Portswigger

  • Our role
  • Consultation
  • Concept development
  • Interior design
  • Space planning

PortSwigger was founded in 2004 by Dafydd Stuttard, a leading expert in web security. Daf spotted a gap in the market for a tool kit for web application security testing. What started as a hobby, is now a product used by web security professionals across the world. Daf still leads the software development team at PortSwigger and is steering his company through rapid growth. With a move into a purpose-built building at Booth Park in Knutsford on the horizon, Daf approached us to help him reimagine how his team can use space as the company expands.

CGI of Portswigger's new building at Booth Park

Getting to Know You

The first part of our process is about discovery. Finding out about the business, getting to know the people, understand what makes them tick. We ran a collaborative workshop to understand how they like to work and what vital ingredients they thought needed to be part of the new office design.

One of the most interesting insights came from observing the teams work. Due to their current office being in a large old building, teams work in smaller units in separate rooms with perimeter desking so everyone has their back to each other.

At first we assumed the space constraints were forcing them to work in peculiar ways but it tuned out this arrangement was perfectly natural for them and allowed individual focus and team collaboration. The downside is the disconnection between teams.

Our first design challenge was to figure a way of keeping the essence of this arrangement in a large open plan office without walls and create more of a flow of movement between team units.

A Pattern Language

Once we had established the requirements of the business and each team unit we set about designing a flexible system that had the potential to grow, change and evolve as the business expands. Inspired by cellular patterns in nature we explored various modular designs that could accommodate a maximum of 8-10 people but also provide access to breakout/meeting and private space. After many iterations we arrived at a pattern and a system that allow has the right degree of openness and potential for organic change.

Bringing the Outside In

Another of the emergent themes of the workshop was the desire to connect with nature. Luckily the new building is surrounded by trees and greenery but it was important that our designs created a dialogue with this at every opportunity. Flexible desks and breakout spaces face out to the trees through floor-to-ceiling glazing and doors open out at ground floor with some of the greenery coming inside to blur boundaries.

Watch This Space

With the building at Booth Park rapidly underway, the team at Portswigger will be moving in 2021 and continuing their evolving journey. Watch this space for updates.

"One of the reasons we chose Sheila Bird Studio was because of how they looked to get deep under the skin of Portswigger and understand how we work. Their process is highly collaborative, engaging and shaped around our needs as a business. I am confident we have a flexible and innovative design solution that will help us in our next phase of growth and I just can't wait to see it come to life on site"

Dafydd Stuttard
Managing Director, Portswigger

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