As they say, time flies when you’re having fun! So, to celebrate Virgin Atlantic and Virgin Holidays’ thirtieth anniversary, they appointed world-leading architect and designer PENSON to create a visionary new HQ at Gatwick. In collaboration with the VAA Design Team, PENSON have created a dynamic workplace community that brings the two groups together under one roof for the first time. The entire open-plan build is a culture and experience transformation for Virgin Atlantic and Virgin Holiday’s staff – with future-proofed offices made a reality. We welcome you to the new VHQ.
Virgin Atlantic and Virgin Holidays were given an opportunity to review the way they operate and take their office environment to the next level by moving into a newly constructed 110,000 sq. ft. premises. PENSON quickly got to work on a new modern and cultural working environment that captures the spirit of Virgin Atlantic and Virgin Holidays as well as delivering an impeccable standard of interior design. PENSON felt the on-brand project needed a big bright red central feature staircase to form the beating red heart right through the centre of the building. With a vertical connection to all three floors and climbing to 44 feet to join everyone together, the staircase caters for those in separate departments and encourages intermingling. The entirely open plan office has increased movement, interaction and freedom in the working environment. PENSON strategically placed the feature staircase in the ‘Apartment’ zone to do just this.
The ‘Apartment’ connects middle floors to complete the element of feeling ‘home from home’ and includes a lounge, kitchen, cinema and a selection of private hubs. PENSON got rid of all existing corridors to create physical circulation and alternative flexible working patterns. Ingeniously, introducing the concept of circular desking for increased collaborative working and productivity is helping to spark creativity in more of a team setting and allows for 25% increased headcount. Areas are clustered with a mixture of hot desks, informal meeting and chill out zones, event areas and eateries, giving staff innovative spaces to socialise in. We’re talking heaps of natural light, spacious meeting rooms, buzzing communal areas, and nooks for private phone calls. All this is done with the environment in mind; the VHQ saves water and energy with a cool green roof that retains water and offers a habitat for wildlife.
This VHQ sets the precedent of future operational strategies and staff-centric design. Virgin Atlantic and Virgin Holidays are really clocking up air miles in workplace and customer experiences for the greater good of all who step foot in the VHQ. PENSON have delivered a design that’s inspirational and distinctive; a space where people feel alive, inclusive and ready to perform with flying colours. The sky’s the limit!