Optimum Credit is a leading provider of second charge mortgages for homeowners in England, Wales and Scotland. Having successfully completed a Design and Build project for their current premises Imium were contacted by Optimum Credit with an opportunity to design a new space for them over two floors in the Capital Quarter, Cardiff.
The design lead project began with our team engaging with key stakeholders to receive a brief and gain a thorough understanding of how the business worked, made slightly more challenging as the company was going through a merger. This meant that any design proposals would need to take into consideration the change in staff numbers, ethos and branding that would be taking place over the coming months/years.
Optimum Credit approached Imium in early 2019 to Design, Develop, and Deliver their new premises at 4 Capital Quarter, Cardiff. Imium had previously designed and delivered Haywood House, the home to Optimum Credit for the past 5 years, but due to the great success and development of the business they quickly outgrew the premises and needed to relocate to one that would comfortably accommodate their current staff numbers and also allow them to grow in line with their ambitions.
Imium engaged with Optimum Credit’s leadership team to establish a brief and begin to plan a workspace that will cater to the needs of the growing business. The primary focus for the design team was to ensure that the layout of the new space provided the work stations, meeting rooms, private offices, agile zones and break out spaces that the leadership team had highlighted. It was essential that the new office also allowed for staff expansion and catered for the varying needs of the workforce going forward, giving them opportunities to work both collaboratively and as individuals. The design team analysed the space and produced 2D plans, 3D renders and 3D video walkthroughs to communicate their ideas, which were presented over the course of several client engagement sessions. Once the functional aspects of the layouts were approved the design process moved on to the look and feel of the space and a full Interior Design scheme was developed. 3D coloured renders of the key areas and finishes samples boxes were produced to bring the scheme to life and visits to local suppliers to test proposed furniture were arranged prior to sign off.
The resulting design is one that creates a modern, functional workplace, immersed with comfortable and interesting zones for team collaboration, quiet study and break out. The finishes are a timeless palette of greys, blacks and pastel tones in various textures ranging from sleek marble hexagonal tiles to soft luxurious high pile carpets. The muted tones give the scheme longevity, allowing the company to apply their own branding to a level of their choosing without feeling overly corporate and in ways that can be easily changed and adapted if required. The main office area has been designed with collaboration in mind, with each department linked via a pathway that offers opportunities for break out and collaboration along the way. There are a range of varying agile zones dispersed throughout each floor, including a comfortable work lounge on the 5th floor which will be used as a waiting zone and an ad hoc informal meeting area adjacent to the boardroom. Large work tables with power and localised lighting provide areas for people to drop in and work on laptops and tablets, either for hot desking or for a place to escape their desk. Four individual study booths in one of the larger break out spaces provide an area for quiet study and assist Optimum Credit’s support of students and workplace learning, while larger four-person meeting booths alleviate the issue of more formal meeting spaces being used for informal chats.,
The various Exco offices in each department are able to accommodate smaller meetings between management and their teams, meaning that the meeting suite near to the main reception can be reserved for clients and visitors, away from the open-plan office. In addition to the more functional and formal parts of the office, the break out spaces have been designed to suit large company gatherings, group lunches, 1-2-1 conversations and agile working. Large kitchens on both floors comfortably accommodate the needs of the growing workforce during breaks and provide an area for hosting after work social events. Acoustic ceiling panels with integrated lighting, a biophilic moss feature wall and warm timber finishes give the space a very different feel from the working office environment and offer staff a change of scenery without leaving the building.
The end result has not only given Optimum Credit a workspace that meets the original brief by accommodating the numbers that they need but also supports and encourages an agile and collaborative work force.