Virgin Media has opened its newly designed headquarters in Green Park, Reading, with bold design features, chill-out areas and collaboration spaces throughout. We worked with architects Sheppard Robson to create the concept for the space, which was delivered by fit-out specialists Overbury.
The brief was to bring the Virgin Media brand purpose, personality and values to life for employees with a brand home that channels the company’s roots as a challenger with ‘mischief in their bones’, and defies the typical office format in order to attract, engage and retain the best talent.
After immersing ourselves in the Virgin Media brand and workforce and exploring the wider global context of the modern workplace, we led the translation of the brand into a workspace experience, creating the vision for the spaces, communications and signage that ensured that Virgin Media’s core purpose of ‘Building connections that really matter’ was brought to life. A collaborative team of experts worked together to consult on an engaging workplace strategy and deliver a truly world-class experience.
The new concept has a strong social focus, with an emphasis on culture and communication. Throughout the building there are a range of new spaces that enable and empower employees to work in different ways - from The Retreat, where staff can practice yoga and find a moment of calm, to hackable spaces that allow for agile team work or project time, and a variety of meeting and break-out areas to connect either for work or play.
Virgin Media’s playful side is represented throughout - from bold, exciting features including a super-scale disco ball in the restaurant and a glossy infinity loop sculpture suspended above the central atrium, down to small-scale moments that make you smile such as light-hearted messaging throughout the space. All these lively touches create a unique, memorable, Instagrammable and on-brand workspace.
The Reception area has been turned into an energetic hub where visitors are greeted by a huge LED dashboard on arrival, complete with neon signage and a live weather feed. Check-in pods inspired by key brand assets and a quirky pink cafe called Hot Stuff inject Virgin Media’s fun-filled personality into the space.
The colour palette has been extended out to incorporate the brand’s plum and pink shades as well as their signature red, with corridors painted in bold gradients and block colours to create portals and experiential journeys throughout the building. These portals - including an immersive red entrance cube - support Virgin Media’s brand purpose of building connections, acting as transition spaces throughout the building to connect work, play and people together.
Each floor has its own ‘Tea Stop’, a communal kitchen area where employees can chat and unwind, complete with a social wall to communicate plans and encourage connections between staff. An area dedicated to the brand’s IT department in the communal space is easily accessible to all, with bold signage and floor-to-ceiling red keyboards creating an impactful feature wall.
Staying true to Virgin Media’s brand values, the concept also supports the entrepreneurial spirit of employees, providing them with a shop set-up to share their out-of-work projects and ‘side hustles’.
We also designed new signage for the headquarters. Meeting room signage is inspired by the same Virgin Media brand assets as the Reception check-in pods, with quirky smiley faces and a range of different shapes and lines. Super-scale floor arrival signs are based on the Virgin Media idents, each with its own distinct character and personality. The shape and form of the iconic Virgin Media infinity loop has been translated into the workplace through the use of curved curtains that create zones and soften the space.
Lucy Matthews, Head of Brand, at Virgin Media, said: “We’ve invested millions of pounds in our new HQ to create a state-of-the-art office and bring more than a thousand jobs to Reading. From creative breakout workspaces to social tea stop areas, the design encourages our people to live our purpose of ‘Building connections that really matter’. The space embodies our brand values, particularly ‘delightfully surprising’ moments, which are sprinkled throughout the building such as the giant 3D infinity loop suspended in our atrium.”