AstraZeneca is a global pharmaceutical company with a major UK presence, seeking to push the boundaries of science to deliver life-changing medicines and share this passion with the scientific, healthcare and business communities of the UK. It’s no surprise then that wellbeing and wellness were at the heart of the brief for AstraZeneca UK’s own offices, spread across two floors and over 21,000 sq ft of number 2 Pancras Square, King’s Cross. The space is now home to staff from AstraZeneca UK, previously based located in Luton and including teams across its medical, marketing, digital, communications, finance and HR functions.
The new workplace needed to house more than 200 employees at 156 workstation desks, with agile work-from-home (WFH) options taken on board, as well as the provision of a variety of non-workstation spaces, from informal collaboration and breakaway settings to an on-site restaurant and external terrace space. The new space also had to incorporate a reception area, a variety of VC-enabled meeting rooms, plus dedicated washrooms and shower facilities.
In its design treatment, Ekho Studio carefully balanced the needs of a supremely functional workplace with a sense of aspiration. The concept was also the result of a number of thorough and penetrating early-stage workshop sessions with the client team, helping to build the brief on the most solid foundations.
The new workplace nurtures an easy and informal atmosphere, which in turn fosters serendipitous collaborations, as work and social behaviours are no longer siloed, and mix together very naturally. Key design features include newly-installed bi-folding doors in the large café and social area, enabling easy transition to outside space, fresh air and panoramic city views via a south-facing terrace. There is plenty of external planting, as well as a mix of informal settings to gather, socialise and do business.
There are several mixed-mode flexible settings across the floorplates designed to accommodate anything from a typical seated meeting with AV, to standing only meetings to encourage brainstorming and quick decision making, or simply to have a cuppa. Yoga, pilates and mindfulness classes are also catered for. This has all been realised through a considered layout and by selecting flexible furniture pieces for easy adaptability. Newly-provided wash/shower rooms also encourage this multi-functional ethos, enabling staff and visitors to feel comfortable transitioning between work-leisure and ‘wind down’ mode.
The material palette focuses on warmth and comfort throughout. Natural timber materials form the basis of the palette, complimented by monolithic concrete flooring, tactile wall renders, rich hues, pastel colour tones, live planting and carefully selected artwork. The furniture is integral to the success of the scheme, even down to small touches like the library corner with books and the opportunity to display awards and bric-a-brac, all of which contributes holistically to a sense of community.