The interior design team at Aukett Swanke have stripped back the layers of traditional office environments and placed an unseen department front-of-house at Symantec in Reading. Traditionally, technical support teams are placed in the bowels of large office developments but in this instance an ‘IT Pitstop’ and public cafe have combined to form a new kind of space for this forward-thinking company.
Symantec is one of the world’s largest software companies with more than 18,500 employees in more than 50 countries. They have worked with the architectural practice Aukett Swanke on a number of projects, including sites in London and Milan. For this project they wanted the designers to challenge preconceptions and break down the barriers between departments.
The café design is inspired by the coffee houses of San Francisco, located near Symantec’s US HQ. This warm and inviting area is publicly accessible and is aimed at providing a welcoming space that signals the familiarity of cafe culture. A range of different furniture is used to create varying spaces for relaxing, individual working or team meetings, encapsulating the ‘third space’ in office design; open to all who may need to escape their desks. Exposed services in the ceiling reinforce this idea of the warehouse aesthetic whilst providing maximum flexibility for the maintenance team.
The IT Pitstop serves another purpose and therefore the design had to respond differently. Transparent glass doors lead from the cafe towards a central podium and two support desks on either side of the room. The sleek white surfaces embody the concept of modernity and cutting-edge design, while the open-plan arrangement retains a sense of easy-going informality. This is further emphasised by a gaming area to encourage staff to use the space for fun during breaks from the busy working day. The actual IT workshop is located behind the support area but the Symantec staff are encouraged to chat face-to-face with the technical team as soon as they enter the space.
Aukett Swanke have provided Symantec with two spaces for the front of their Reading development; they look very different but work in tandem with one another. The cafe is an open and inviting public area which then draws people to a sophisticated environment where they can receive all their technical requirements.
For more press information on this project and Aukett Swanke please contact:
Laura Diggens and Rob Fiehn at Caro Communications
T: +44 (0) 20 7713 9388