Accountancy and business advisory firm Foxley Kingham celebrated its 50th year in business in 2019. At the same time, the company decided it had outgrown its central Luton premises, owned on freehold for 25 years, and that it was the right time to move to provide for future growth and embrace the next 50 years of business success. The company appointed multi-award-winning workspace specialists align to design their ideal new workplace for them.
The new premises Foxley Kingham sought needed to incorporate better facilities, offer room for expansion and provide increased car-parking spaces for staff. The perfect site, which also needed to be local, was located in the form of purpose-built, self-contained offices on the Butterfield Industrial Estate in Stopsley, on the outskirts of Luton. The standalone building, built in the early 2000s, offered a two-storey footprint with plenty of room for growth – enough in fact for the company to double in size in the longer run from its current 60-strong headcount.
‘The new premises necessitated both Cat A and Cat B works’, align Director and Co-founder Nigel Tresise commented, ‘in order to function as the client required. The Cat A work we oversaw on the project included a complete overhaul of the building’s electrical systems, including underfloor power and data, as well as new lighting and mechanical ventilation, a new roof covering and a cleaned-up external façade.’
In addition to offering multi-industry accountancy services, Foxley Kingham had developed several specialist arms over the years, including Foxley Kingham Medical, which specialises in work with GP practices and FoxKash, a payment service provision for small businesses such as pubs and building companies, who need to pay PAYE staff on a weekly basis. The company also offers business advice, with the company’s Managing Partner acting as a virtual FD for a number of external businesses, as well as being a non-executive Director of several more. All these arms and functions of the company needed to be seamlessly housed within the new building when it came to the space plan, with plenty of discreet meeting areas also provided, as well as partner offices, providing the confidential environments end-user clients needed.
Space-planning formed therefore a major element of the redesign, ensuring future in-built flexibility not only for potential growth, but to incorporate archive storage space, as the traditionally paper-heavy company continues its migration towards reduced use of paper. The new space-plan for the 12,500 sq ft building includes a new front-of-house and reception area; five small meeting rooms, four individual offices for partners, a tea-point, post-room and several areas of open desking on the ground floor. The first floor, meanwhile, incorporates a large kitchen/break-out space, the main boardroom, a training room and furniture store, further partner offices and a large expanse of open-plan desking, including desks for future expansion.
‘Our main challenge when it came to the design scheme was that the building is fairly long and narrow’, align Director and Co-founder Nigel Tresise added, ‘meaning that our scheme was all about countering that impression as far as possible by adding a variety of sightlines, whilst also working with some of the existing divisions of space, plus other new interventions. We removed a number of pre-existing divisions, especially in the ground floor area between the existing stair and lobby, to create a cohesive and connected arrival area. The idea was that whether you’re arriving for a meeting, a training day or your ordinary workday, the journey to your destination would be simple and self-evident.’
The design brief from Foxley Kingham was to balance the company’s discreet, understated, confidential and to some degree segmented way of working with a new contemporary, pared-back and elegant materiality. This manifested in exposed services and untreated concrete columns, as well as back-painted glass and slick and angular black aluminium frameworks. A calming overall colour palette was employed for the scheme, with a neutral base of blacks, whites and greys, together with putty and olive green highlights.
The furniture is a mix of new and vintage, with all new items supplied by Broadbase, including items by Hitch Mylius, Ocee, Vitra, Muuto, Orangebox and Naughtone. Flooring is a mix of timber-effect vinyl and dark grey carpeting, with more patterned feature carpets used for the meeting and board rooms, sourced variously from Interface, Shaw Carpets and Forbo. The lighting scheme is a mix of feature pendants and LED linear strips, which add to and accentuate the scheme’s clean lines. Wallcoverings follow a geometric theme for the most part, featuring the W1-W5 papers from Tektura, with some additional nature-inspired papers used in the meeting spaces, featuring birds, flowers and trees by Tektura Digital and Cole & Son, which help to bring the outside in. Planting is integrated throughout.
‘We are delighted with the result of this project and also with the way we were engaged throughout the process with the design team, who gave us great guidance at every stage as to what would work and how to get the best from the asset’, Paul Bithrey, Director of Foxley Kingham commented. ‘Our team are really enjoying being in their new working environment and it is proving fantastic for morale. Our clients have also been very impressed and we’ve had great feedback from them too.’