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September 27, 2019

Gensler Reveals its New European Headquarters in Moretown, East London

London – Global architecture and design firm Gensler, celebrates the completion of its new European Headquarters at No.6 in Moretown, East London, highlighting its long-term commitment to the UK.

Having signed a 15-year lease, Gensler entirely reimagined the 35,000 sq ft building; an opportunity which afforded the firm an unparalleled opportunity to not only design a unique workspace, but a chance to transform their processes and ways of working in order to develop in a way that is relevant to businesses and clients, now and in the future.

Having moved into a temporary office space in Thomas More Square, now rebranded as Moretown, in St Katherine Docks in 2017, Gensler used its time in a transitory space to prototype new ways of working that have now been implemented into the new space. It was a chance for them to experiment, reinvent and to identify innovations that can be incorporated into the new permanent office space.

Gensler’s architectural, interior design, brand and consulting teams worked seamlessly to create a design scheme that draws inspiration from the London Docks – visually enhancing the existing environment. This can be seen through the building materials which are rich in timber, brick and exposed steel – bringing some of the historic warmth of the area back into the building.

It was important to ensure that Gensler’s presence in the area was complementary and enhanced the existing environment, and ‘bringing the inside, outside’ was key. As Duncan Swinhoe, Co-Regional Managing Principal at Gensler explains: “We’ve taken a 1980s building and reinvented it to respond to the evolving needs of creative businesses today and in the future.”

Uncovering new ways of working

Moving to a completely agile working model, the space provides a diverse range of interconnected work settings to fully enable Gensler’s 230+ employees to create together – delivering industry leading design every day. The building has presented Gensler with the challenge and opportunity to think about its need for optimal creative performance through smart workplace design and how the space can allow for evolution, growth and flexibility.

Qualitative feedback was paired with quantitative data gathered during utilisation studies of the existing work areas to inform the new design. The study examined utilisation rates of workstations and meeting rooms, the frequency of activities such as focus work, conference calls, collaboration, and peak dates and times for meeting room demand.

The space has, as a result, been designed to incorporate a high percentage of free address, with focus given to providing a choice to individuals and teams of where to work. The workplace strategy clusters teams on each floor in ‘neighbourhoods’, aligned to foster collaboration. In addition, the feature staircase connects teams vertically to create chance collisions and spark moments of innovation, while also promoting the healthy benefit of active design.

The design aims to create a flexible and adaptive environment, with very little fixed space – giving employees the power to make the space their own. Duncan adds: “Agile working is a mindset. It’s about giving people the choice and freedom to choose the best place to work. Space plays a part, but it’s not what matters most – it’s about adopting a new way of thinking and, in turn, adopting new behaviours. Therefore, the environment, the workspace and the furniture is one of the most important enablers for successful agile working.”

Gensler’s research uncovered that 80 per cent of its work is achieved in project teams of two to four people. Unable to find a product that truly reflected the way Gensler works, the firm joined forces with Fantoni to collaborate on ATELIER; a bespoke furniture solution that’s modular, flexible and adaptable.

A strategic location in East London

No.6 is the only stand-alone building on the estate and is a key component of the urban grain. This building aims to create and encourage a dynamic mix of activities and aims to display social interaction, commercial activity and open opportunity to bring the renewed exterior environment into the ground level of the building – connecting it to the public realm.

Gensler’s move to Moretown has catalysed Resolution Property’s transformation and repositioning of the estate. Through delicate ‘place making’ and design-led refurbishments the estate will evolve over the coming years to encapsulate amenity-driven retail on the ground floor, public-realm enhancements and cutting-edge offices.

Duncan continues: “London has always been a prime location for us as a global business – it’s a fantastic hotspot for innovation and talent within the design and architecture space and holds a strong network of long-term prospects and partners for us as a business in Europe.

“We first set up in Moretown two years ago, following 10 years at Aldgate House. The opportunity to contribute to Wapping’s revitalisation and regeneration was a major factor in our choice of location. By moving to Wapping we are joining a nascent community that we are thrilled to be able to help shape and grow. This is an exciting chapter and we look forward to being at the forefront of a burgeoning new business community centred on creativity.”

James Baker, Head of UK Asset Management at Resolution Property, said: “Focused on innovation, interaction and collaboration, Gensler is a perfect fit for Moretown. From day one, the conversation has been much more than a traditional landlord and tenant transaction. Our relationship is a partnership with the aim of delivering an exciting, unprecedented urban super-campus. Moretown is a fantastic example of how to upcycle an existing asset with tremendous potential. With its extensive array of amenities and flexible office space, we’re aiming to make the campus the pivotal commercial location for Wapping and the City market.”

Laura Citron, CEO, London & Partners, said: “I am honoured and delighted to welcome Gensler to their new London home and European HQ. Gensler setting up in London is a testament to our capital’s strength as a creative hub and centre for urban development. I look forward to seeing what they do next, and I am so proud that London & Partners have been a part of their story.”

The building has achieved a Design Stage assessment and interim BREEAM Excellent rating.

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