Today I visited Mother, a leading independent creative agency based in London. The purpose of the trip was to look at Mother’s office interior design, how the office space is used, the programme of the building and how it functions.
The Ground Floor
The ground floor of Mother is a multipurpose space that consists of a reception area, a bar / coffee / food service area, communal tables for eating / drinking / working / meetings, multiple comfortable seating areas for working / meetings / lunch breaks.
Mother is like a home away from home which happens to be the work place and Mother has done many things to make work feel like home. There is a bar area where a barista is onsite to provide free coffee throughout the day and there is an onsite chef to prepare free breakfast and lunch for all of the employees at Mother.
The whole ground floor is a multipurpose space full of creative collaboration opportunities, just as much as the office spaces on the above floors. The long benches are used for many purposes, from eating lunch to holding meetings to becoming an individual or collaborative work space. It is very open plan and the meeting room above can also be viewed from the ground floor which opens up the creative collaborative environment further.
The area to the left of the reception is full of multiple comfortable seating areas that are used for relaxation, meetings, breaks and even used as work spaces as Mother is fairly relaxed about where employees work within the building. The back wall of this area is covered in photographs of each employees Mother – when starting work at Mother, you bring in a photograph of your Mother to be framed and put on the wall.
First Floor Offices
The first floor office seems to have two sections, an area of small offices for meetings which are behind semi clear pvc curtains with a conference room at the end and a small collaborative work space that is separated by a locker room.
The conference room felt like a really elegant, very English space where afternoon tea may be served. There was a lot of different glass lighting in the conference room which I really liked. This use of different lights almost forms a single dramatic piece of lighting, like that of a large dramatic chandelier.
Second Floor Offices
The second floor office has one main concrete desk that runs throughout the space and is based on the Monza race track. It is one huge shared desk where many employees can sit and have space to work. The seating plan can change every 6-8 weeks giving everyone the opportunity to sit somewhere new and next to someone new.
It is a very vibrant environment that promotes collaboration and has many spaces in which to collaborate within, from the desk spaces to smaller pouffe like areas where people can explore and exchange ideas. Every employee, regardless of their position sit around the same desks, there are not separate offices for the management – this allows more efficient collaboration opportunities.
There are other additional work spaces within the space down one space to make best use of the space for working. It is a very light and bright white space with lots of natural and artificial light which assists with productivity and energy levels. It is brightened up with very colourful vibrant fabric boxes hanging from the ceiling which inspire creativity.
Mother seems like quite a laid back, yet hard working creative environment, there is the potential for long working hours and the work day over running. However, Mother really look after their employees and have a unique way of helping to manage this by allowing employees to bring their children and dogs to work, there is free lunch and breakfast and even fridges for alcohol for employees who are working late. There are jars of sweets and biscuits placed around the office with many relaxing places to sit and Mother are fairly open to letting employees take breaks when needed.
Could Mother be a Precedent for my FMP?
There are some aspects that could apply to my idea for my FMP as I am designing a business and hospitality hub.
Open Plan – Each floor of Mother is very open plan and I would like certain areas of my building to be relatively open plan, free flowing spaces. I would like to create spaces where people can choose where they want to work – do they want a formal work space or a relaxed work space – let them choose.
Multiple Uses – There are multiple uses within the building at Mother such as work spaces, relaxation spaces, food spaces etc. although only for use by the company. My building will have multiple uses that are open to many, there will be work spaces, hot desking, retail, restaurants, bars and leisure areas.
Lighting – Mother uses lots of natural and artificial light within their spaces. For my design, in some of the areas, I would like to maximise the use of natural and artificial light – this will apply within the work spaces, a restaurant and possibly some of the leisure areas within my design.