This December marks two milestones in Principle One’s (albeit brief) history to date. Not only is it six years since the company’s initial incorporation, but we will be leaving the Tintagel House location that has been our home in Vauxhall since early 2018. Over the last six years, our staff base has grown from a handful of consultants to over seventy, upgrading our office space year on year as we grew. This year, however, it was time for a different approach for us to find a longer-term home.
Unlike many, we retained our physical office space throughout pandemic and while hybrid working is the norm for most of our staff, we ensure that time spent in the office isn’t just a different location for eight hours of Teams calls, but enables mentoring, project workshops and brainstorming round our whiteboards – all far more effective in person.
Proximity to our customers also remains as important as ever, of course, and we aren’t moving far, taking a long-term lease on a new, self-contained office in the Corniche building a little further down Albert Embankment.
This not only doubles our desk space, but also provides us with extensive collaboration and meeting space and a large social space with views across the Thames. We engaged office design specialists TDA Interiors to work with us to bring our ideas around collaborative working into reality. They have been involved in every part of the process, from even before we had selected the right building for our long-term home.
The office space at the Corniche felt like a good fit for our needs for a number of reasons. It’s right in the centre of Vauxhall, a short walk from many of our customers and the rather unusual shape of the space lends itself well to our needs. Our staff typically need to work in small self-contained teams, either on shorter or long-term projects with many working flexibly to offer subject matter expertise across multiple customers. A range of flexible, bookable spaces rather than a large open plan area was therefore key to how we wanted our new office to work and this was the design challenge we presented TDA.
For Kat Knight, Creative Director at TDA, the project has been a pleasure from start to finish. “From the very beginning it was extremely exciting helping Principle One create their very first office space of their own. Their willingness to work collaboratively with us and invest their own time was invaluable, with all staff taking part in our design questionnaire, and this has manifested itself throughout the office provided them with a space that is bespoke to them.
“Principle One has adopted a flexible, agile approach to work, and we have designed a series of zones that allow greater choice for their staff in how they work. We envisaged the environment as an ecosystem of open, closed, and connected settings that support a range of private and collaborative ways of working, bringing Principle One together as one team.
“We looked at simplicity and warmth through the tones in the colour palette, with the amazing views a focal point wherever possible, creating a welcoming environment to encourage people to come together and choose where they feel most comfortable to meet or work. We cannot control our neurological differences, but we can control our environment.”
TDA worked with the existing shape of the building to create some smaller areas for team working while maintaining the feeling of light and space throughout, with plenty of whiteboard space available for workshopping ideas and accelerating customer delivery. Our focus on collaboration has been taken one step further with the creation of a dedicated workshop and collaboration space to host both internal and external workshops.
One space, however, has required more thought than any other, and that’s our breakout area. Taking up two of the pods that overlook the Thames, this provides us with an informal but flexible space, well equipped with coffee points and kitchen facilities, that it’s already clear will become the social hub of Principle One. Already booked for ‘all hands’ business briefings, community of interest events and even hosting our Cheese Club, this will be the hardest working space in the whole office.
While we may not know what the next six years have in store for Principle One, we are confident that the Corniche will provide the base we need to continue our growth and we look forward to hosting our customers and partners in our new home as we move into 2024.