The British Council for Offices’ (BCO) has named Hugh James’ headquarters, Two Central Square, as one of the best corporate workplaces in the UK after reaching the national final.
The BCO awards, which recognises top quality design and functionality for excellence in workplaces across the UK, took place in London on Tuesday 1st October and was hosted by BBC news presenter, Huw Edwards.
Two Central Square, the headquarters of top 100 law firm Hugh James, was shortlisted alongside strong competition from four other ‘best corporate workplace’ regional winners including Facebook’s new offices in London but was pipped to the post by Janet Nash House in Durham which took the coveted national prize.
Matthew Tossell, partner at Hugh James and the Two Central Square project team leader, said: “The wellbeing of our employees and our clients was at the heart of all our office design decisions. Since we moved into Two Central Square in 2018, we’ve been inundated by positive comments from both clients and staff.
“Two Central Square was the result of a three-year collaborative project which aimed to create a modern and future proof working environment for our business. To be recognised by the BCO as having one of the best offices in the UK is an incredible achievement on its own and we were proud to be shortlisted as finalists in our category.
“We have to say thank you to all those involved in the build, particularly Paul McCarthy and Rightacres Property. Their expert advice coupled with the guidance of our exceptional professional team allowed the builders, ISG, and interior designers, Harmsen Tilney Shane, to deliver an office which has exceeded the expectations of our design brief.”
In order to be shortlisted for the final, Two Central Square underwent a rigorous evaluation process, which involved a team of judges visiting the offices to see how the building operates and serves its purpose. The judges were also able to view a video which showed staff talking to camera about how they are enjoying their new working environment.
The Foster + Partners-designed Two Central Square was built in partnership with Rightacres Property, with the aim of creating one of the UK’s leading corporate workplaces. The 100,000 sq ft offices were designed with sustainability and collaborative working in mind and have achieved a BREEAM Excellent rating.
The dedicated client floor comprises a large outside terrace area, and a hospitality lounge for visitors, 12 meeting rooms, plus a 120-capacity function room for Hugh James to host its own hospitality events and seminars. There is also a subsidised café which provides high quality food and drink throughout the day to staff and guests.
Alun Jones, managing partner at Hugh James, said: “With Central Square, we wanted an office which reflected our growth ambitions and part of these ambitions was to recruit and retain the very best talent available and this has definitely been achieved by moving to Two Central Square.
“Two Central Square has really pushed the boundaries of professional offices outside London and has helped us cement our position as one of the UK’s most successful regional law firms.”
Jason Hyett, Project Director Rightacres Property said: “We’re so pleased for the entire team involved with the Hugh James project that it has received such prestigious recognition on a national level.”
Richard Kauntze, Chief Executive of the BCO, added: “The standard of nominees at our National Awards astounds me each year. This year has been no exception – I have been struck by the inventiveness of this year’s projects, all of whom challenged themselves to push the boundaries of what best practise looks like. Even during uncertainty, our industry continues to grow and produce exceptional work. Congratulations to all nominees, our highly commended entrants and, of course, the award winners themselves”.