align Designs New Foxley Kingham Headquarters in Luton, UK

align Designs New Foxley Kingham Headquarters in Luton, UK

align has completed a new HQ scheme for accountancy firm Foxley Kingham, which just celebrated its 50th year in business and had outgrown its central Luton premises. The company had several sub-brands and additional functions, all of which needed to be seamlessly housed within the new building when it came to the space plan, with plenty of discreet meeting areas also provided, as well as partner offices, providing the confidential environments end-user clients needed.

Space-planning formed therefore a major element of the redesign, ensuring future in-built flexibility not only for potential growth, but to incorporate archive storage space, as the traditionally paper-heavy company continues its migration towards reduced use of paper. The new space-plan for the 12,500 sq ft building includes a new front-of-house and reception area; five small meeting rooms, four individual offices for partners, a tea-point, post-room and several areas of open desking on the ground floor. The first floor, meanwhile, incorporates a large kitchen/break-out space, the main boardroom, a training room and furniture store, further partner offices and a large expanse of open-plan desking, including desks for future expansion.

"Our main challenge when it came to the design scheme was that the building is fairly long and narrow," align Director and Co-founder Nigel Tresise commented, "meaning that our scheme was all about countering that impression as far as possible by adding a variety of sightlines, whilst also working with some of the existing divisions of space, plus other new interventions. We removed a number of pre-existing divisions, especially in the ground floor area between the existing stair and lobby, to create a cohesive and connected arrival area. The idea was that whether you're arriving for a meeting, a training day or your ordinary workday, the journey to your destination would be simple and self-evident."

The design brief from Foxley Kingham was to balance the company's discreet, understated, confidential and to some degree segmented way of working with a new contemporary, pared-back and elegant materiality. This manifested in exposed services and untreated concrete columns, as well as back-painted glass and slick and angular black aluminum frameworks. A calming overall color palette was employed for the scheme, with a neutral base of blacks, whites and greys, together with putty and olive green highlights.

The furniture is a mix of new and vintage, with all new items supplied by Broadbase, including items by Hitch Mylius, Ocee, Vitra, Muuto, Orangebox and Naughtone. Flooring is a mix of timber-effect vinyl and dark grey carpeting, with more patterned feature carpets used for the meeting and board rooms, sourced variously from Interface, Shaw Carpets and Forbo. The lighting scheme is a mix of feature pendants and LED linear strips, which add to and accentuate the scheme's clean lines. Wallcoverings follow a geometric theme for the most part, featuring the W1-W5 papers from Tektura, with some additional nature-inspired papers used in the meeting spaces, featuring birds, flowers and trees by Tektura Digital and Cole & Son, which help to bring the outside in. Planting is integrated throughout.

Photography: Franklin & Franklin

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