MOO LOOK, ONOFFICE, SEPTEMBER 2016

Photography by Rob Wilson

Photography by Rob Wilson

Copy as provided to publication. 

Moving offices can be a daunting prospect, especially when your employees adore their previous home. Trifle Creative turned a drab, corporate shell into a warm and welcoming creative space that MOO’s London team couldn’t help but fall in love with.

How do you move 200 employees from a topsy-turvy Shoreditch office they love into a corporate-looking space the size of three Olympic swimming pools, while keeping everyone from the creative team to the coders happy? This was the challenge digital printing company MOO put to Emma Morley of interior design firm Trifle Creative. “I’m rarely daunted, she says, “but the first time I walked into this vast space, it was just grey: the carpets were grey; the walls were grey – even the ceilings were grey!” The office in Farringdon was going to need a complete overhaul if it was going to make anyone at MOO smile.

The brief from CEO Richard Moross for the firm’s London HQ was partly about bringing the authenticity, character and warmth of the previous office into a space that lacked all of those things. But it was also about signalling change – MOO was founded (just 500 metres down the road) ten years ago and can hardly be called a start-up anymore. “The new space had to be more grown-up, more slick, more professional and more thought-through,” says Morley.

In the face of a tough brief that seemed to ask for ‘the same, only different,’ Trifle Creative’s user-centric approach to interior design paved the way forward. Morley held a series of workshops with MOO employees. “We focused on the opportunity and what they needed us to get right in the new space,” she explains. The outcome of those sessions informed every aspect of the resulting scheme.

And it works. When you walk into the building, having navigated the noise and dirt of Farringdon Road to do so, you feel at home within seconds. From the buzzy canteen where free lunch is served every Friday, to the quiet lounge where people with laptops and headphones recline on sofas and chairs designed by Hay, Swedese and Muuto, there is a space designed to suit every one of those 200 employees.

The underlying scheme is kept simple with almost uniformly bright, white walls, subtle greys that are repeated across the floor, a bespoke concrete reception desk and café worktop, and a relatively limited colour palette beyond that. But Morley knew she would need to introduce another level of sensory engagement over that minimalist starting point. “Richard has got an amazing design eye: his house is amazing – all minimal lines and clean spaces – but he is a big fan of concrete!” she laughs. “By listening to the creative team, I knew we had to balance that with colour and warmth, so I said, ‘You can have a concrete reception desk as long as we have the smell of fresh coffee nearby!’” The café area opposite that concrete desk also features a concrete worktop, but vintage-style tiles, reclaimed wood, and that all-important coffee aroma provide a warmer counterpoint. Plants nestled into the exposed air-conditioning system are a perfect example of the ‘balance’ Morley was seeking. A nearby seating area is furnished with a cosy rug and photographs of the whole London team outside their previous offices.

Thirteen meeting rooms are each styled to reflect the typeface they are named after – an idea brought over from the previous space. Designed in collaboration with MOO’s in-house creative teams, they include ‘Bauhaus’, a monochrome space with bold primary colours injected by Camille Walala’s Floor Story rug; ‘Courier’, a vintage-themed room complete with Eames lounge chairs that Don Draper would feel perfectly at home in; and ‘Gin’ (yes, there is a typeface called Gin!), the private-dining-inspired room with fantastic views over London, a bespoke table, Icons of Denmark’s ASAP chairs and the Kotka light by Cameron Design House, redesigned to a massive scale especially for MOO. The result is a space for every occasion, every working style and every type of employee.

MOO’s in-house product team designed the 62-metre ‘Rainbow Spine’ installation – more than 500 panels of 2100gsm laminated GF Smith Colourplan paper in 26 colours run the length of the office, connecting the various departments in this growing company, echoing the form of both MOO’s original Mini business cards and the newer laminated Luxe card – and of course celebrating the simple joy of paper.

Projects such as these helped employees to feel a sense of ownership of the space before they’d even moved in; but their involvement doesn’t end there. “Richard was very firm that this should be a work in progress,” explains Morley. Keen that employees make the space their own, she styled the double-height library space with props from the MOO’s photography department, “but only to show how it could be done” and every member of staff has been asked to bring in a copy of their favourite book, complete with an inscription, to fill its shelves. “A library is a brilliant space to add character and layer up points of interest,” she says. “People get drawn into it and that’s great.”

‘Layering’ is a word Morley uses a lot and it is the key to understanding the success of this space. Removing the echoes of its corporate past to create a new canvas for MOO’s growing business was one thing, but incorporating the ‘authenticity, character and warmth’ from the previous office is really where Trifle Creative has excelled. With undue modesty, Morley attributes this to simply bringing MOO’s brand to life, and she’s certainly delivered that, but it takes a special kind of interior designer to deliver tiny details such as selecting magazine spines that perfectly match sofa fabrics, styling out-of-reach bookshelves with parrots for staff to discover at unexpected moments in the future, and sourcing vintage gin bottles for the shelves in the ‘Gin’ room – it is these details that have made sure that everybody, from the creatives to the coders, is very happy indeed.