In December 2010, Bloomberg embarked on the construction of a new European headquarters building in the heart of the City of London that would meet the needs of their growing employee population and represent their company’s culture, values and ambitions from the ground up.
Conceived by founder Mike Bloomberg in collaboration with leading architect Lord Norman Foster of Foster + Partners, the new building – located between the Bank of England and St Paul’s Cathedral – is sympathetic to it’s surrounding environment, it is also an exemplar of sustainable design – with a BREEAM outstanding rating – in fact it is the most sustainable major office building in the world.
Occupying a full city block, the 3.2-acre site comprises of two blocks united by bridges that span over a pedestrian arcade that reinstates Watling Street, an ancient Roman road that ran through the site.
Bloomberg’s 4000 London-based employees are now under one roof in their state-of-the-art building/s for the first time.
Whybrow were brought in by Foster + Partners in 2015 to work with them and graphic design agency Studio Fernando Gutiérrez to develop a wayfinding scheme for this new, ground-breaking project in the heart of the city.
The challenges were considerable – some floors within the South block were to contain up to 800 workstations and first time visitors from other Bloomberg offices worldwide would not necessarily be picked up from reception and escorted to their desired destination within the building. All visitors were to be directed to the sixth floor ‘pantry’ a double-height animated space designed to encourage chance meetings and informal discussions before carrying on their way.
We developed a strategy based on a grid, with sequentially referenced rows labelled ‘A’ to ‘F’ running from left to right when leaving the visitor lifts; these rows are physically represented within the workstation space planning. A diagrammatic floor map featuring the rows has also been created to feature on monitor screen savers facing the lifts; these are designed to be very quickly understood and retained as a heads up ‘mental map’. A central 210 metres long, hypotrochoid stepped ramp flows through the full height of the building; smooth, continuous and clad in bronze, this also provides a strong orientation reference for the visitor as do the stone-clad lift cores and sensitively located artworks.
Our intuitive wayfinding scheme, along with the strong architectural references within the building, has resulted in minimal signage, or visual noise as it is sometimes referred to!
Image credits above:
1 Foster + Partners | 2 & 3 Whybrow | 4 James Newton | 5 Bloomberg
Image credits below:
1 Nigel Young/Foster + Partners | 2 Foster + Partners | 3 Bloomberg | 4 Nigel Young/Foster + Partners
Image credit main:
Nigel Young/Foster + Partners