Accountancy and business advisory firm FoxleyKingham celebrated its 50th year in business in 2019.At the same time, the companydecided it had outgrown itscentral Luton premises, owned on freehold for 25 years, and that it was the right time to moveto provide for future growth and embrace the next 50 years of business success. The company appointed multi-award-winning workspace specialists align to design theirideal new workplacefor them.
Thenew premises FoxleyKingham sought needed to incorporate better facilities, offerroom for expansion andprovide increased car-parking spaces for staff. The perfectsite, which also needed to be local,was located in the form of purpose-built, self-contained offices on the Butterfield Industrial Estate in Stopsley, on the outskirts of Luton. The standalone building,built in the early 2000s, offered a two-storey footprint with plenty of room for growth – enoughin fact for the company to double in size in the longer run from its current 60-strong headcount.
‘The new premisesnecessitated both Cat A and Cat B works’, align Director and Co-founder Nigel Tresise commented, ‘in order to function as the client required.The Cat A work we oversaw on the project included a complete overhaul of the building’s electrical systems, including underfloor power and data, as well as new lighting and mechanical ventilation, a new roof covering and a cleaned-up external façade.’
In addition to offering multi-industry accountancy services, FoxleyKingham had developed several specialist arms over the years, including FoxleyKingham Medical, which specialises in work with GP practices and FoxKash, a payment service provision for small businesses such as pubs and building companies, who need to payPAYE staff on a weekly basis. The company also offers business advice, with the company’s Managing Partner acting as a virtual FD for a number ofexternal businesses, as well as being a non-executive Director of several more. All these armsand functions of the company needed to be seamlessly housed within the new building when it came to the space plan, with plenty of discreet meeting areasalso provided, as well as partner offices, providing the confidential environments end-user clients needed.
Space-planning formed therefore a major element of the redesign, ensuring future in-built flexibility not only for potential growth, but to incorporate archive storage space, as the traditionally paper-heavy company continues its migration towards reduced use of paper. The new space-plan for the 12,500 sq ft building includes a new front-of-house and reception area; five small meeting rooms, four individual offices for partners, a tea-point, post-room and several areas of open desking on the ground floor. The first floor,meanwhile, incorporatesa large kitchen/break-out space, the main boardroom, a training room and furniture store, further partner officesand a large expanse of open-plan desking, including desks for future expansion.
‘Our main challenge when it came to the design schemewas that the building is fairly long and narrow’, align Director and Co-founder Nigel Tresiseadded, ‘meaning thatour scheme was all about countering thatimpression as far as possible by adding a variety of sightlines, whilst also working with some of the existing divisions of space, plus other new interventions. We removed a number of pre-existing divisions, especially in the ground floor areabetween the existing stair and lobby, to create a cohesive and connected arrival area. The idea was that whether you’re arriving for a meeting, a training day or your ordinary workday, the journey to your destination would be simple and self-evident.’
The design brief from FoxleyKinghamwas to balance the company’s discreet, understated, confidential and to some degree segmented way of working with a new contemporary, pared-back and elegant materiality. This manifested in exposed services anduntreated concrete columns, as well as back-painted glass andslick and angular black aluminium frameworks. A calming overall colour palette was employed for the scheme, with a neutral base of blacks, whites and greys, together withputty and olive green highlights.
The furniture is a mix of new andvintage, with all new items supplied by Broadbase, including items by Hitch Mylius, Ocee, Vitra, Muuto, Orangeboxand Naughtone. Flooringis a mix of timber-effect vinyl and dark grey carpeting, with more patterned feature carpetsused for the meeting and board rooms, sourced variously from Interface, Shaw Carpets and Forbo. The lighting scheme is a mix of feature pendants and LED linear strips,which add to and accentuate the scheme’s clean lines. Wallcoverings follow a geometric theme for the most part, featuring the W1-W5 papers from Tektura, with some additional nature-inspired papers used in the meeting spaces, featuring birds, flowers and trees by Tektura Digital and Cole & Son, which help to bring the outside in. Planting is integrated throughout.
‘We are delighted with the result of this project and also with the way we were engaged throughout the process with the design team, who gave us great guidance at every stage as to what would work and how to get the best from the asset’, Paul Bithrey, Director of FoxleyKinghamcommented. ‘Our team are really enjoying being in their new working environment and it is proving fantastic for morale. Our clients have also been very impressed and we’ve had great feedback from them too.’
Photographer credit: Franklin + Franklin
Interior architecture and design: align
Lead contractor: PAC
Furniture supplier: Broadbase
Carpets: Interface, Forbo, Shaw Contract
Wallcoverings: Cole & Son, Tektura, Barracuda, Patternistas
align, co-founded by Directors Nigel Tresise and Gurvinder Khurana, is a London-based interior architecture and design practice, specialising in workplace design, but also active across a variety of sectors, including hospitality and residential interiors. The company won the Gold Award at The London Design Awards 2019 in the Corporate & Commercial for its workplace scheme for Macquarie Group and Gold at the same awards in 2018 for Spark44 at The White Collar Factory on Old Street Roundabout, within a building developed by Derwent London. The company was also named ‘Best Small Practice’ at the London Design Awards 2019. www.aligngb.com