Leading office interior design, fit out and refurbishment specialist Morgan Lovell starts 25,000 sq ft project for AMC Networks International to bring together all UK employees under one roof for the first time.
AMC, a renowned broadcaster responsible for bringing shows like Breaking Bad, Fear the Walking Dead and Mad Men to UK televisions, wanted a dynamic and ‘destination’ workplace that unified its workforce who are currently split across three buildings. The fit out will start this week, after months of research and careful planning.
Together with AMC, Morgan Lovell has defined a workplace strategy and office design that represents the values of the business and meets the needs of its employees. The first phase involved a time utilisation study, online workplace survey, interviews and a workshop with senior leaders. This research revealed five distinct working styles unique to AMC and helped the design team devise a set of ‘golden’ principles to guide the second phase of the project, the design process.
Almost 50% of employees prioritised collaboration above all else, with around two thirds saying that they wanted more informal spaces to meet, socialise and work with their colleagues. Other priorities included ease of movement around the office, varied working environments and a feeling of community. To meet this need, Morgan Lovell has designed a variety of meeting spaces and multipurpose break out areas to encourage movement and interaction between floors. Workplace ‘platforms’ are part of the design too, including designated desk space or ‘touchdown zones’ and alternative work settings, encouraging staff that the desk isn’t the sole place to work.
Marianne Paulsen, designer at Morgan Lovell, says: “We are delighted to be working with AMC to create a new headquarters for its UK staff. We have been with them right from the start of the journey and our design reflects what we have learnt, accommodating their different working styles and growth plans for the future. Each member of staff will have their own desk and we have introduced a number of hot desks and touchdown benches to support visitors and freelancers. The final space will be inviting and help staff collaborate, create and contemplate throughout the day. Our workplace study found that the previous meeting room utilisation was only around 50%, so contemplation spaces and specialist suites have been created to allow ad-hoc individual use. There are also a number of breakout areas and anchor spaces, including a central staff café on the ground floor, to encourage staff to move around the building.”
A feature split staircase will also be built on the ground floor as an impressive statement that supports the brand experience and functionality of the building. The arrival experience of staff and visitors is important in the design and the staircase provides an important flow of people to the upper floors. It also encourages communication through movement, and eases the travel route from open plan to shared social space.
In terms of finishes, Marianne adds that storage and light were two key considerations of the design. Roller racking and clever storage solutions have been specified to offer compact, space-efficient storage for hundreds of VHS tapes, while glare-reducing black desks and ambient lighting will help those editing and watching shows on a screen.
Specialist areas to support the renewed focus on IT infrastructure have been given careful attention too, including AMC’s very own cinema, audio booths, editing suites and a ‘genius bar’ style IT helpdesk.
Rob Stewart, chief finance officer for AMC Networks UK, comments: “The upgrade of our UK headquarters and the decision to move all our staff under one roof will help encourage greater collaboration and communication within the business, supporting future growth and employee wellbeing. We are delighted to have spent time working with Morgan Lovell and look forward to seeing the project unfold in the coming months.”