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Office moves 17.08.17

Austin Fraser

Austin Fraser has moved into new offices in the Thames Tower building in Reading.

Workplace design and fit-out specialist, Area, has created a forward-thinking space to accommodate 100 office workers at Austin Fraser. The space has been carefully designed around the theme of ‘provoking the nexus’, as well as the existing features within the new Thames Tower building, including a restaurant, sky lounge and a 4,000 sq ft rooftop terrace offering panoramic views of Reading. Provoking the nexus means developing a series of connections linking two or more things. For Austin Fraser, this theme represents a workplace that connects people with each other, to the business, and to the environment.

The result is a workspace which takes inspiration from, and blurs the lines between, a modern home, boutique hotel, and coffee shop. The office benefits from several design characteristics which aid overall employee wellbeing including an open-plan concierge area which instantly connects staff and visitors. Through intelligent architectural zoning, the primary dining area can serve a number of functions to encourage staff to interact with each other, both on a social and work level. Bespoke furniture in the dining area can easily be modified to create mobile work stations, while the entire space can quickly be turned into an entertainment area for special functions.

Further internal spaces include a beer garden and a classroom, which both feature semi-private screening that offers a visual buffer and acoustic rafts which enable both spaces to become a feature within the open-plan environment. Foam blocks can be used to create bespoke room sizes, or used as additional seating if necessary. The main work areas have also been designed with employee wellbeing in mind, complete with sit-stand workspaces, and a layout which facilitates the creation of individual working neighbourhoods within the open-plan space, connected by supporting spaces.

Peter Hart, founder and CEO of Austin Fraser, said that the new vibrant space is not just about encouraging people to interact with each other, but also about inspiring candidates, clients, and anybody who walks through their doors.

He commented: “We really believe that what Area has created represents the future workplace. It will play a huge role in helping Austin Fraser reach the next level of growth with the right people, technology and environment. Working with Area, it was important for us to have an office environment which offered different types of space to accommodate the different types of people and working practices that run throughout the business. This inspirational workplace will therefore play a key role in helping us to attract and retain the very best talent.”

Laurence Shanks, creative manager for Area, added, “Austin Fraser is a great business success story and a company that has grown organically. They are considered a disruptor in their field and wanted a workspace that reflected this originality. They want their workspace to be the very best in the industry and by delivering the vision of provoking the nexus, we truly believe that they have a flexible and inspirational workspace that will evolve with the business as it continues to grow.”

Spencer Ogden

Spencer Ogden has tripled the size of its Houston office and has relocated to Greenstreet at 1201 Fannin St, Houston. The company, whose global headquarters reside in London, has seen tremendous growth in the U.S. market since the Houston office commenced in 2011.

"Houston is a vital market for us and serves as our U.S. headquarters," said David Bumby, head of operations for Spencer Ogden's North American region. "Initially, we capitalised on the demand in the oil and gas sector and its relationship with Houston; however, as our office has grown, so has the demand from other clients in the energy space as a whole. The Company is in a strategic position to grow its market share in the United States even more with this move."

Revenue increased by $10m in 2016, due to demand from the power generation business, private equity firms and other financial institutions working within the energy industry. Spencer Ogden believes in using local knowledge and talent to service existing requirements and building strong relationships with Houston-based energy companies.

Henry De Lusignan, regional director of the Americas for Spencer Ogden, commented, "The new Houston office epitomises our long term commitment and investment in Houston and the success of growth organically.

"Thanks to the ongoing hard-work from our existing team we can now offer further exciting career opportunities and expansion, providing new product lines for our ever increasing client base. Above all, we want to continue the successful formula that has given us satisfied clients and employees."

In 2011, the Houston office opened with five employees and served as a platform to achieve growth across the U.S. Today, the Company boasts more than 50 employees locally and over 90 employees nationwide across its offices in New York, Denver and Orlando. Spencer Ogden has plans to hire 50 more people this year.

The firm has moved into a former nightclub, a 12,000 square-foot space. Known for its unique workplace style and design in its offices across the globe, Spencer Ogden has taken the Houston office aesthetics to a new level. Employees working in Houston were introduced to the new look and feel of the office last Friday, in an exclusive employee reveal. 

"The Houston office is no different; we have a very open concept with a mixture of polished concrete floors, AstroTurf, cowhide furniture and an old world, Texas feel," said Bumby. 

While many companies may not be comfortable incorporating such dramatic design elements into a corporate work setting, Bumby says it works for them: "People look forward to visiting our offices and seeing our brand on display as much as they enjoy working with us. Our unique style sets us apart and our offices are a great visualisation of the Company."

Spencer Ogden's trademark flooring and diner-style kitchen, retro features and a nod towards the company's British roots have remained intact.

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