A Work of Art at The Digital Lab of Sainsbury's Headquarters, London The Digital Lab resides in the basement of Sainsbury’s headquarters in London. It is there where Sainsbury’s digital team continuously strives to improve their website and mobile app, as well as ensuring that information is easily accessible to their customers. Sainsbury’s advised that they wanted to utilise the unused spaces in the basement and create a flexible working environment for their ever-increasing digital services department.
Discussions with the digital services team during the preliminary design stages found that a traditional, rudimentary office space did not inspire the kind of ambience and creativity the team were looking for in order to flourish. In addition, Sainsbury’s hoped that by creating a space with a certain ambiance, there would be an improvement in staff retention and wellbeing. The main aim of the renovation project was to instill an atmosphere of flexibility and ease in the environment and consequently, their staff.
‘Hive and garden’ design for flexibility
The original design concept was based on creating a central hub or “hive”. The surrounding office space represented the garden and the employees were the bees, busy going about their work. This facilitated agile working, moving freely from place to place, enabling collaboration through the sharing information and ideas between colleagues. The delivery of such a project displayed a strong connection and very close collaboration between Spacestor and the Architects Chetwoods , HCS Interiors, and the Sainsbury’s team.
One of the key features of the design was the ability for employees to work from anywhere from the office. Our lockersprovided the perfect opportunity for workers to be able hot-desk, without being tied to a particular area where they would have had to keep their belongings. We designed, manufactured and supplied lockers with bespoke angled end panels and an angled top clad.
Enabling ‘activity-based work’ was one of the foundations of the project. Peaceful areas for individual working as well as areas to encourage collaborative activities were created. These manifested themselves as two areas – the ‘Garden space’ and the ‘Tree house in the clouds’. The implementation of these expanses included using previously untouched space. The use of mezzanine flooring assisted in maximising the available floor space. A ‘collaborative stair’ linked these areas. It features a mix of large and smaller steps for group-based activities, producing a modular and easily-adjustable work environment.
Staying on brand
Some organic features of the space were maintained in order to minimise unnecessary costs, but most importantly because they created a dynamic, intriguing contrast with the modern, brighter features. Sainsbury’s were keen for this office to be presented as a proud extension of their brand. As such, Spacestor worked closely with the graphic supplier to design the graphics on the lockers to be in keeping with Sainsbury’s brand guidelines.
By ensuring brand continuity throughout all aspects of design, we were able to build a vision of what future Sainsbury’s offices could look like. This office can be utilised as a show-room and sample when customising future Sainsbury’s workspaces for other departments.
We are proud to have worked with Chetwoods Architects, HCS Interiors and Sainsbury’s on the creation of their new digital lab. We’d love to discuss how we can help you with your project, just click here to get in touch.