11 April, 2024
Adapting and implementing expansion designs for Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan
After an architectural firm created a design concept that went over budget, the organisation approached us to adapt and implement a high quality expansion at their London HQ.

The challenge              

OTPP initially collaborated with an architectural firm but found costs excessive. They came to us to adjust design within budget without compromising quality.

The solution            

By repurposing existing furniture and thoughtfully sourcing new items, we achieved the desired outcome, minimising costs without compromising quality.

The result            

A dedicated space for client and partner interactions and an enhanced employee experience encouraging community and culture within the business.

Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan (OTPP) is an independent organisation responsible for administering defined-benefit pensions for teachers of the Canadian province of Ontario. With their own highly established estates team at their head office in Canada, they wanted to adapt and implement the design for the expansion of their UK headquarters at the prestigious 10 Portland Square in London.


Fitting a high quality fit out into a new budget

We had previously worked with OTPP on two occasions, firstly when they moved to the first floor at 10 Portland Square from a previous building, and then again when they expanded to the second floor.

This time, they were growing once again, taking the third floor where they were to create a new reception area, a set of meeting suites and some additional working space. The second floor, which previously housed the reception was also set to be refurbished for team use.

The brief was unusual in that the company had initially taken the traditional route, working with an architectural firm who had designed the interior fit out. However, they had not been able to make the design work within the required budget, and having consulted a management company, the design and build approach was recommended. They approached us, and we embarked on a global relationship – something that we’re highly experienced in as a team.


Ensuring quality and context for OTPP

Working with the spirit of the existing design, we amended it to reduce the cost whilst retaining the look and feel. OTPP were eager to ensure the quality of materials and the finished result were preserved.

We also adapted the design for a more contemporary way of working, retaining the brand identity and details, but placing it within the context of UK working practices.

Spaces designed for building relationships

The third floor was the big focus area of the project. OTPP is focused on meeting people, holding seminars, and building relationships, so it was important that they had dedicated space to spend time with clients and partners. For this purpose, a client lounge became the central feature.

The design concept meant that you step straight in and onto an off-white marble floor with a distinctive vein running through it. This leads to an oak reception desk with a Corian shelf wrapped around it, flanked by an informal soft-seating area and a freestanding coffee bar with an iPad operated coffee machine for an elevated client experience.

The client area is a true working space for guests spending the day with the team, complete with collaboration zones as well as smaller meeting spaces. This then leads onto smart meeting rooms, each with a vast AV system in place. To optimise acoustics, we included fabric panels on all the walls, ensuring maximum functionality.


Enhancing the workplace experience at OTPP

When it came to adapting the second floor, and the original scheme that we had implemented in previous years, we transformed the space into a breakout lounge as means of enhancing culture and community within the business and aligning their working practices to UK standards.

We also introduced a parenting room, prayer room and a small meeting room, to make the floor more about dedication to the team, their wellbeing and workplace experience.

A focus on design detail

The scheme has a contemporary but warm style with cultural context embedded through the branding and the warm oak throughout. Detail was a pivotal part of the whole design, right down to the direction of the grain in the wood, the joinery and the vertical slats in the woodwork which were mirrored in stone elements for visual continuity. These hallmarks of the company created a seamless transition from one floor to the next.

Matching and repurposing furniture

One of the key aspects to the project was to repurpose the furniture from their closing nearby office in London.

This helped support cost control in that we were able to design their existing furniture items into the space, but it also meant that where we needed new items, we took the time to carefully them to match and balance them with the existing pieces. This resulted in a cost-effective space that seamlessly integrates old furniture with new.

“It was wonderful to work with the team at Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan, and to do what we do best at Maris, which is to show that our tried and tested processes can be fully relied upon to achieve the best results for the client.”

Adam Haury, Design Director at Maris Interiors

Want to create a working environment that meets the needs of your business? 

Speak to the team at Maris