Depending on your background – what you think of estate agents and their offices can vary a lot. For me, I always think of when Foxtons introduced coffee machines, a well stocked and highly visible bar, and some designer furniture. They changed their offices in to more of a lifestyle showroom, and made sure everyone could see the relationship between their premium offerings in the window, and the premium space behind the property listings. Between that and their fleet of branded Mini’s – they set out a stall of being different to everyone else.
Our journey with Seymours actually started on another office, one for Woking – which is working its way to starting on site soon. One of the partners from the Guildford was part of the design workshops for Woking and fell in love with the new ideas we had for them. A rich loft aesthetic, with rough finishes mixed with large B&W prints of the locality, warm wood finishes and varied lighting.
The challenge for Guildford was a little more complicated – they had actually started on site and decided to pivot the design they had already, for something which was closer to the new concept for Woking. We had to work quickly to see what could be re-used in the new design (some office tables had been made already and office chairs ordered so we need to work these into the scheme). Finishes were update, and we took the view to change the colour scheme here to have a light grey ceiling and white ceiling pods, compared to the black we have in mind for Woking. We worked with the contractor on finding value on finishes and lighting choices, and aside from the hiccups which an old building brings (undeclared asbestos, fire alarm not actually being reusable) we managed to keep the client’s budget.
The overall effect is fantastic, the team have even had some passers-by mistaking the entrance for a coffee shop. Open, inviting, warmly light and engaging with a balance of brand, media screens to digitize how properties are listed (can you believe some still use light boxes and print!) alongside a large moss wall and live plants bookending the desks.
We love it – and we’re really looking forward to Woking – it’s twice the size (height and width) and includes some great features which didn’t fit here – but it lays the foundation for a new format for Seymours, the look and feel which can be carried across their franchise model and deliver some real excitement for the team working there!