International Investment Bank

Overseeing a Comprehensive Refurbishment

Committing to a long-term vision for their business and workforce, our client (an International Investment Firm) purchased the seven-storey office block they occupied. Its dated interiors were incompatible with modern working practices, so the client appointed MLA to oversee a comprehensive refurbishment.

Bespoke curved feature wall and breakout space

Cellular offices and limited common workspace had left employees siloed and feeling isolated from the wider team. Uninspiring décor, little opportunity for interaction and poor workplace culture were not beneficial for employees or for the business.

Prioritising the attraction and retention of the best talent, the client needed a workspace that worked for everyone!

Shelving units with objets and planting then a nook space in blue with lounge furniture visible in the middle

Understanding Business Needs

A programme of discovery and exploration was undertaken by MLA. At the outset, workshops were organised to involve stakeholders and understand their needs and goals.

To achieve their goal of fostering teamwork, innovation and to support diverse workstyles, a fresh approach was required. Challenging norms and engaging the staff to consider a new way of working were key. Facilitating the many tasks carried out, an agile, stimulating and flexible workspace was proposed.

Handrawn diagram of floor layout beside inspirational images of furniture and colour palette blues, neutrals and pink

Transformational Concept

Together with the client and within the limits of the unusual layout, MLA devised a transformational concept.

Three different types of space – Public, Private and ‘Invited’ – were identified as being essential for the successful functioning of the business.

Based around the concept of a central ‘spine’ a variety of work and client spaces, offer choice and increased access to natural light.


Layout of workspace floor with coloured sections to show the varying work areas in an agile workplace

Welcoming and Inviting Space

Smart security technology played an important role in the design. But to ensure public spaces were welcoming, ‘a sense of arrival’ was needed.

Reinforcing brand identity for employees and visitors, an inviting space was created in reception and on every floor. Design inspiration from the brand’s international locations, added personality and impact to the relatively small entrance hall.

Using colourful graphic murals for information, inspiration and wayfinding brought the space to life and added an element of fun.

Man at table checking phone with woman in background making coffee in kitchen. Sign to the right with directions to different areas of the office.

Promoting Wellbeing

Enhancing well-being, sun-mapping was used to introduce more natural daylight from the south facing aspect. Open lounge areas and breakout spaces allowed light to flood in and increase access to the city’s stunning views.

Cellular, private offices were ‘scattered’ through the floorplate rather than occupying a straight run, blocking out light.

Booth style seating with windows behind and a plant to the left

Workplace Culture

Enriching company culture, open plan and ‘touchdown’ spaces were prioritised to encourage social interaction. Added shared spaces for meetings and relaxation, increased opportunities to bring employees together for teamwork and leisure.

Encouraging movement, height adjustable desking has been added. A gym, ping pong tables and cycle storage all promote a more active work environment.

Cycle graphic on orange back wall and bikes stored in foreground

Bespoke Joinery

Bespoke shelving was used to delineate space and add a warm, home from home feel. Skilful joinery maximised the building’s curves, adding practical solutions for unusual spaces. Collaborative ‘nooks’ nestled between meeting rooms provide additional private and focus space.

A set of shelves with plants, books and decorative items displayed. To the right, a glimpse of a games room with a ping pong table.

Branded Colour Palette

Working with key brand colours and the ombre hues of the client’s recent ‘re-brand’ gave the space a distinct look and feel. Pops of colour were introduced with furniture, wall graphics and decorative accessories.

Classic but contemporary, prestigious and sophisticated, the palette reflects the company’s status as a progressive, world leader.

A moodboard of Inspirational images of colour, lighting and textures

Positive Impact

Despite the challenges of reduced in-person meetings due to a global pandemic, the client was closely involved throughout the process. Achieving the positive impact on their team that they had envisioned; their transformed space is a huge success.

Two women playing ping pong on a black table