RCL Foods
Maxine Elphick and Karl Beath
Product Spec Sheet

ElementBrandProduct link
kitchen , topsCaesarstoneCaesarstone Raven
Powder coating productsInterpon Powder Coatings by AkzoNobel
Acoustic panelsAcoustic Worx
Custom designed commercial carpet for projectBelgotex
PartitioningCapco
Paint supplierDulux

Product Spec Sheet
kitchen , tops
Powder coating products
Acoustic panels
Custom designed commercial carpet for project
Partitioning
by Capco
Paint supplier
by Dulux

RCL Foods Head Office

Elphick Proome Architects as Architects

A well-designed office layout was essential for a large corporate like RCL Foods. This award-winning Head Office was the answer. The office design process was a fantastic collaboration between interior designers, novospace, and architects, Elphick Proome. An extraordinary, ultra-modern, functional and truly African work environment was created for their 650 employees, by incorporating a wide variety of meeting and collaboration spaces, test kitchens, public cafe and shop, all arranged around a funky atrium. These different spaces were designed to accommodate the various activities that staff encounter during their workday; allowing for quick 5-minute meetings, boardroom sessions, private phone-calls in the funky phone booth, coffee-breaks and quiet areas to complete focus work.


The striking quadruple volume, fully-glazed atrium is characterised by undulating, glass meeting pods. Connecting the four floors is a steel and timber staircase and a series of interconnecting bridges. The bridges are vital in facilitating and encouraging interaction amongst the staff. Punctuated by colourful seating areas, the bridges become multi-functional spaces where one can enjoy a cup of coffee or an informal meeting in the buzz of the atrium’s activity. The materials are honest: polished concrete, raw steel, exposed brickwork and concrete soffits. Careful consideration was also given to areas that required acoustic comfort. This was achieved by using acoustic panels in brightly-coloured fabrics, suspended from the concrete soffit above.


There are test kitchens and dining facilities on the ground floor, so it is always full of activity. Well-designed corporate messages and culinary-inspired artworks on the walls illustrate what RCL Foods is all about. Design elements such as table-tops resting artfully on oversized pieces of cutlery express the RCL Foods narrative, while bespoke furnishings make for a homely atmosphere. Inspiration is everywhere and quotes decorate spaces with scale and artistic detail. Lastly, one of the most exciting aspects is the rooftop entertainment area which affords views of the Indian Ocean and seems to float in space, suspended and removed from the realities surrounding it.


The ultra-modern and functional head office bagged the “Best Office Interior South Africa” award in the Africa & Arabia 2017 category at the International Property Awards in Dubai in the latter half of last year. It also went on to claim 2017’s “Best Office Interior in Africa” and thereafter, “Best International Office Interior”, in the final stage of the awards, hosted at the Savoy Hotel in London.




RCL Foods head office

Novospace as Architects

Interior design facilitates the way we live our lives and how we function in different spaces. The layout of an office environment significantly influences our ability to collaborate with staff members and clients, the ability to share ideas, communicate and utilize resources to their best potential. Engaging an interior designer from the outset of any corporate project is vital to achieve this, particularly considering that thoughtful office design can drastically boost staff productivity and efficiency.

 

The task was very specific with novospace being required to create a work environment that promoted collaboration and connectivity in a truly African space – a 12000 square metre head office to 650 employees across various business divisions. It was clear that a well-designed office layout would be essential for a large, differentiated business, the space needed to cultivate smooth work flow and attract and retain RCL’s very large human resource base. These demands provoked the need to design spaces for various tasks. A series of different workstations, collaborative spaces, meeting rooms and break-out areas became essential components which took various shapes and forms, depending on frequency of use and specific functional requirements.


