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Oil Exploration We’re in sunny Kingston-uponThames – with an emphasis on the word sunny. Despite the fact that it’s now October and this morning’s forecast is alerting us to the fact that Grampian can ‘look forward’ to light snow blizzards later in the day, the weather here could rival Kingston, Jamaica.

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Case Study


ohn Robertson Architects (JRA) has designed and implemented the 8,200 sq m interior design of the new UK headquarters for Saipem, which comprises two interconnected offices overlooking Kingston rail station, in the heart of the town. We remove our jackets and make our way across to the impressive looking facility. Saipem, part of the Italian Eni group, is a large, international turnkey contractor in the oil and gas industry, with a strong bias towards oil and gas related activities in remote areas and is a leader in the provision of engineering, procurement, project management and construction services with distinctive capabilities in the design and the execution of large-scale offshore and onshore projects. Globally, Saipem employs over 40,000 people comprising more than 110 nationalities. We are met by JRA’s Practice Director Festus Moffat and Associate Angela Jeng, and immediately ask about the background to the project. ‘Moving its UK operations onto a single site gave Saipem the opportunity to focus on the quality and consistency of its workplace environment for staff and visitors,’ Festus considers. ‘The aspiration for the project was to deliver a Central Londonquality headquarters in the centre of Kingston.’ The original brief, Festus reveals, was to relocate the 622 staff located in Saipem’s previous UK headquarters in New Malden and another satellite office, something that had become necessary due to an expanding work load. Using the lease break as the opportunity to re-examine how they worked, as well as what their staff needed from their work environment and facilities, they decided to move to a refurbished shell and core building in Kingston. A sign of this expansion is immediately evident, as we are told that, just months later, that the figure of 622 has already risen to 850! One of the key drivers for the fit-out was the programme, which required that the building refurbishment and fit-out be completed in sufficient time to enable Saipem to vacate their existing premises. Any delay would have had significant financial implications. 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4

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Case Study This 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 new home was to reflect the company values and strong Italian identity of the parent company and many of the staff. ‘The landlord improved the atrium and the entrance here,’ Festus explains as we enter the impressive, open and bright atrium/reception. ‘There is good parking around the back, although Saipem’s satellite office was already in Kingston, so they already have people working and living in the town. ‘The facilities surrounding this space are also vastly improved from where they were.’ JRA worked closely with Saipem at the due diligence stage of the project to tailor the Landlord CAT A solution to suit the enhanced density of 1 in 8 that Saipem would be looking to occupy the building at – to allow for future (and current) expansion. This included adapting the CAT A ceilings, mechanical and electrical installations to reflect the final layout, reducing waste and abortive effort in delivering the finished product as well as enhancing the landlord provision for cycle parking and showers to reflect the staff requirements for these facilities. ‘There are a lot of Italian staff at Saipem, and as well as those based here, they have people coming in from projects abroad to work in London for short periods of time,’ Festus continues. ‘The client required that a number of global standards had to be applied to make the building friendly to visitors. They were keen that there was a feeling of consistency with their sites around the world and that is reflected in much of the detailing and also in the systems applied here. We applied lots of graphics and images from Saipem’s corporate image library to the breakout areas and manifestations to underline this consistency. It was also important for them that there was good coffee available! ‘There are two entrances – one is very much the visitor reception and there is also a staff reception. The main visitor reception is about a front-facing organisation, and has the scale and finishes to match. Saipem’s staff work in project teams throughout the building, and they host client teams who work here as well. For privacy, the client teams work in secure private office areas within the building – obviously Saipem doesn’t want people walking around seeing other clients’ projects. ‘This scheme is quite a departure from Saipem’s previous office accommodation and consequently there was a slight fear that the staff would not react well to the 4 new 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4

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Case Study and new facilities such as breakout space 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 areas and informal meeting spaces. Thankfully, they have adapted really well and are already changing the way they work to make use of them.’ JRA also worked extremely closely with the Saipem project team to maximise usable space on the irregular floorplates, fitting 91 cellular offices, 21 meeting rooms and 850 workstations into a space which seamlessly spans the two buildings. ‘We had to look at the Day 2 scenario – where we’re faced with more people coming into the building,’ Festus explains, ‘but also the Day 3 scenario, where we might have fewer people in the building at some stage in the future. We designed-in the flexibility to allow Saipem to expand the office, but also contract it back into the one building if necessary.’ The visual application of the Saipem brand throughout the project gives the space a unified, businesslike ambiance. Large-scale graphic silhouettes of the company’s drilling platforms and shipping are used in meeting rooms, breakout and informal working spaces, while, as Festus alluded to a little earlier, landscape photography from around the world is applied at large-scale to the walls in the tea points and resource areas. Light fittings, which are embedded in the walls, are incorporated into the illustrations, adding a strongly graphic linear element to the artwork. ‘There are two different sized tea points on each floor and they alternate in colour to aid wayfinding,’ Angela reveals. ‘We have the management suite at the front of the space on the third floor and meeting rooms and the office core sweep around the rest of the two buildings. ‘We also worked on the cores to help with wayfinding and encourage people to use the stairs.’ The graphic style developed for the wall art within the breakout spaces is repeated in frosted glass patterns that wrap around the meeting rooms and in the large scale graphics developed for the façade. Brilliant

essential ingredients |

Client • Saipem | Interior Design • JRA | M&E • Cundall

Project Manager • Deloitte Real Estate | Main Contractor • Overbury Furniture Supply • Workscape

Carpets • Shaw Contract Group

Systems Furniture • Herman Miller

Timber Flooring • Junckers

Bespoke Office Joinery • Hands

Glazed Partitions • Optima

Bespoke Teapoint Joinery • Dealerward

Accent Lighting • The Light Lab

Meeting Room Joinery • Howard Bros

Reception & Breakout Furniture • Arper

Bespoke Graphics • Signbox

Reception & Breakout Furniture • Vitra

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Case Study

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Mix Interiors Case Study Saipem HQ