Client: Microsoft Internet operations, Great Pulteney Street, London
MoreySmith’s headquarters offices for Microsoft’s Internet operations division had to satisfy both the overall corporate client and the flexible working practices of dotcom culture. ‘It’s been a struggle but worth it,’ says Linda Morey Smith, who managed to combine both traditional office areas with unorthodox, informal amenity areas assumed to be more fitting to the Internet culture.
The first of these is on the ground floor of the four-storey offices. A reception with projected graphics leads to the ‘swimming pool’ area, a natural well in the building which MoreySmith is fitting out to look like a pool, with chairs and tables for media briefings and meetings in the recessed (dry) pool, reached by swimming pool steps. There’s even a diving board, portholes in an adjacent wall dividing the pool from a flexible working area for Microsoft staff from other offices, and a seaside backdrop.
‘We wanted the building to be remembered for something,’ comments Morey Smith. Another memorable feature will be the office relaxation area, decked out like a basketball court, which opens on to an outer terrace.
Each floor has brainstorming areas in bright colours and quiet rooms. In the main offices, MoreySmith used Microsoft’s preferred suppliers Herman Miller and Milliken for the furniture and carpet respectively in a ‘refreshing’ but subdued design: ‘People who work here have enough of the wow factor,’ says Morey Smith. The offices are due for completion this month.