South Yorkshire Housing Association
Transforming a run down, standard office space, into a new inspirational, contemporary home for this hugely important social housing charity.
Consultancy & Spatial Planning
3D and 2D visualisation
“People expect Google to have beautiful offices, but not a charitable organisation in Sheffield. The feedback from our teams shows that design and beauty in places where they are least expected can have a positive effect on wellbeing and make people feel valued. At South Yorkshire Housing Association, we believe that everyone has a right to beauty and joy, especially people who didn’t expect to experience either.”
Miranda Plowden, Business Development Director, SYHA
When Sheffield’s largest social landlord, South Yorkshire Housing Association, decided to invest in a new workspace, it was clear from day one that we needed to deliver an interior that was truly inspirational and unique for this important charitable organisation.
We collaborated with Sheffield based artist, Jonathan Wilkinson who is inspired by the brutalist surroundings of the City’s urban landscape, to design a unique carpet that complemented our approach.
Recognising the need to push beyond the standard office fit-out, we designed and manufactured 50 desks throughout. This provided the unique opportunity of a tailored system and colour way for the client. The desks were designed to be more akin to a large meeting table, which creates more of a teamwork experience and improves hot desking.
Every last detail was considered to ensure the company’s purpose linked intrinsically to the workspace and we delivered an interior that was not only relevant now, but still valid years down the line.
The ground floor, designed as the kitchen and lounge, has an instantly warm and welcoming feel. We exposed and painted the statement concrete waffle slab to maximise the generous high-ceilinged space, encouraging people to meet, settle, chat and socialise together.
Employee wellbeing lies at the heart of the entire design of the building. We developed the ‘earth’ concept for our creative expression, taking cues from natural earth palettes and materiality, many of it reminiscent of the South Yorkshire landscape. This approach resulted in a calm softness throughout, encouraging people to feel welcomed, comfortable and relaxed.
The middle three floors are the ‘engine rooms’ of the building. To help make sense of these spaces, we developed a plywood spine wall concept. Running along the building’s footprint at around 25 metres each, they create a natural divide between the services side of these floors and the working side. These spine walls work hard, containing not only tons of storage but also Me and We pods, and full height cork boards for ad-hoc meetings.
Most housing associations have ended up with essentially the same office formula, which is a modernish, medium-sized office block in some sort of business park, with an unmemorable external appearance and all looking very similar inside…it would have been so, so disappointing if we had had to settle for something like that. To not only avoid that pitfall but to get something so impressive, that’s just brilliant!
John Jeffries, Board Member, SYHA
A common ethos between 93 and South Yorkshire Housing Association - the design maintained an approach, that facilitated involving as many local trades and craftsmen as possible, including joiners, metal fabricators, concrete, builders, artists, and designers. The reception and kitchen worktops were made by our studio’s neighbours, Kelham Concrete, using ceramic that has been recycled from homes.