July, 2019 saw IM Group open the doors to its new £30m headquarters and state of the art interior design scheme delivered by Squaredot, with innovation & wellbeing rooted at its heart.
Rising from the centre of the new 60,000 sq ft campus at the Fore Business Park in Solihull and set amongst inspiring landscapes, lakes and specially commissioned artwork is 'The Gate'; an impressive building and home to IM Properties, International Motors and Spitfire Bespoke Homes.
The campus goes on to reveal 2 further buildings; 'The Academy', a subterranean training facility for IM Motors nestled seamlessly within its surroundings, and 'The Rock', a new headquarters for Christian Vision, a charity founded by IM Group’s owner Lord Edmiston.
Utilising cutting edge technology and forward thinking design to help futureproof the business for the next 30 years the project has transformed the vacant land and become an iconic landmark within the region, rivalling any offices previously seen outside of the capital.
Squaredot were first commissioned in December, 2016 by IM Properties to undertake an in-depth utilisation study and detailed analysis of the organisation and existing office in Coleshill where the evidence and findings were to inform the future spatial requirements, enabling the group to consider and evaluate possible new sites for development.
“This company is all about its people. We need the best environment and facilities that suits the business and supports the staff. It needs to be both flexible and stimulating.”
The above words were taken from an interview with Managing Director, Andrew Edmiston during our week spent observing and listening to the people that make up the group. Our process and unique set of tools became invaluable in gaining a clear understanding of how the different businesses operated and what future requirements would be required to support the various business teams, functions, facilities and of course all the staff going forward.
In turn, our analysis provided vital information which translated into detailed space budgets which developed into business and property strategies that would ultimately lead to a final brief and influence the size and massing of the new building.
Squaredot went on to develop an innovative concept based around creating an experience for staff and visitor alike, emulating the drama of the building and continuing the journey from outside to inside. Just as the campus would be revealed upon the approach, our intention was for different aspects of the interior to be revealed as you journeyed through the buildings. Our aim was to challenge the traditional notion of office planning and create an open environment with changing landscapes and points of interest that encourage fluidity, visibility, movement and connections on all levels.
With wellbeing at the heart of this project our layouts offered a completely flexible and collaborative approach to working that would inspire and stimulate the working culture. Neighbourhoods provide a diverse range of work settings reflecting the different work styles and activities which in turn encourage movement and communication, creating a sense of community and a place where people enjoy spending their day.
Clusters of sit/stand desks were planned throughout and punctuated by numerous types and styles of collaborative working zones that support the varying team requirements. Reinforced by a variety of meeting and break out spaces the neighbourhoods enable and encourage staff to choose how and where to work, meet and socialise. Work styles were also challenged at all business levels with the entire executive team moving away from cellular offices into an area, that would be open and approachable while remaining a professional environment to host global clients.
Providing views across the new campus, the second floor of The Gate is completely given over to staff wellbeing with amenities including a restaurant, gym, areas to play pool and table football or watch major sporting events on a big screen while relaxing on the bespoke seating feature affectionately named by the IM team as ‘The Embankment’.
Four distinct roof terraces also support a variety of outdoor functions and activities including a three-hole putting green, herb garden and quiet tranquil spaces. With a number of areas to dine and meet in both the restaurant and on the main terrace, the floor seamlessly merges the outside with inside and is designed to encourage use throughout the whole day to work rest or play.
Responding to the brief for “a quiet communication of values through creative use of innovative materials" we put together a scheme that characterised the different businesses and complemented the distinctive base build materials. Core-Ten, concrete and glass were the principal materials for the building, forming its distinctive character and a backdrop for our unique interior and exciting furniture scheme incorporating a myriad of finishes and fabrics.
The scheme cleverly compliments the outside and plays with light and shade, angles, views, textures and colours. Meeting rooms are accentuated with vivid coloured glass while timber shuttered concrete walls create dark transition spaces through the buildings core, providing views through to the light & airy colourful spaces and on to the external backdrop of trees beyond.
Looking to the future the project team also embraced new technology & ideas put forward by Squaredot, after all, why would you put yesterday’s technology into a multi-million pound building of tomorrow? The campus incorporates the latest in smart technologies and AV systems, including Wi-Fi enabled external terraces, wireless connectivity throughout all internal & external areas, switchable smart glass and the dramatic 7 x 6 metre semi translucent LED pixel video wall dominating the double height space of the reception & showroom while adding to the sense of drama on arrival to the site and building.
Squaredot continued to work alongside the team, monitoring and overseeing the interior fit out as the project was delivered by BAM Construct UK. Completed in July, 2019, 2 years after the group began looking for a new location, the project was delivered without compromise, on time, on budget and to the highest quality.
Jason Jasper, UK project director at IMP said “We had a two year window to find a location and design & deliver this £30m turnkey project. The new HQ really does work hard to exceed expectations on every level, from its low carbon footprint to the high specifications and integrity of its materials, creating a landmark campus with a feeling of openness, drama and maturity.”
Tim Wooldridge, managing director of IMP added: “The headquarters are best in class grade A offices and an example of all the greatest elements of design that goes into creating a landmark building that people will enjoy working in.”
It is clearly evident that IM Group have invested significantly in the new campus and the team at Squaredot are proud to have been a part of a project that has not only created sustainable and efficient buildings but also given them a working environment that will enrich the lives of everyone working there, as well as helping to attract and retain talent in the future.
Andrew Edmiston stated that “the business was pleased to be renewing its commitment to the region, creating a headquarters described by many of its delivery team as a ‘once in a lifetime’ project to work on.”
He concluded: “The team have really put their heart & soul into creating this inspirational building.”
We would definitely agree!