alternative work settings.

> See the project’s resources here

The first floor sets the tone with a sci-fi feel, “almost as if a spaceship landed there,” Jackson says. In the multistory atrium’s retail area, customers can browse Nokia’s latest offerings beside an indoor reflecting pool that mirrors the lights of the surrounding displays.

On office floors, wayfinding had to be extra clear so visiting employees from around the world could orient themselves. To mark each zone, Gensler worked with the company’s branding division to reinterpret each letter of “Nokia” as a large, brightly colored abstract shape: For example, the blue N resembles a bone, the black I an apostrophe.

Only two weeks after the move, Jackson reports, office occupancy had skyrocketed to 65  percent, more than double what it had been in the old location. “The ’90’s campus was very much of its era,” he notes. “This space is designed more for the new generation.” And, indeed, the future.

> Project Resources

Project Team:

Gensler: Tony Thornton; Steven Moore. Lighting Consultant: Lighting Design International. CDM Coordinator: Systems2 Consulting. Mechanical, Electrical Engineer: PSH Consulting. Acoustical Consultant: Applied Acoustic Design. General Contractor: ISG. Project Manager: Jones Lang LaSalle. 

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