Hot desks, hot graphics in Accenture redesign

 

Accenture, the international company formerly known as Andersen Consulting, is the first of the original IFSC tenants to undertake a dramatic overhaul of its IFSC headquarters.

Eleven years after moving into what was considered a state-of-the-art building in the first phase of the development, the management consultancy has just completed a major refit and redesign of its 23,850 sq ft Andersen House offices, leading the way in 21st century office design.

Bold Bright colours, funky graphics and a flexible work environment are some of the features that have been employed in the Dublin refurbishment. A new Internet cafe and a street cafe are designed to promote youth culture while allowing staff to relax away from their desks.

Andersen Consulting was the management consultancy arm of giant corporation Andersen Worldwide which also included accountancy firm Arthur Andersen. Andersen Consulting and Arthur Andersen each occupied three floors of the Andersen House building.

When these global heavyweights decided to go their separate ways late last year, an American court decided in favour of the accountants keeping the Andersen name. The management consultancy, now known as Accenture, was released from the constraints of operating under an accountancy firm, and this was seen as a good opportunity to relaunch the brand with a more dynamic image, to express what they refer to as a culture of innovation. The revamp is also a move that distinguishes Accenture from its former namesakes on the other three floors of the building.

The increasingly mobile nature of the management consultancy's work also called for a new flexible office layout. New technology has allowed the introduction of the "hotelling" or "hotdesking" concept to offices worldwide. Instead of having rows of empty desks in an organisation where a high percentage of employees are out with clients for the majority of the working week, the design of the office changes to incorporate hot desks, a certain proportion of desks designated to be used by workers coming in and out through the day or week.

Accenture has a very sophisticated support system in its Dublin office and the hot desking or hotelling concept runs very smoothly. It currently occupies the ground, third and fourth floors of Andersen House in what was phase one of the IFSC. A 23,850 sq ft area was refurbished to design specifications by architects Douglas Wallace, best known for contemporary Dublin buildings like the Morrison Hotel.

International consistency of style was a factor that influenced the design, as Accenture wished to establish an appropriate degree of consistency between the offices worldwide while creating a new office environment unique to Dublin.

Accenture is a $10 billion global management and technology consulting organisation employing some 70,000 people in 46 countries. The 700 Irish employees are just as familiar with the London or Chicago offices as they are with the Dublin base.

The design brief was to create colourful, dynamic and human spaces and to inject humour into the environment while using images and spaces that reflect a youth culture. Large graphics have been used throughout and while these grab the visitor's attention, the key additions to the office are the Internet cafe and street cafe on the ground floor. The cafe is situated in an area known as the street, an open space/ walkway that management hope will establish a sense of community e with relaxed seating environments to allow informal meetings.

To the rear of the reception area on the ground floor, the Internet cafe doubles as a staff amenity area and an informal meeting space. Personal access to the Internet is available at a number of flat screen monitors while adjacent space is used as a touchdown area for laptops.

The Business Services Desk provides a focal point in the reception area. A blue glazed wall leads to a recessed blue leather seating area, which faces a lime green impact wall. The knowledge centre and a number of workstations are located to the rear of the Internet cafe. This follows Accenture's strategy to have its corporate knowledge and information accessible.

Also located on the ground floor, opposite the Business Services Desk, is the travel centre which facilitates all corporate requirements related to staff travel. There is a variety of meeting spaces available ranging from two-person focus rooms to a 40-person boardroom.

The third floor incorporates open plan office space for permanent staff, a number of hot desks for transient staff, partner offices and a variety of meeting rooms. The fourth floor houses dozens of hot desking units and the technology section of the practice.

Central to the design brief was to create the office of the future, a task-oriented environment, and to ensure that the image presented gives clients confidence that the organisation is centred around their requirements.

Douglas Wallace created a variety of flexible environments, from busy interactive social areas to quieter focused work areas using different materials. Different layers of transparency and visual interaction between spaces are employed throughout to indicate the nature of the areas and to enable each floor to read and act as a community.