Close Brothers

A smarter way to expand boundaries

Project Details

Client
Close Brothers
Status
Complete
Type
Cat B
Size
60000 sq ft
Location
Holborn

Close Brothers, a modern merchant bank with 150 years of history, used to occupy three central London workspaces. Now they’re down to two. They haven’t downsized, taken on a massive amount of floor space, or crammed people in like sardines, instead, they’ve redesigned their workplace for the future and inspired positive change for thousands of people in the process. So when a 150-year legacy meets ambition to make agile working mainstream, it’s only right that the physical space supports it.

What it takes to reposition after 150 years

Consolidating Close Brothers’ offices from three buildings to two would be easy if we ignored the 1,500 or so people directly affected by the move. Thankfully, that’s not how Thirdway or Close Brothers operate.

Our objectives were to:

  • Provide the best experience to employees, customers and clients
  • Value and nurture diversity of thought
  • Provide genuine wellbeing for all

Initial consultation

To enable us to achieve this, we needed to know the client better than they know themselves. A 13-week consultancy programme gave us quantitative and qualitative data to inform future-looking decisions.

  • Leadership workshops
  • Employee interviews
  • On-site surveys
  • Occupancy studies
  • Maturity mapping
  • Ideation sessions

Our engagements led to a full maturity map detailing the support each team will need throughout the change process. With the foundation and aspirations of the brand in mind, we worked up a comprehensive change strategy with confident recommendations for space, technology and culture solutions.

Space

Ideas thrive in agile working zones while on the same floor, someone is deep in focus in a small library room. People recharge around the tea point or take their beverage (or work) to a soft seating booth. However people feel comfortable working, there’s a space.

Technology

Technology can be the source of celebration or frustration, depending on how it fits with the way we work. We guided Close Brothers through a technology workshop to identify those frustrations and implement better solutions across the organisation. Solutions to celebrate because they enable a better way of working.

Culture

It’s hard to define and even harder to influence but supporting positive culture is a crucial factor in change management. Our early consultation work identified potential stumbling blocks to rolling out a redefined workplace, and their counterparts in cultural enablers. These insights allowed us to develop a 12-18-month roadmap to support cultural change including consolidating operations, restacking and refurbishing their space.

Layout and palette

Defined by the brand’s sophistication and timeless elegance, we designed an attentive office layout that is both highly professional and insightfully functional.

Client suite

Merchant banking groups need an impressive place to meet with clients. Close Brothers now have an entire floor dedicated to client receptions and big meetings, including a full catering kitchen and multifunctional suites. Bespoke joinery and an elegant meeting suite make a great first impression as visitors wait in reception.

Sustainable well-being

Plenty of greenery, abundant natural light, access to the ground floor courtyard and space to switch off all support employee wellbeing. And they can rest easy knowing we sourced recycled materials, reconditioned furniture, and used only UK suppliers, to minimise the building’s carbon footprint. Furthermore, Close Brothers decided to partner with both our charity, Thirdway Trust, and Toilet Twinning, to “twin” all 53 of their toilets. In return, this funded the build of life-saving toilets in local communities within countries such as Malawi, Uganda and Zimbabwe to name a few.

Culture and consistency

With so much space over two buildings, we needed a consistent motif that subtly reminded people of the brand they built. Inspiration came in a unique vinyl graphic applied to glass partitions throughout the space.

Delivery

The delivery of this project was extremely challenging with it being an occupied building and having the added pressure of the pandemic made it even more tricky to navigate. Overall, the build team were able to overcome every issue that they came up against and delivered a high-quality product within budget and most importantly on time.

 

Making change work

Thirdway is helping to define the workspace of the future. It’s projects like Close Brothers that demonstrate the art of the possible. The ambitious change management programme touched every level of the business, and all that’s left is for Close Brothers employees, clients and visitors alike to enjoy their new home.

Get in touch to find out what’s possible when you champion a people-first approach to office design.

MEET THE TEAM

Matt Constantinou

Matt Constantinou

Senior Designer
Trish Watson

Trish Watson

Managing Director
Joe White

Joe White

Project Manager
Luke Griffin

Luke Griffin

Director of Business Development
Rob South

Rob South

Head of Technical Design
Sam Carey

Sam Carey

Director

LET'S CHAT

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