Tech consultancy Opencast has gone through a period of hyper-growth over the last 12 months – and its new Newcastle headquarters has been a key part of its expansion.
Its office at The Kiln in Hoults Yard, located in Byker, has been converted into the company’s new cutting-edge HQ by Newcastle-based Xsite Architecture and Studio KIND. The new space opened earlier this year.
Opencast is a fast-growing, independent technology consultancy working at the heart of government, global finance and growth enterprise. It specialises in designing, building and running user-centred digital and technology solutions with purpose.
As well as its new space in Newcastle, Opencast has this year opened new city hubs in London, Leeds and Edinburgh.
Adrian Philpotts, lead architect on the project for Xsite, said: “Right at the heart of the project was really understanding the needs of all staff. We did this in in collaboration with Opencast through a series of research and focus groups to understand how each team worked, as well as their collective needs and priorities.
“With Opencast being a technology company, it was important for us to create an environment that would encourage and support conversation, collaboration and agile working. It was also important to have a space that was inviting, comfortable and tactile to appeal to the senses and contrast with the tools of their trade.”
The project’s interior designer, Karen Nairstone at Studio KIND, explained: “The social spaces in the Opencast HQ from reception to the kitchen and events space have a coffee bar and hospitality feel with textured materials, scalloped wood walls and large reclaimed farmhouse tables adding personality and interest.
“These natural materials provide a balanced contrast to the industrial services visible at ceiling height, framed with large hacienda-style striped beams creating a unique environment that is Opencast.”
She added: “Collaborative spaces include four-person studies inspired by coffee shops with playful glazed fronts, and cabins for up to 10 people inspired by agile working practice and ceremonies, and Japanese teahouses, with gridded fronts and sliding screens.”
Karen explained that the colour palette and layout of the office has been designed to “create interest and a sense of a ‘journey’ as you move through the space, with alcove seating, perch points, private booths and café-style spaces adding visual interest and different rhythms throughout.
“A considered colour palette gives visual reference to each environment with cooler colours used for more focused workspaces, and warmer colours encouraging conversation and collaboration. These colour-blocked spaces are interspersed with a commissioned series of bold artworks by local artist Josie Brookes.
“Working with local creatives has been a key part of the design with bespoke furniture by Deadgood Ltd, fabrics by David Irwin for Bute, and ceramics by Victoria Brook – all based in Byker’s Ouseburn valley.”
Sheena Widdowfield, head of learning and culture at Opencast said: “The design here has become part of Opencast’s DNA. It has helped provide the perfect home for our people to collaborate and socialise, which contributes to the growth of our culture in tune with the Opencast way of doing things.”
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