Commercial lettings show trend towards designer office fit out

Strong characterful design in office fit out is helping to drive commercial lettings and sales in some of Birmingham’s newly refurbished office buildings.

Adrian Southall, Director of KWB Workplace, says “The more radical office designs are attracting organisations looking for office space which reflects their corporate culture.

“It’s the more Bohemian, Hipster office designs, featuring exposed brickwork, beams, posts and the like, which are appealing especially to the TMT (Technology, Media and Telecommunications) sector, and particularly to smaller independent companies whose owners want a working environment which is attractive to both employees and clients.

“Many are further emphasising the Hipster feeling in the office fit out process, but this would not be possible without the initial look generated by the design of the refurbishment.”

This trend in Birmingham, to a more designed office fit out, started in the Jewellery Quarter but is now spreading into the Colmore Business District.

Adrian continues, “The refurbishment of 50-54 St Pauls Square, in the Jewellery Quarter, which exposed beams, brickwork and metal windows to reflect its origins as a factory building, helped sell out the available space in a short time.

“This design approach is now working its way into refurbishments of older Birmingham city centre office buildings, where structural elements such as metal pillars between floors, which would previously have been boxed in, have now been exposed and treated as a design element. The office fit out at 63 Church Street is a good example, where occupiers include an international beauty brand and a training provider.”

Office fit-out 10 Temple Street - KWB workplace

According to Adrian Southall, refurbishments of more modern office buildings are also using more design elements to attract new tenants. 

He says, “At Alpha, an iconic building which has struggled over the years to attract tenants, the recent refurbishment, which delivered a younger and more vibrant feel appealing to the millennial occupier, brought immediate results with more than 35,000 sq ft of lettings in the first quarter of 2017.

“At 10 Temple Street, a more contemporary feel was generated through semi-exposed ceilings and revealing the structure of the building to provide a modern external façade. This quickly delivered the first tenant, taking more than 10,000 sq ft.

“Of course, office design is only one element in an occupier’s choice of office space. The cost and location have to be right too, but it is an increasingly important element for landlords, commercial property developers and property agents to consider.”

KWB Workplace works with landlords, commercial property developers and office occupiers as an independent consultancy on office fit out and office design, and as a project manager of all works to improve working environments. It also acquires office space, conducts space planning and provides an office removals service for organisations in a uniquely comprehensive consultancy-based service.

Further information on all aspects of KWB Workplace’s service is available from Adrian Southall on 0121 212 5985 or email