There were many project team meetings to resolve a space planning solution that would encourage staff collaboration. An activities-based working environment emerged as the solution, resulting in areas specifically designed to accommodate the various activities that staff encounter daily. Some of the interesting spaces that resulted and define this project include:

  • quick 5-minute meeting rooms
  • boardroom session
  • private phone call booths
  • quiet areas to complete focus work
  • cafes and coffee break spots

The concept behind the space planning was to allow for connectivity, collaboration and flexibility. Business units were grouped in various zones and were placed adjacent to other business units, which allows for optimum synergy between the various stakeholders. Collaboration was engaged through the inclusion of various collaboration booths and connectivity stations, where employees are able to plug into nearby collab stations and chat through projects with team players, instead of occupying valuable meeting rooms. This strategy encourages employees to move away from their open plan desks as not to disrupt their colleagues. Call booths and focus rooms function similarly and provide more private working spaces if necessary, while public meeting rooms and gathering spaces are located on the ground floor where employees meet visitors. The quadruple volume atrium serves as its heart, linking the various meeting, collaboration and work zones and creating a fully connected work environment. The space planning solution intentionally allows all staff, whether at their desks or in a meeting room, to enjoy external views and natural daylight throughout the day.

 

The office design process was an extensive collaboration between the interior designers, novospace, and architects, EPA. The interior design concept that  emerged was termed ‘funky raw’. The idea was to apply honestly expressed textures and materials throughout the building, using polished concrete, exposed brickwork and concrete soffits, rough sawn timber, exposed steel and glass. The building accommodates the full staff compliment over four floors. The floor plates are dissected with a striking quadruple volume glazed atrium and connecting the four floors, is a steel and timber staircase with a series of interconnecting bridges. The bridges are vital in facilitating and encouraging interaction amongst RCL staff. We gave careful consideration to areas that required acoustic treatment and achieved this by using suspended acoustic panels in brightly coloured fabrics. We attached informal meeting bays to promote perchance meetings or cups of coffee within the buzz of the atrium's activity. The branding colours were also weaved into furniture pieces, way finding signage and artwork, yielding a result which is a stunning interaction between the building’s architecture and its interior design.

  • Novospace was part of an extraordinary collaboration to create a bespoke environment and new culture for RCL Foods - an amalgamated business of five individual corporate acquisitions. Required to accommodate 700 people and a multiplicity of different meeting and collaborative spaces, the focus was to create a work environment that attracted and retained the best human resource talent, promoted collaboration and connectivity in a truly African space.
  • A series of different workstation types, collaborative spaces, meeting rooms and break-out areas became essential components, which took various shapes and forms depending on frequency of use and specific functional requirements. This took the form of executive offices, boardrooms, touchdown meeting zones, coffee stations, pause areas, print hubs, phone booths and meeting pods.
  • The interior concept that emerged at an early stage became known as ‘funky raw’ and this term has stuck as the defining description of the interior design. A crisp exterior is contrasted by the off-shutter concrete, exposed brickwork, rough sawn timber and exposed steel. Colour punctuates and enlivens the industrial feel created by these elements, in the form of bright acoustic panels, large-scale artworks, funky furniture pieces, way finding signage and artwork, and various statement ceilings, walls and floors.
  • Another key driver behind many interior design elements was the desire to include the nature of RCL’s food businesses. This resulted in the inclusion of large-scale murals and art installations created out of painted plates and thousands of wooden spoons, and oversized cutlery-shaped legs on occasional tables. Other food-inspired elements are a highly creative and visual way finding system created for meeting rooms and various office spaces named after kitchen utensils and crockery. A giant wooden fork encased by the glass bar-top is the focal point of the outdoor sky bar terrace.

Material Used :
1. Wisa Birch ply
2. Interpon - powder coating products
3. ISS - caesarstone
4. Lafarge - oils concrete floors
5. Acousticworx - acoustic panels
6. Capco - partitioning
7. Vaal and cobra - sanware
8. Marmoran - decorative wall coatings
9. Dulux - paint supplier
10. Belgotex - custom designed commercial carpet for project

Project Credits
Electrical consultants
Developer and contractor
Architects
WSP
Wet services engineers
Products used in this project
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