Hilson Moran has led the MEP and sustainability design and implementation for the base build of their new office, at the NEO building in Manchester. Formerly known as Bank Tower, the building has been completely refurbished for developer Bruntwood, following which Hilson Moran completed their fit out on the 5th floor. The NEO office spans over 13 floors and reflects the growing position of Manchester as a prominent business and commercial location.
Hilson Moran’s floor has been designed to the WELL Standard™, a newly released standard that addresses health and wellbeing. With accreditation now underway, Hilson Moran Manchester is on route to be the first WELL Gold Standard™ accredited office in the North of England. This commercial standard enhances occupier experience and creates a healthier working environment. A key element of the standard is to reduce the amount of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) emitted from products and furniture in order to improve air quality. This involved extensive research to source suitable products, and was reinforced with the continuous measurement of air quality, to meet the required standards and ensure long-term compliance. Furthermore, Hilson Moran’s own acoustics experts used digital modelling to create the acoustic signature of the working environment, thereby creating optimum acoustic conditions; rarely experienced within an open plan office.
Working with SpaceInvader interior architects, much emphasis was placed on the design to emulate nature and create a vibrant and stimulating workplace. This included green moss walls in the collaboration area, and various graphics and designs that invoke nature and plants that have been shown to remove pollutants from the air were selected and placed across the office floor. To encourage collaboration and nourishment the ‘refresh’ space has been placed centrally thereby creating movement and dynamism. On the first floor, the building has a ‘shared space’ for use by all occupiers including formal and informal meeting areas and workspaces, a new outdoor terrace with meeting pods, as well as a refreshment area – all designed to promote a ‘people focused’ mentality.
Diana Monkhouse, from SpaceInvader comments: “Working on our first registered WELL Standards™ interior was a challenge, finding the right certified products as the standard is so new in the UK. We introduced materials and finishes that respected all the values of the standard incorporating new materials such ‘Bio Laminaat’ from Tjeerd Venhoven to Huis Veendam from the Netherlands for the joinery elements and low VOC finishes throughout. The project has been a great example of working with client who really wants their space to reflect them and what they do.”
Chris Birch, Director of Sustainability at Hilson Moran, comments: “Being our own client on the project meant we tested our expertise in MEP services, fit-out and acoustics, as well as our belief in WELL Standards™ to the limit in order to ‘practice what we preach’. Most importantly, the work showcases Hilson Moran’s understanding and mission as a practice to deliver high quality projects that are desirable and meet the demands of the modern workplace. By ensuring our staff are in an office which showcases this ethos, we are clear advocates of this and will continue to use the office as a test bed for the WELL Standard™ and other technologies.”
Commercial agents Matthews & Goodman LLP advised Hilson Moran on its move to NEO. David Laws, Partner, comments on the relocation: “During our exploratory discussions with Hilson Moran, it became clear that a change in environment was a priority. NEO is the ideal workspace to support this change and I’m delighted we could find a solution which fully meets our client’s objectives. Hilson Moran’s new office not only enables a significant change in working practice, it also challenges industry perceptions.”