Inside Ocado Technology’s Welwyn Garden City Office
Technology company Ocado Technology recently hired workplace design studio Peldon Rose to design their new office in Welwyn Garden City, England.
“Through the use of pioneering technology such as AI and Robotics in their warehouses, Ocado Technology are innovating the grocery industry and supporting it to operate in a profitable and sustainable manner. The company was experiencing rapid expansion of its team and required a full refurbishment of its offices at its two warehouse units located in Hertfordshire. Impressed by a previous pitch, Ocado Technology looked to Peldon Rose to create a new open-plan space in each warehouse unit that would encourage collaborative thinking and provide a home for its growing team. An important part of the project was ensuring that both units had the same look and feel, ensuring consistency throughout. A collaborative approach was needed between the two projects to enable staff to occupy one whist the other was being refurbished. Working closely with the client, and with various changes to the original design, Peldon Rose created a carefully considered timing programme that allowed for a smooth transition between the two units.
One of the warehouses had recently been acquired and the brand-new building required a full fit-out. The original space felt cramped and limited so the Peldon Rose team created a new mezzanine floor to expand the existing space. The new level provides an area to accommodate the growing team. Within the previous space, the canteen was a popular destination for the team to congregate. The design team made this area a key part of the design, transforming the canteen into an open and inviting space with communal seating that now brings people together collaboratively and socially.
For the second warehouse, the project required a light refurbishment to ensure consistency across the buildings. With the engineers still occupying the first warehouse, Peldon Rose were able to begin the project 2 weeks early, focusing on the tea point. This meant the warehouse engineers could remain in the live warehouse minimal time of limited access to a tea point. Similarly to the first warehouse, collaboration played an important part when it came to the design of the space. With engineers and staff working in both the office space and the warehouse itself, a space was needed where staff could come together for meetings or for quick informal chats. Peldon Rose accommodated this by creating an open plan office, with soft style seating and wide desks separated informally by hanging acoustic ceiling dividers. Previously lacking meeting space, the company’s staff now have a variety meeting rooms and spaces, providing privacy for when it is needed.
With the warehouses housing world leading technology, the company wanted the office and warehouse space to feel linked. The design team created five viewing windows into the warehouse to achieve just this. The integration of the windows into a live environment required careful planning. Peldon Rose had to ensure that there was minimal dust and noise so the warehouse engineers were not disturbed and to minimise the risk of dust coming into contact with the machinery.
It was important that both spaces incorporated the brand’s identity. Brand colours have been intricately woven into the design throughout both units, from the furnishings in the reception area to the vibrant yellows and blues used in the kitchen’s colour scheme. The design team captured the brand’s identity, bringing a wow factor to the units.
Acknowledging the building’s industrial architecture was also another key factor in the design. In one of the warehouses, steel elements such as the framing around signage in the reception space added to the overall feel. Metal cages around the building columns provided an area for employees to clip photos and pictures whilst keeping with the industrial theme.
Peldon Rose’s M&E team worked to update the previous mechanical and electrical matching the client’s in-depth requirements to utilise existing M&E. The new mezzanine floor in the first warehouse needed to match the existing features. Sticking with the industrial design, the team added to the existing M&E, tidying cables and maximising the previous features whilst ensuring that it was consistent with the new M&E installed on the additional level. In the second warehouse, the M&E team worked alongside those in the warehouse to update the existing facilities and equipment whilst ensuring little disruption to the engineers working in the warehouse.”
- Location: Welwyn Garden City, England
- Date completed: 2021
- Design: Peldon Rose