The Leader Magazine

MAR 2017

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40 MARCH 2017 Brilliantly unexpected: shipping container chic The balcony comes with stunning views of the Golan Heights The "Chill" area The central cafeteria is convivial and homely Some of BMC Tel Hai's fl exible and innovative meeting spaces Space we couldn't ignore The year-long hunt for a new home drew a blank except for a spacious 30,400-square-foot (2,825 sq. m.) triple- height industrial shed on the same estate as the old offi ce. It would need signifi cant investment to change its use. On the other hand, it was a blank canvas for us to design as we saw fi t. What's more, any new fl oor space we added would be rent-free. In the end, we added an extra 10,600-square-foot (985-sq.-m.) mezzanine level, bringing our maximum capacity to 300 workstations. An expert understanding the local planning system, regulatory context and cultural idiosyncrasies of Israel would be critical. We hired Tel Aviv architect Vered Gindi of Gindi Studio to design the retrofi t. The subsequent relationship was fi erce but ultimately very rewarding. Gindi Studio robustly challenged our brief at every step of the way, creatively push- ing our OOTF concept beyond anything that had gone before. They opened our eyes to the added value in the wow factor, and championed that vision through to the end. At the same time, we were keen to engage our Tel Hai employees in the move and give them a meaningful voice. As always, we recruited a team of internal 'workplace cham- pions' to represent staff views, which were fed back to the project team. This is about more than just paying lip service – it requires genuine commitment and pays back many times over. For example, our Israeli workforce has proven success in operating in small teams of four or, at a push, six people. We listened, and our new Tel Hai offi ce is not open-plan but instead is confi gured as a series of team rooms. We also consulted staff about what to call the various re- quired meeting rooms, and held a photography competition; the winning entries would be used as part of the branding design strategy. The results were very effective. Rooms are named after regions of Israel, becoming our village 'neigh- bourhoods,' and the photographs are on permanent display. Not only do the results add distinctively local accents, the process did much to inspire pride and a sense of ownership in the staff. A model project Construction work began in October 2015 and completed in April 2016, slightly later than planned. Value-engineering, ironing out coordination issues, and local religious holidays caused delays. One of the biggest challenges was translating Gindi Studio's design into high-quality fi nishes on site. The Tel Hai offi ce is geographically remote, even from Tel Aviv. Achiev- ing the desired cost-effective outcome with unusual materials requiring skilled workmanship caused diffi culties all the way down the supply chain. The lessons have been captured and F E A T U R E A R T I C L E

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