Mediabrands leaving Farringdon home of 20 years for City of London
The Bailey consolidates all network’s brands under one roof
IPG Mediabrands’ new multi-million-pound UK headquarters, The Bailey, is nearing completion. Distributed teams from across the network are set to make the move to the co-located office in the City of London by the end of the year. It will house all of Mediabrands’ London-based businesses, including Initiative, UM, Reprise Network, Orion, Magna, Rapport and Kinesso.
Situated opposite London’s iconic Old Bailey, the 115,000 square-foot building dates back to 1912 and boasts a Grade II listed façade. However, the internals have been future-proofed to support hybrid working, as well as mental and physical wellbeing.
An internal Mediabrands survey completed in March found that over 90% of employees want the flexibility to work at the office at some point in the week. The most popular model is to spend two-three days a week in the office, with 75% choosing this option. The space was designed to allow for a 55% fixed working space to headcount ratio, with other spaces especially designed for collaboration areas, quiet zones, pitching and creative brainstorming.
It is fitted out with Teams-enabled AV, IT, ceiling cameras and microphones to support collaboration and ensure those working remotely can dial in to team meetings and Town Hall-style meetings alike.
An environmentally-conscious build and design, minimising waste and employing locally-sourced, recycled and upcycled materials wherever possible, has also been central to the development. LED lighting is used throughout, taking into account light reflectance levels to maximise light. Other green features include natural planting to improve air quality and 124 cycle spaces to encourage employees to choose pedal power for the daily commute.
Richard Morris, Mediabrands’ UK and Ireland CEO, says: “The Bailey is a landmark building and this is a statement of intent in itself for a fast-growing business. However, beyond the listed façade we’ve been able to totally reimagine what an office should look like in the twenty-first century.
“All eight floors have been gutted to make the building sustainable and future-fit, and we are bringing people together whether they are on-location or working remotely. Designed to encourage collaboration, it stands as a manifestation of the ‘open culture’ ethos – built around transparency and inclusion – that Mediabrands prides itself upon.”
Mediabrands aims to ensure the design supports all personality types and working styles. Its rooftop terrace will allow teams to socialise with views of the city. Quiet areas, including a library, will accommodate employees who feel more productive in tranquil environments and there are also ‘no screen’ wellness zones. Its multi-faith prayer room and dedicated spaces for guest speakers on landmark days will also help to foster inclusion and celebrate the group’s diversity.
Richard Morris continues: “Work/life balance is key and we want to support our teams however they prefer to work. I know there may be some eyebrows raised at our scaling up when so many more businesses are doing the opposite.
“Our thinking is what more do you potentially lose if you do encourage staff to work from home all the time? Factors such as culture, mental health, on-the-job training and learning by osmosis can be just as important as flexibility.”
After a year and a half conducting client meetings and pitching through Zoom, The Bailey is designed as a place to rekindle face-to-face client relationships and encourage creative collaboration. With this in mind, the building’s client meeting spaces and conference rooms are located on the top floor that overlooks London, with state-of-the-art technology to ensure seamless collaboration even when participants are attending remotely.
Morris concludes: “Our intention is this will be more than just an office. It will be a ‘destination’ and the aspiration is that staff will want to spend time at The Bailey. It will function as a community unto itself and will be open to both staff and clients.”
Mediabrands is working in partnership with Gardiner & Theobald, the architecture practice MCM and engineers Cundall to combine the best of its early-twentieth industrial heritage with twenty-first century post-industrial thinking. The Bailey is on-track to open in Q4 2021.