structural limitations in a variety of ways. “At the point at which the three building grids collide, we introduced a fourth grid – a structural overlay that conceals most of this awkward interface. We have turned a negative into a positive by creating a stimulating interactive zone right in the centre of the office.” The zone is defined by a cork floor, which is echoed by a suspended timber ceiling. Negative detailing between the timber panels on the ceiling is painted black and punctuated by lights, services and seismic joints. Custance says the interactive zone is a focal meeting point for employees and clients. It also provides a showcase for new NEC technology. This technology engages employees and visitors right from the entry, near the lift, where an NEC facial recognition security system welcomes newcomers. The system opens glass sliding doors to let people into the office. “There is no reception desk,” the designer says. “Visitors to the office are welcomed within the interactive zone, and can be taken through to the adjoining meeting rooms, if required, which occupy the corner of the building with the best views.” Virtually all of the large columns are disguised. 82 search | save | share at trendsideas.com While some of these are absorbed into the fit-out, with whiteboards mounted on either side, others are wrapped in curved opal acrylic screens, which are illuminated from within. “The design simplifies the space,” Custance says. “The problem with the columns and the separate buildings has been dissolved – and this now reads as a single building.” The sensuous 3-D form of the acrylic screens is repeated in the shape of the colourful seating that wraps around these partitions, and in the ribbonlike graphics on the glass walls. “Essentially, we neutralised the space with a monochromatic shell for the base build,” says the designer. “We then layered this wi th different textural surfaces, varying degrees of opaqueness, technology-inspired art, bold colour accents and whimsical furniture to reinforce an element of surprise. These are not NEC corporate colours – we always like an interior to be a supporting backdrop, so the logo remains the jewel in the crown.” The design team also introduced view shafts right through the office, and ensured these are not interrupted by partitions. No matter where they are in the office, employees can see out through a window to the view beyond. Below:The office was redesigned to provide view shafts from every corner. The interactive zone, in the centre of the plan, is not only a meet-andgreet area for visitors, but also a breakout area for staff. Right:Entry to the office is via an NEC facial recognitition security system. Below right:A ribbon of cabinetry wraps around one wall near the entry, providing a display area and a set-down space for courier parcels. The acrylic screen behind conceals a large column. The narrow vertical strip of light beyond the purple seat illuminates the negative detailing of a seismic junction between two of the buildings – again disguising the functionality.