J Walter Thompson


Ad agency J Walter Thompson moved offices in May from London’s Berkeley Square to Knightsbridge. DEGW designed its office interiors.

A circular ‘doughnut-like’ reception desk on the first floor greets visitors, which is usually manned by two or three reception staff at all angles. Employees approach the desk internally from a different angle to external visitors. Designed in walnut veneer, it is the pivotal point of the reception space, according to DEGW senior designer Jan Young.

Three groupings of loose furniture are dotted round reception. ‘If visitors don’t want to sit together, they don’t have to,’ says Young.

Adjacent, separated by a coloured glass screen with vertical ribbon-like stripes, but still part of the reception area, is the Knowledge Centre. It houses computer terminals, magazines, furniture and displays of the agency’s advertising campaigns. Staff can work there in peace and visitors can wait.

The public spaces within JWT’s offices are peppered with plasma screens featuring satellite news bulletins to create a buzzing atmosphere. The screens can also be used to project the agency’s own images if needed.

JWT’s bar is located on the second floor. Socialising is a vital part of an ad agency’s culture, says Young, so this public space was integral to the new office. Here, employees get together after work, clients can be entertained and breakfast is served in the morning.

Its centrepiece is an 18m silver S-shaped bar, chosen by staff following internal surveys. It ‘champions’ the brands of JWT’s client, drinks group Diageo. A bridge leads from the bar to a roof terrace outside.

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