A cool place for cool people was the brief for CSML in creating and operating the Hub Building for Sheffield Digital Campus.
By David Arminas
29 October 2009
A cool place for cool people was the brief for CSML in creating and operating the Hub Building for Sheffield Digital Campus
The long-term strategy for Sheffield is to provide internationally competitive office space to attract digital and creative businesses to a city that has been punching below its weight compared to similar large industrial centres across Europe: Sheffield has fewer businesses, a lower average wage per head and lower skills levels in its economy.
Recovering from the loss of thousands of jobs in steel and mining progress has been made and the city's infrastructure and service provision has to be distinctive in order to differentiate it as an outstanding location for business. The non-conventional approach also had to help reposition Sheffield as a Cool place to do business, a place that people all over the world would wish to work rather than a place formerly associated with just stainless steel and cutlery production.
Award winning facilities already exist such as the Sheffield Technology Park. But producing another managed office for was not going to work. Sheffield City Council and the regional development agency Yorkshire Forward, wanted the Hub Building for Sheffield Digital Campus to be Cool for Cool people.
In stepped Creative Space Management (CSML) in 2007 when they were awarded a 10-year FM contract to operate the nearly 54,000 square-foot Hub, subsequently renamed Electric Works. CSML's advised on specification and fit-out design to attract small but high-growth businesses who needed to progress from incubators and other secondary accommodation across South Yorkshire.
The award-winning result is a truly innovative office building, the only one in the UK to have a permanent, three-storey, helter-skelter and with imaginative flexible space for high-value freelance workers in today's digital economy. While it offers serviced offices, it also allows greater social interaction essential for dynamic, entrepreneurial business leaders.
Our approach was to find unique qualities that we could install in the building to help position it on a much wider stage as well as to develop functions which would respond to demand in the local and regional market. In particular the number of freelancers and high value sub-contractors in the local economy suggested more mobile workspace and FM requirements than would generally be available in a conventional Grade A office building
CSML analysed many artist-led installations and projects, most notably Google's ground-breaking HQ in California. CSML's approach was to unashamedly benchmark their vision against one of the most successful companies in the world: Our view is that our clients and their businesses should be able to share in a highly innovative, yet high-quality working environment
The result was a bespoke helter-skelter for the reception area and a 24/7 drop-in resource area for mobile businesses. Electric Works is a highly flexible office, conference and meeting room solution which has radical differences from what would normally be available in a conventional business centre. Electric Works opened in April and by June it had 20 per cent of space occupied and was on target for 90 per cent occupancy within three years.
If being a Cool place to work in can be measured in publicity, then Sheffield and the Electric Works had high-profile media coverage second to none, definitely more than any other project in which CSML had been involved.
CSML Cautiously estimates the value of this publicity both to Sheffield and to Electric Works as around £350,000, a significant return on investment.
INITIAL WASHROOM SOLUTIONS WASHROOM AIR STERILISER
Unpleasant smells in washrooms are often the result of lingering bacterial presence, even in places that are cleaned frequently. The Washroom Air Steriliser was developed by BioZone Scientific and distributed by Initial is the first product of its kind to combine 5 sterilising technologies to target and kill airborne and surface bacteria. The technology is extremely effective as demonstrated to the judges in a controlled experiment during our visit. The experiment involved ammonia and within a very short space of time the smell had completely disappeared. Being the only one of its type it is in the judges opinion a very worthy finalist.