89,400 sq ft
With plans to expand, communications company Skype wanted to fit-out a new office for their UK staff. Part of Microsoft since 2011, the company had wished to move to a warehouse-style building. Following advice, it opted for a more traditional space in Two Waterhouse Square in Holborn, which gave it the location and floor-plate needed to accommodate its staff and express its forward-thinking ethos.
The practice created a working environment that would fit the various teams within Skype from designers to engineers and support services. Work areas were designed specifically for each of these teams, creating individual ‘neighbourhoods’ within the larger office. A ‘Chill’ area was created as a central gathering space for informal meetings and hot-desking, meetings and launches, flexible ‘Scrum’ areas for engineering teams and other meeting spaces added from casual break-out spaces to formal rooms. A key challenge was to add good acoustics while maintaining an open and flexible design, integrating technology throughout and enabling Skype to communicate with peers across the world.
A central staircase was added to connect floors, helping circulation and adding branding with pendant lighting that made abstract reference to the Skype logo. The Skype office was shortlisted for BCO London and South East Awards in 2014.