City of York Council office entrance
Office grey sofa and timber table

The challenge

City of York Council was moving over 1500 office-based staff across 14 locations into a new flagship office, with the aim of improving service delivery while reducing costs.

The council also wanted to accommodate many of its partners in the new office to increase collaborative working and provide a genuinely integrated service.

Purple, white and green office furniture with brickwork wall
Blue, green and pink office furniture on different levels

what we did

Although the developer appointed us, we worked directly for the council to help set and realise its vision. We started with a six-month due diligence exercise to define the council’s requirements. And then moved on to develop the interior design scheme, internal branding, CGIs and full signage.

The project was in a historic Grade II listed building, and involved us creating a space that was contemporary yet sympathetic to the building’s facades and features.

We also added great value by helping the council to establish how it would adopt the space and adapt its culture. We ran workshops, for example, to determine how it should re-engineer processes, develop protocols and engage with teams to ensure its new workspace is used successfully.

Key changes were to remove the concept of desk ownership, introduce new technologies and reduce reliance on hard copies of information. We also helped the council to base its new culture on performance rather than hierarchy.

Bright green meeting pod with graphic glazing manifestation

the result

The council made a fundamental shift in how it thinks about the use of space and the impact a workplace environment has on service delivery. Our involvement was as much about change management as it was design – and the result is a modern, agile office building that empowers over 1500 staff to choose where best to work. The office won the acclaimed Restoration and Refurbishment Award at Yorkshire Property Industry Awards.