LONDON — June 2019 — Global architecture, design and planning firm HLW is pleased to unveil the design for the new London headquarters of Inmarsat, a leading global mobile satellite communications company. Known to the Inmarsat team as ‘Project Odyssey,’ the transformation delivers six refreshed floors of agile, flexible, and collaborative work space for up to one thousand employees—infusing a diverse design that reflects their culture and brand. Developing new ways to work in an engaging environment, HLW’s design for Inmarsat captures the brand’s vision and strengthens its position as a communications powerhouse.
“HLW joined Inmarsat on the office renovation journey from the start and were instrumental in creating and designing the vibrant space we have today,” says Helen Bailey, Vice President, Corporate Real Estate & Facilities. “They have supported us throughout and have demonstrated their professionalism.”
Originally established under the auspices of the United Nations to save lives at sea, Inmarsat has evolved over the last 40 years into a full service communications solutions company, and a world leading provider of connectivity services to the maritime, aviation, government and enterprise markets. Inmarsat sought a complete overhaul of their building at 99 Old Street. In re-imagining Inmarsat’s headquarters, HLW’s London studio drew inspiration from Earth’s atmospheric layers — creating a stratified complexity that was woven throughout the redesign of the building.
Carrying the celestial concept throughout Inmarsat’s new headquarters, HLW’s team established a spatial tone for the evolution of design through palettes, furniture, and style. Adopting the term, ‘Intelligent Tech,’ the space cleverly marries the clean lines of a sophisticated laboratory and the youthful diversity of a start-up to produce a dynamic work environment — infused with a sense of culture and character that compliments Inmarsat’s growth strategy and vision for the future.
Designed as a powerful business tool, the workplace connects its inhabitants through a strong feeling of compresence. Private offices were replaced with an open floor plan, anchored by central hubs for circulation on each floor. Strategically oriented to encourage cross-team collaboration and communication and foster a sense of community throughout the building, HLW’s interior scheme provides a multitude of settings to support diverse working styles — including both quiet, focused areas and collaborative zones.
In order to prevent the disruption of Inmarsat’s business, HLW’s design concept was rolled out through gradual construction phases throughout a year to ensure a smooth transition. The team worked closely alongside internal Floor Champions, tasked with serving as project liaisons for Inmarsat staff, to support the business through the design and construction process. As a result of those efforts, in conjunction with the quality of HLW’s design scheme, the response to the new headquarters has been overwhelmingly positive.
“Quite simply, Project Odyssey has been transformational to our working environment in London, raising morale, energy levels, collaboration activity and overall happiness,” says Rupert Pearce, CEO at Inmarsat. “We’ve cleverly and skillfully created a new way of working that is a step-change for the better. We’ve broken out of the old traditional working models and make a giant stride towards the essential new model simply through changing the office infrastructure. Equally impressively, the HLW team managed to be ultra creative with a very tight budget and deliver all of the above nonetheless.”