Skype’s stylish new office in London is now adorned with the iconic logos of famous bands, brands and people as part of a radical refurbishment job underpinned by signage solution provider Signbox and Lintec Graphic Films’ Vitrographic range.
Considered one of London’s most distinguished buildings, Skype’s new headquarters in London is a Grade II listed gothic landmark in Holborn. Spread across 90,000 square feet over three floors, the new office layout was designed by the award-winning architectural practice tp Bennett LLP, and delivered by construction services company ISG.
The end-result – a prestigious and modern fit-out – includes a reception, open plan and cellular offices, an engineering lab and meeting rooms that are all equipped with full AV/Video conference capability. There are also additional focus rooms and informal break-out meeting areas, including the ‘The Chill’ – a large central meeting area for employees to meet, eat and network. As to be expected, the offices are populated with giant screens throughout to enable staff to Skype chat with their colleagues across the globe.
Signbox was enlisted to help communicate the hip and world-renowned Skype brand across the new office. Matthew Wilkins, Director of Signbox, explains: “You would be hard pressed not to have heard of Skype and the role the company plays in global communications. It’s a very modern and cool brand that is prevalent in both people’s homes and workplaces, and tp Bennett LLP reflected that perfectly in its design. We were then tasked with completing their vision through our bespoke signage solutions.”
The existing architecture of the building provided the opportunity for a design to be developed that would signal a radical departure from the conventional workspace – befitting of the Skype brand and the way the company has revolutionised the way the world communicates. Wilkins continues: “Because of its gothic heritage, the building’s shape was fun to play with, featuring long curved windows inside and out. Coupled with the new fit-out that added an array of glass partitions and doors, we were presented with an exciting proposition to explore through high quality glazing manifestation.”
Having worked with Lintec Graphic Films before, Wilkins knew the pressure-film specialists could provide the versatile solution to capitalise on the swathes of glazing and natural light in building. Wilkins explains: “Taking into consideration the nature of Skype’s business – face-to-face video calls – there had to be an element of privacy without detracting from the energy and zeal of the office environment. Lintec Graphic Films’ Vitrocolour product has the flexibility and high quality to bring your manifestation designs to life with pin-point accuracy.”
Armed with Signbox’s in-house wide format printer, Wilkins and his team printed 1,000 sqm of optically clear film to be installed across the three floors of the building. Each floor had a theme – famous British bands, products and people – with individual rooms named accordingly, and Skype’s famous emoticons also entwined within the design. The white ink capability of the printer and the optical clarity of the Vitrocolour film enabled the striking white opacity for the graphics to be achieved.
“It was critical that we introduced an interminable design that would remain fresh and in keeping with the fast pace of Skype’s business,” explains Wilkins. “The Vitrocolour’s hard coating offers brilliant scratch resistance and doesn’t fade. Such is the clarity of the non-printed areas of the film, it looks as if we had printed directly onto the glass. It was also incredibly easy to install, and can be seamlessly removed in one piece for any future ‘refresh’ programmes, making it a cost-effective investment.”
Lintec Graphic Films’ Vitrocolour film is a UV-printable gloss polyester with exceptional scratch-resistance. The non-PVC film combines exceptional optical clarity, ease of installation and impressive environmental credentials. Capable of being printed with any number of colours, Vitrocolour allows designers to devise vibrant, eye-catching glass surface treatments. Light transmission, colour and positioning can all be varied to provide bespoke treatments tailored to the nature of the space.
Matthew Wilkins, Director of Signbox, comments: “The manifestations not only complement an outstanding office space but perform an important technical function too. This was an exciting and technically demanding project, and Lintec Graphic Films’ solution added the all-important final flourish to the design.”