Thursday, 7 April 2011

Cutting Corners at KPMG

Yesterday, I attended a tour of KPMG’s new Canary Wharf offices courtesy of The Office productivity Network (OPN). It was a full on day with presentations by the facilities, operation and branding teams of KPMG along with the design story presented by Angela Sasso of Swankey Architects (actually Swanke Hayden Connell Architects). The highlight of the day was the tour of the new facilities.

First impressions count at KPMG. The lobby is impressive but not exuberant, the welcome is slick and professional, the environment is fresh and light – all relevant to the subtle branding integrated into the building. As in many offices, the main workspaces where low key, 1600 mm bench desks, low partitions, and minimalist colour – perhaps a little too clinical not helped by the lack of planting and human touches a bit like a home that is being de-cluttered in order to sell. However, effort had been made to break up the serried ranks of desks by introducing quiet pods and cluster of 120° desk for the senior managers. The graphics in the main workspace are also minimalist compared to the wonderful manifestations used in the conference suite. But for me there are clearly two winning features of this space: the atrium and the informal meeting spaces.