The Fragrance Shop

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

Re-inventing the industrial shed

Large industrial sheds are known for their cost efficiency per sqft, large volumes and speed of construction which makes them popular with distribution and logistic centres. It would be fair to say they have less of a reputation as destination workplaces, but changing that perception is exactly the sort of opportunity that gets us out of bed in the morning.

The Fragrance Shop came to us with a unique proposition. They were moving into a massive industrial shed in Trafford, firstly to fulfil their considerable product distribution needs, but also with a vision to move all their staff into the building and make it their unified HQ.

Up to this point staff in different parts of the business group operated from offices in different locations. The practicalities of fluid collaboration between departments and business units was a challenge.

We were asked how we could not only design an environment that people wanted to be in, but one that could bind the people of the business together. A smart move for a growing business, but there was also a burning ambition from the client team to create something special from the start, and that always makes us smile.

Thinking out loud with scribbles on the very first meeting

Let's build a hole

With the move to the 190,000 sqft building in Trafford agreed there was another challenge to consider from the outset. The proposed staff working area was in a 90,000 sqft wing of the distribution warehouse and spread across floors. Although all the staff would be in the same building there was still a risk the floors would act as a barrier and teams could potentially still become siloed and disconnected from each other.

The solution was simple as it was radical. Let's build a hole to connect them! (well, 2 actually)

Floors in construction
Development sketches of the proposed atrium as a social hub

It was a radical suggestion because it meant losing a considerable amount of useable floor area to create a void, but we believed that it was an essential design strategy, so we added another floor in order to create that hole. In our view the void would utilise the opportunity that the huge volume offered to create a beating heart, a place where people could mingle, gather and socialise. A place to form meaningful connections away from desks but big enough to act as a 'town hall' where the whole company of 500+ people could get together.

The space spans from floor to roof level and houses a kitchen, places to eat, collaborate and an access point for upper levels via the bleacher, stadium style, seating.

Emily contemplates the company mantra!

The Fragrance Tree

Ascending the bleacher seating you arrive at the 1st floor and greeted by yet another hole above. This is the Fragrance Tree, a special feature which creates another connection to the upper level by grows up through to the 2nd floor and emitting its naturally fragrant perfume.

The Fragrance Tree with flexible, quiet work zones

Quiet zones

The first floor is an open plan space with a variety of spaces to break away or hold meetings. In an open plan environment having quiet places to away from desks to work, make a call or hold casual meetings becomes even more important.

From zoom pods, booths to semi -concealed breakout seating to more formal meeting rooms a wide variety of spaces are available for staff to work in different ways.

The space is finished in dark, muted tones with pops of warm, tactile materiality to create a more intimate feeling inside such a large open area.

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Putting wellbeing first

Amongst the wealth of amenities on site include a prototype store for testing products and ideas, a fully equipped gym as well as a state of the art lecture theatre.

Fragrance Shop HQ is a space focussed on the needs and well being of their staff. Designed in a way to promote new ways of working and break old habits the building by giving people permission to break out, collaborate, socialise and exercise. Our design & build partners Amspec have been the perfect delivery partner, collaborating, solving problems along the way and building the space to a very high level of finish and craftsmanship.

The Fragrance House HQ proves that huge industrial sheds don't have to be cold, souless places and can be stimulating environments for modern businesses. Thank you to Berni Hawkins Rugby and Sanjay Vadera MBE for having such a big vision and ambition and for believing in those early sketches.

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Mazel House
15 Stanley St
M8 8SH

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