The Aew Architects office in Trinity was designed by the firm’s in-house interior design team. Credit: Midi Photography
The award-winning architecture firm has designed a new home with Instagram-worthy views, implementing its sustainability principles while providing seamless hybrid work integration.
Aew Architects moved from the Zenith Building on Spring Gardens to Helical’s Trinity near John Dalton Street last year.
The company’s in-house interior design team, led by Director Danielle Purves, was tasked with creating a space that would fit Aew’s “Together We” culture today and into the future.
It was a task that Purves did not take lightly.
“Designing for your peers is one of the hardest things you can do — especially designing for an office full of designers,” she said.
Purves’ mandate was to create an office for a post-pandemic world, which meant considering hybrid working from the start.
Purves and his team focused on what people could and couldn’t do at home and tried to find the best way to bridge the gap between the two. This meant creating an office that provided space for socializing and collaborating.
But the office also needed to be able to allow their teams to interact with each other, whether physically present or remotely.
“It’s very important to make sure that whether you’re at your home office or the office in Manchester, you can work between the two seamlessly,” Purves said.
This meant upgrading and sustaining the IT infrastructure. All meeting rooms also have dual screens, allowing you to invite team members and clients virtually.
The office also had to be flexible, able to accommodate the entire staff on a much smaller floor space than Aew had before. The new office is 20% smaller than the previous one, with Aew taking up 5,588 square feet on Trinity’s seventh floor.
With this in mind, Purves arranged the space to have a mix of fixed workstations, shared office areas, cubicles and individual focus pods.
“You have a lot of different pitches that can be used to fit the job you’re doing at the time,” Purves explained.
There are also a variety of meeting rooms of different sizes, with the company comfortably accommodating meetings of two people up to an office party.
The firm also has a virtual reality room. It is a place where clients can “walk through” the design of a building. This room has a flexible wall that can be removed to further expand the main meeting room on the other side.
“We wanted to create flexibility and adaptability, not just for today, but also for the future,” Purves said. “We want to be here in the Trinity building for years to come, so we needed to make sure we are sustainable in our design, creating flexibility that would allow us to put in more fixed offices if that was what was needed. .”
The office features a biophilic design with plants as well as large windows offering breathtaking 360 degree views over Manchester. Natural light can fill the space, and it’s not uncommon to see people step out onto one of the three terraces to take an Instagram photo of the view.
This aligns with general manager Andrew Rainford’s goal for the space.
“We really wanted to create an inspiring office space where the team would want to come back to the office,” Rainford said.
Continuing its sustainability efforts, Aew encourages active travel by making bike shops and showers available to workers.
The architecture firm also chose to take over most of its existing furniture and even installed the carpet tiles from its old office in the new space. Any new piece of furniture purchased has been chosen after considering its potential longevity, durability credentials and ability to various features. What could not be reused from the old desk was donated to charity.
The design of the office was an opportunity to show what Aew can do to provide a suitable space for the future workforce.
“We practice what we preach,” Rainford said. “We have embraced hybrid working. We have adopted sustainability as a practice. We do everything possible for the health and well-being of our people.
“We did it ourselves and it was really, really successful,” Rainford continued. “We would love to work with others to be able to provide them with the same type of results.”
The new office follows another successful fiscal year, with the company increasing net sales by 6%. It has registered over 200 new projects in the past year, many of them in the industrial and hospitality sectors. The company is also continuing its regeneration projects for the town, including Oldham Council’s Spindles scheme and the development of Stockport Council’s storage room.
Aew has experienced more than just fiscal growth – the company has also grown its staff to over 80 members and made a number of strategic appointments and promotions.
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