Corporate but not corporate…
Willis Towers Watson is a global risk management and advisory business with offices throughout the UK and around the world.
We talk to Slavica Sedlan, Head of Leeds for Willis Towers Watson, about furnishing the company’s new Leeds offices.
“You know that a project is being well managed when every time you think about it you know exactly where things are at –it stays out of your worry box and you can get on with your day job. This was the case from our first meeting with Paul Alexander from William Hands”
For Slavica Sedlan, the décor and furnishing of Willis Towers Watson’s new offices in Leeds couldn’t have gone more smoothly. With Ken Bundy of Claremont Group Interiors as chief of design on the project, and Paul Alexander of William Hands, there was an instant synergy.
“It was immediate,” explains Slavica. “It was very clear that Ken and Paul were a great team, sharing a professionalism and a real desire to do a super job. They heard everything we said and got the brief right first time. It didn’t take us very long at all to make our furniture decisions. They made it very, very easy for us.”
Clients are at the centre of everything Willis Towers Watson does, so the client experience was the main driver for their choices. A modern feel that plays to today’s corporate wellbeing agenda, as well as comfortable seating, was of paramount importance. This is where William Hands Cypher cantilever chairs have really performed.
After developing the client areas, the rest of the space was carefully planned to best suit the needs of their 250 employees. “ We wanted to be one of the first companies to deliver properly on the wellbeing message” Slavica explains.
“It’s massively important to me that people come into work and feel a sense of calm and wellbeing that enables them to focus on what they need to achieve that day. They may start their journey feeling anxious but as soon as they step through the door I want them to think ‘I’m feeling better, my day’s going to be good now.’”
The answer was to ‘bring the outside in’ – a scheme that Ken, Paul and Slavica devised to put calming hints of nature at the fore throughout the design. For Slavica, the Vantage table in American Black Walnut in the client meeting suite is a highlight from the project, and it exemplifies William Hands’ ability to get it right. Uniquely cut to highlight the wood’s intriguing textures its warmth is augmented by the autumnal hue of the mustard seating.
“Clients have been blown away by the client meeting suite. They’re saying it’s warm and comforting, and not ostentatious. They can tell it’s a great product but that we haven’t gone over the top,” says Slavica. “To achieve something like that is difficult to do, but we’ve got the perfect result”
Details like the mustard glass inlays and leather hides also win Slavica’s praise by bringing elegance and practicality to the boardroom. “As important as the overalll look, is the furniture’s functionality and Paul Alexander did a first class job of ensuring that all of our IT and AV needs were incorporated into the product in an invisible way.”
Even after installation, the responsiveness of the William Hands team has been hard to fault. “They’ve been amazing – they‘re not all about the sale but are very customer focussed and really keen to make sure that we continue to be happy.”
“We’ve been absolutely delighted with the final result and indeed with Paul Alexander from William Hands, who liaised with us throughout.”