Five office fit-outs that are tearing up the rule book


Exterior of the castle

As part of our commercial office feature, Business Leader Magazine looks at five impressive office fit-outs from businesses across the South West. – Cirencester

Serial entrepreneur, Chris Morling invested £3m in a 10,000 sq. ft, grade II listed Victorian castle as part of his mission to make his Cirencester-based independent comparison website,, the best place to work in the South West.

On-site luxuries include a Star Wars-themed cinema complete with popcorn machine, Rolling Stones themed bathrooms and themed buildings throughout the property.

Designed with the help of TV personality, Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen, the castle also features an ice cave, ski lodge, and a library with a ‘secret passage’.

Chris said: “You spend half your working life in the office and I wanted to create a motivating, uplifting environment which gave my team flexibility and encouraged collaboration. Looking after my team is paramount and it’s really important to me that I give them the best of everything. Ultimately, my team are my most valuable asset.”


SLR – Bristol

Environmental consulting company SLR realised that they needed a radical change from their out-of-town, disjointed office that had little space for collaboration.

Relocating to a 6,500 sq. ft office in central Bristol paved the way for an exciting, open space that subtly promotes the core brand and values of the company.

The office is now located in the Grade II listed Bristol Brew House Building. The design is sympathetic to the history of the building: none of the walls are covered with modern material, allowing the faded red-brick façade to add character to the surroundings.

JLL – Bristol

JLL relocated their Bristol office to the heart of the city, just off Park Street.

A turfed roof-top terrace is the highlight of the office, as it overlooks Brandon Hill Park.

The 15,000 sq. ft office features only 90 desks for their 130 employees.

Lead Director for the South and Wales region of JLL, Simon Peacock, explains: “We actually have space to accommodate up to 170 employees. It is not about coming in and sitting at ‘my’ desk – it is about walking in and getting the job done in the most efficient way by integrating with the relevant teams.

“There are ‘quiet pods’ that are open to all employees to go and work. There are also ‘quiet rooms’ available to make a conference or video call. We also have a ‘café space’ for a bit of variety, so you can catch up on work while socialising with colleagues.”

KPMG – Bristol

In the summer of 2016, KPMG moved back to their ancestral home in Queen Square in Bristol, nearly 200 years after they initially started trading in the region under the name John Moxham.

In between the old and new buildings is a large staircase in the centre of the atrium. There, the 250 plus staff can meet and work together.

Senior Partner Andrew Hodgson explains the benefits of the new office: “On an average day, it will serve up to 250 staff. The new layout is a fantastic way to get people to meet with each other and to build relationships across teams.

“It has had more of an impact on our culture and on the way that we work than anything else that we have done. It has been well worth the investment.”


Curo – Bath

Bath-based housing provider Curo needed to find a way to change their 20,000 sq. ft office. After carrying out an in-depth workplace analysis of the space, they set about giving it a modern refurbishment.

Different spaces for different work functions were created. Break-out areas, hot-desks, and quiet ‘cubby-holes’ were put in to aid concentration and team integration.

At the centre of the office is ‘The Lab’ – a multi-functional zone for training and information meetings used across the organisation.

Facilities manager at Curo, Pauline Simpkins, comments: “The project was implemented over 11 phases and took 40 weeks to complete.

“The results have been astonishing. The office feels entirely different and has been met with a positive response by our staff, customers and visitors.”