UK-based Morey Smith design studio creates a sustainable, modern-meets-vintage interior for Coca Cola’s new headquarters in London.
A brand with a long-standing heritage, requirements of a modern office and the punch-line of ‘happiness in a bottle’ – how can you combine these essentials in one space? The answer lies in an out-of-the-box design as done by the UK-based Morey Smith for Coca Cola’s new office in London.
Located in Wimpole Street, London W1, Coca-Cola Company’s new London headquarters is a 66,000 sq ft office space that’s spread over five floors. It has 350 employees coming from different parts of Europe. Apart from an open plan office space, there are meeting rooms, hot desk facilities, a roof terrace and a café.
Smith has designed the space around the theme of Coca-Cola’s long heritage combined with the brand’s ability to diversify and move with the times. “The brief was to create a new working environment bespoke to Coca-Cola’s working culture. Using the brand’s iconic history, we have created a space, which also draws upon the vibrant energy of the organisation,” said studio founder Linda Morey Smith. She adds, “The result is an environment for team happiness with uplifting and comfortable spaces for staff and visitors to work, meet, collaborate and socialise.”
Old meets new
The building was originally designed in 1912 by Architect John Belcher as the home of Royal Society of Medicine. Its interior was stripped back to the shell and redesigned to incorporate a large 1980s extension to the back. Commenting on the new office interiors, Sarah Hutton, Human Resources Director, Coca-Cola Company said, “The new office creates an inspiring and motivating place to work, which celebrates the heritage of the Coca-Cola Company and reflects the values and culture of our brand. The move into the heart of the West End will bring us closer to many of our key partners and agencies.”
Smith has worked hard to ensure that both the contrasting spaces are fluid in their design to ensure a link between heritage and contemporary. The arrival experience at the reception (expansive feature wall) sets the tone for the rest of the building. A staircase runs through the centre of the building with a backdrop displaying the company’s heritage, featuring the iconic Coca-Cola memorabilia with designs and advertising from the archives. Part of the wall includes LED-lit sections made up of 5,000 recycled Coca-Cola bottles, which extends up to the height of the building.
At the heart of the building, hanging from the second floor into the reception, is a specially commissioned piece of art by award-winning British designer Stuart Haygarth. The four-metre high comet shaped artwork features over 30,000 acrylic ice chunks, suspended on ultra-fine wires and illuminated by LEDs. “I wanted to create something that was literally out of this world, powerful, dynamic and that would glow with energy – it had to make people stop in their tracks,” asserts Haygarth.
Red – the key colour of Coca-Cola’s branding – is used for furniture and lighting fixtures throughout the interior. A patchwork of materials and patterns breaks up the floor surfaces. Employees can also use the roof terrace that has café furniture and offers breathtaking views of the city.
Sustainability has been at the heart of the refit programme with the building achieving the SKA Gold rating in recognition. The building also includes features such as extensive LED lighting throughout and Photovoltaic (PV) cells on the roof to generate electricity for the building.
With a heritage seeped in hard work and dedication, looking towards a future of spreading happiness, Coca-Cola’s new London office befits the invigorating culture it represents.
Total Area: 8,000 sq ft
Project Managers and Workplace strategy: CBRE
Architecture and Interior Design: MoreySmith
Mechanical and Electrical Engineers: Medland Metropolis
Quantity Surveyors: Core Five
Contractors: BW interiors
Structural Engineers: Price and Myers
Art installation: Stuart Haygarth
Coca-Cola feature wall: Acrylicize
Text: S Iyer
Meet the designer Linda Morey Smith
Firm: MoreySmith founded in 1993.
Firm specialisation: Commercial, workplace, development, leisure and residential projects.
Design philosophy: To deliver beautifully designed projects which reflect and embody the client, their brand ethos and needs. Projects are undertaken by employing a strategic approach underpinned with design-led and detail-focused thinking.