From its London base, Plastic Pictures creates films, photography and animations for some of the world’s most well-known brands. Its long list of clients include the likes of Amazon, Unilver, BT and Thomas Cook.
With this impressive roster of customers, it was essential that the team found a new office that visitors would enjoy spending time in. Kontor helped Plastic Pictures to find its ideal workspace in Aldgate East. Sara Cooper tells us about the search in their colour changing space.
What is the best thing about having found your ideal workspace?
It’s given us breathing space, the headspace to be creative. Before, we felt boxed in. It’s open plan, all on one level which allows us to collaborate in an efficient way. It has also given us room to grow, which is really exciting. We’re 18 people now and we have 28 desks in total. If we need to add to the team or bring in freelancers, we have space to do so.
Where was the company based before this?
Well! When we started almost eight years ago, we worked from a summer house that I built in my garden. There were three of us and we didn’t want to take out a business loan or sign for
commercial space too quickly.
It was a lovely place to work and quite large really! But over the next 24 months, we got so busy that we had eight people working there, which was quite crowded. When clients started asking for meetings we took them to Soho House, but we realised that we needed to bite the bullet and find space of our own.
Our first lease was a 1,000 sq ft old stable house in Camden. It was basically two up, two down house so we converted the downstairs to an open plan space and had studios upstairs. This was great for five years when we reached ten or 11 employees. We weren’t overcommitted with rent and it worked well.
Why did you decide to move?
Things ramped up even more after that and space got tighter as we added more desks. We looked ahead and realised that we if we were going to grow as a company we needed the space to grow with us.
That’s when we found Kontor. I was initially attracted to Kontor’s branding and how dynamic the company looked. I like that it was a small team as I felt as though they’d really get what we needed – and they did. They showed us a range of properties, some out of our league but we loved seeing what else was out there to aspire to.
How did you find the search for the right space?
There definitely aren’t as many suitable workspaces as you’d think and prices have shot up over the years. That’s why we needed to use Kontor. They showed us spaces that we wouldn’t have been able to find online.
Kontor were also really valuable during contract negotiations – helping us find the property was the easy part really. They successfully helped us get a good contract and Jack was heavily involved in smoothing out so many details between the landlord and building management. This part of the service really made me feel it was worth working with Kontor.
Why did you choose this workspace?
It’s in a great, central location – Aldgate is a quick journey for all our employees from around London. It’s surprisingly quiet though as we’re down a quiet street. As soon as we walked in, we knew we could build the two editing suites we needed as well as have the open plan space. It was a blank canvas. As it’s an industrial warehouse space we were drawn to the light we get from taking an entire floor. It has period features but has all the modern factors we need such as fibre internet.
How are you finding the space now you’re in?
Our clients really enjoy coming here. International clients who base themselves in clubs like Shoreditch House or Soho House while they’re in London love walking across and hanging out here. Our team loves the space too! That’s why we wanted to build a large communal area, with a kitchen and enough seating for everyone to enjoy. People can get away from their desks to eat lunch or sit in the leather chairs to chat about a project. It was very important to us to create a creative space away from computers.
We’ve spent quite a lot on plants and hanging baskets to create a relaxing atmosphere. We have
vines growing up the columns that will eventually reach the ceiling. We wanted to bring a freshness to what is quite an urban, dense area of the city.
Do you have plans to grow into the space over the next few years?
Absolutely. We wanted to move into a space that we knew would suit us for several years. It might be a bit big now, but it’s an investment in our future.
Kontor, in collaboration with London based designer Fred Rigby, are pleased to announce the launch of the Kontor Desk collection.
Driven by demand from our clients and a gap in the market for a well designed, affordable, modular and fully customisable product we set out to create the Kontor Desk.
Perfect for startups, scaleups and design focused workspaces.
From a single desk to a bank of your choice, being modular allows for greater flexibility to easily scale numbers up and down and take with you when you move, saving money and reducing waste.
Pick the design, the colour and material of the top, the colour of the klamps and type of wood. Allowing you to customise the Kontor Desk to your design aesthetic and brand colours.
The collection is importantly both designed and manufactured in London, delivered in under two weeks and made out of solid FSC sustainable wood.
Prices start from £300 a desk
The Kontor Desk collection also includes storage solutions and meeting room tables.
We are expanding the breadth of our services aimed at the creative, media and tech industries through the recruitment of Sam Dawson.
Sam joins the team to focus on providing flexible office solutions to high-growth businesses in London. Deploying his specialised knowledge and experience of the sector, he will advise on both flexible, serviced offices for businesses looking to grow and traditional leases for businesses further along their growth path.
Welcome to the KONTOR family Sam!
To round out 2015 we thought we would share one of our favourite offices of the year. Designed by Steven Vandenborre Architects this project takes minimalism to a whole new level and we want to work there!
Because of the scale of the building, the interior design of the new offices was based on a small city where you walk, work, sit and dine like in a real city. After studying plans of old, organically grown cities Steven Vandenborre Architects worked out a kind of promenade in the building (‘Rambla’) with squares (‘Plazas’), terraces and large stairs.
The main goal of the design was to eliminate all disturbing objects and to make a feature of the typical character of the building like the concrete columns, concrete floors, big spaces and large panoramic windows.
Before we get carried away with 2016 we thought we would share some of our highlights of 2015:
~ We acquired more than 450,000 sq ft in total working with some awesome clients such as WeWork, Propercorn, Dr Ed and Hassle to name but a few.
~ Carrying out over 700 property viewings in the process.
~ KONTOR was nominated for both the CoStar and Property Week Best Newcomer of The Year Awards 2015.
~ Co-founder James was recognised by Property Week as one of the top 40 property professionals under 40 (we like to think its a team effort).
~ We ventured out from our home comforts of London and visited new markets such as Amsterdam, Berlin, Stockholm, Paris, Dublin, Brussels, Antwerp, Tel Aviv, New York, Miami and Toronto.
~ Thats a total of 92 flights and 80,000 sq ft acquired as a result.
~ We welcomed Jack Fryer to the KONTOR family and not forgetting Amy our artificial intelligence P.A.
~ 587 cups of green tea consumed … thanks Jack (we’re a healthy bunch!)
Above all we had the pleasure of working with industry leading clients and having loads of fun along the way. Bring on 2016!
We are pleased to have helped our friends at 500 Startups find their new home in London.
Silicon Valley’s 500 Startups isn’t new to the U.K. or Europe by any means. The seed investor and accelerator program has backed something in the region of 15 to 20 British startups, depending on how you count these things, and over 50 European startups overall.
But now they are officially setting up shop in London with the launch of “Distro Dojo”, a new three-month program for ‘post-seed’ startups that will aggressively focus on growth in a bid to help bridge the gap between seed funding, which is arguably becoming plentiful in the U.K., and the so-called Series A “crunch”.
A picture is worth a thousand words and we couldn’t help but compile some of our favourite workspace and architectural images over on our new Pinterest page.
Serving not only as daily inspiration but a reminder that there is no excuse for mediocre office design. Enjoy!
Over on Twitter @KontorLondon we have been sharing unique workspaces around the world using the hashtag ‘#WorkspacesWeWant to work in’ to highlight these amazing spaces and prove that the traditional office doesn’t have to be boring.
This series of ‘Workspace of the week’ cherry picks our favourites. Enjoy!