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16 November 2015

HOK and Overbury Deliver New London Headquarters for Hachette UK

Hachette atrium HOK

HOK’s interior design team and fit-out contractor Overbury have transformed the central London headquarters of publishing leader Hachette UK into a contemporary, 100,000-sq.-ft. workspace.

Hachette’s move into Carmelite House, which is located in a prime position on Victoria Embankment and was the original headquarters of Lord Northcliffe’s publishing empire, brings together the company’s seven publishing divisions under one roof for the first time. HOK’s plan creates a work environment that enables each division to maintain its own identity within the overall Hachette brand while facilitating collaboration and a sense of community.

Using ‘the family’ as a metaphor for Hachette’s publishing divisions, HOK drew on inspiration from the design of the classic family home to create the shared and dedicated spaces. Each publishing division is seen as a family member and provided with its own designated areas, such as meeting rooms and arrival points, which encapsulate its brand personality. Shared spaces include the reception, non-dedicated meeting spaces, kitchen and break-out areas.

Hachette Cafe HOK

“The move to Carmelite House has given us the opportunity to change the way we work,” said Clare Harington, group communications director at Hachette UK. “HOK and Overbury delivered everything we asked for and our staff and authors are delighted with the result. Every floor reflects the individual identities of our publishing divisions. The crowning glory is the roof terrace and café that have, very possibly, the best views in London. We are thrilled to be here and grateful to HOK and Overbury for designing and delivering a fantastic building.”

HOK’s design creates an inviting, agile work environment with many activity-based areas for individual and group work. Arrival spaces for individual divisions offer an immediate, customized brand experience that can be seen on each of the five floors from the central atrium, creating a smooth transition between shared and divisional spaces. The fully open-plan office space encourages company-wide collaboration and communication, removing all private offices and eliminating physical barriers between colleagues.

“Hachette’s move to Carmelite House has provided an opportunity for the organization to reflect its renewed business strategy in the design of its landmark headquarters building,” said Andy Warner Lacey, interior design team leader at HOK in London. “Connected by shared facilities, including a communal atrium and lift core, the seven individual companies have retained their brand personalities under one roof through customized aspects of the design.”

Hachette Cafe HOK

The pavilion café on the sixth floor takes advantage of the building’s outdoor space, extending through large glass doors to a 7,600-sq.-ft. landscaped rooftop terrace, complete with flowerbeds and grass areas with sweeping views of the London skyline. This café space acts as a gathering area to foster collaboration, encouraging employees who come to the building from different offices to interact and engage with each other. The dedication of this space to all staff, rather than to an executive function, has had a significant impact on the organization’s culture.

As the former office of Associated Newspapers, Carmelite House has a Grade II listed brick facade dating back to the late 1890s and is recognized as an early surviving example of newspaper architecture along Fleet Street. HOK’s design retains an iron staircase, lift and several wall paintings as important examples of decorative commercial architecture.

“Following the pioneering spirit of Lord Northcliffe, Hachette UK is now responsible for the next chapter of publishing history at this unique site and we’re delighted to have helped realize that dream,” said Chris Booth, group managing director of Overbury. “The original purpose of the building has been brought back to life. Reflecting the diversity of the individual publishing brands, the high quality internal fit-out of the workspace needed to be varied and interesting to showcase the unique characteristics of each business. In the end, the project team, guided by HOK’s vision, came together to create an office environment that encapsulates a new collaborative culture and era for Hachette UK.”

HOK provided consulting and interior design, with Overbury as main contractor. APS was the project manager and quantity surveyor. Other consultants included the Anslow Partnership as mechanical and electrical engineer and WSP as structural engineer.

Video courtesy of Overbury