Serviced offices company General People and architecture practice SODA Studio worked with Clippings to furnish a modern co-working building.#CreatedwithClippings
‘Clippings showed a genuine understanding of what we were trying to deliver. They offer thoughtful, easy furniture procurement with uncompromised quality.’
Jacob Sandelson, co-founder of General People
What does the ideal post-pandemic workplace look like? Serviced offices provider General People and architecture practice SODA Studio developed a scheme for the South Quay Building, now rebranded as Sierra Quebec Bravo, on the Isle of Dogs that offers some answers. Powered by Clippings as the furniture and lighting supplier, they overhauled several office floors and shared spaces, transforming stale, outdated units into contemporary, inviting workplaces.
Offering the unique combination of an online platform and a knowledgeable procurement and logistics team, Clippings supported the client and architects with furniture consultation, organisation of all samples, value engineering, specification, order placement and onsite installation.
General People took over the management of two floors of the office block, which is owned by developer General Projects, with a clear vision based on market research. The planning phase started during the height of the Covid pandemic in October 2020, and Jacob Sandelson, co-founder of General People, and his team discussed what the future of work would look like: ‘We felt it's going to be all about communication and that offices should be enabling collaboration – in-person and online. People would spend less time hunched over a desk, so we decided to have smaller desks and offices and invest in generous common areas.’
With mostly founder-run, small businesses as tenants in mind, General People tasked the multi-award-winning architecture firm SODA Studio to create an inspiring, functional and welcoming office environment. ‘Small businesses genuinely care about their office, because the actual business owner asks himself: ‘where am I going to sit every day?‘ Traditional office buildings often come across as cold and boring’, Jacob notes. ‘We wanted something soft, accessible; a warm place to spend time rather than something clinical, which is how many people describe the office.’
The spaces need to feel fresh and young’, explains Parvathy Vipulendran, architect at SODA Studio. The concept she and her colleagues came up with impressed not only Jacob and his team but even the developer General Projects: in addition to the two floors, SODA Studio was also invited to re-invent the ground floor and three further floors according to their scheme.
SODA Studio, who had worked with Clippings on previous projects, connected Clippings with General Projects. Their team saw a clear advantage in handing over the FF&E procurement to one partner. ‘Clippings showed a genuine understanding of what we were trying to deliver’, says Jacob. ‘The wonderful thing with Clippings is that we could go through one business while staying on budget, brief and specification. We didn't have to compromise in terms of quality.’
The Clippings online platform made the initial product research phase simple for Parvathy and her team. ‘At the start, we treated Clippings as a search engine for furniture’, notes Parvathy. They browsed the platforms for products, saving items they liked to the project in their Clippings account. ‘We saved images to the board on Clippings. As this was during lockdown, some of us were in different places. On Clippings, we could easily see the furniture in one overview. Plus, the platform makes it easy to download images and documents so that General Projects could see the look and feel.’
As this was a very complex project, the consultation and procurement services Clippings offered made all the difference. SODA Studio’s original design visuals featured placeholder furniture. Once that concept was signed off, the Clippings specification experts suggested actual products to the SODA Studio team.
‘It's nice to have somebody who can show you all these potential items that you've missed or don't know about, coming up with some great furniture suggestions’, says Parvathy. ‘Especially with the office furniture, which is a bit harder to source, it was fantastic to work with Clippings. Also, General People wanted to use local suppliers, so we were looking at local companies who could aggregate the tables for us.’
‘Our account manager Jake and specification lead My were both fantastic and super energetic, coming to us with lots of product ideas,’ says Jacob. ‘Often when working on larger office buildings, we end up looking at hundreds of terrible pieces of office furniture from one brand to find the one acceptable piece – and you have to do that with four or five suppliers minimum.’
‘For us, taste is quite important’, notes Parvathy. ‘A different procurement agency suggested too commercial furniture. Clippings put together a better selection of products – they got the vision. They suggested items which we might not even have thought of. We don’t like repeating ourselves, so it's helpful to have someone to show you options that meet the budget and have the right lead times – and the Clippings team delivers and installs too.’
‘Reviewing samples was obviously quite difficult during Covid. That said, Clippings managed to arrange office chairs to be sent to General People for review', states Parvathy. 'That really helped us to discuss colours with the client. My also arranged fabric samples for us. For example, she sent us the fabric options for the Muuto stools, so we could actually check them against the tiles which were going to be next to them.’
From previous projects, SODA Studio knew how large of an undertaking the FF&E procurement can be. ‘With Clippings, we knew someone else could do all that work for us’, Parvathy says. ‘We love selecting furniture but hate collating everything and doing the quantities. Clippings took that off our shoulders. Their team also liaised with the building contractor to address lead times. It's nice having a company to hand that over to.’’
‘These projects are not easy in terms of coordination of wider professional teams, contractors being difficult and so on. The two were able to carry on the energy and dedication to the project whilst navigating these challenges.’
Once the specification was signed off, a Clippings manager placed the orders with all suppliers. All shipments were collected at the Clippings warehouse in East London. SODA Studio and General People could easily track deliveries on the platform.
A phased delivery was agreed with the site manager. Clippings delivered all items to the relevant floors according to plan and organised the installation of furniture items under the supervision of a Clippings project manager.
The results speak for themselves; ‘We've had lots and lots of positive feedback’ says Jacob. ‘Shortly after completion, occupation rates were already above target. Second to location, design is the most important thing.’