Gensler helps leading UK publisher transform its work space into the ‘House of Hearst’

Design firm Gensler and Hearst UK – the leading publisher of titles including: Good Housekeeping, Cosmopolitan, ELLE, Harper’s Bazaar and Esquire collaborated to bring the Hearst London offices together for the first time; creating a future-facing, highly collaborative and flexible work environment in the heart of London’s West End.

In a move to consolidate its two Soho-based offices into the new LSQ London development in Leicester Square, Hearst’s new location brings together multiple media brands under one roof for the first time. To support this transition, Gensler’s design team was challenged to create a new open work space that fosters collaboration across the various brands, while showcasing the business’ heritage and innovation to attract and retain the best industry talent.

In order to meet these objectives, the key design elements consisted of:

  • A large flexible reception area, central meeting suite, library space and dining area, which were key to creating spaces where all employees can socialise and work together – driving integration and collaboration amongst teams
  • A residential quality was given to the design to encourage people to take pride in and ownership of the space, as well giving it a calming and restorative atmosphere – creating a place where people want to be
  • The ideation of space saw meeting rooms centralised, allowing desks to be situated around the periphery to receive more natural light and better inward and outward vistas. This was further enhanced by the introduction of biophilia and green spaces – fostering a positive working environment, with access to more co-working spaces
  • A plaque-wall was created, with each plaque representing a publication under the Hearst umbrella, and engraved using the Hearst typography. On the reverse side of each plaque, the specific branding for each publication was also included so that specific brands could be showcased around particular events or milestones – supporting cohesion and equality between brands
  • Opportunities for each brand to add personal elements to their preferred working areas. This also removed opportunities to amass effects and assisted Hearst in becoming paperless. The library houses digital content as well as physical back catalogues, competitors’ publications and more – Maximising available space and empowering brands to show a sense of identity

Spanning five floors and totalling 70,915 square ft, the building has been transformed into a community driven space with a focus on movement. Hearst’s significant investment in innovative technology within the building has been key to ensuring that the space and design fully supports the goal for a truly agile and collaborative working environment. The new design embraces inclusivity, encouraging all brands to step away from their desk and integrate with other members of the team; cultivating an even more joined up, creative culture. In addition to this, Gensler also provided a change management programme as part of the redesign, helping to mediate changes and ensure a seamless shift in workplace practices and culture.

Christopher Crawford, Senior Associate, Gensler Europe, said:

“Our year-long project with Hearst UK was a great example of how strategic workplace design can have a genuine impact on the dynamics and culture of a business – from increasing collaborative behaviours to helping employees be more connected and flexible. This was much more than just a relocation – it was a platform to empower employees and support them in their evolving workplace practices. We’re pleased to hear that the teams at Hearst UK have been extremely receptive to ‘The House of Hearst’ and are enjoying their newly transformed work space.”

Claire Blunt, Chief Operating Officer, Hearst UK, said:

“The new office space is part of our ongoing investment and long-term commitment to support the future of our iconic brands. The central offices serve the purpose of enabling us to be close to our commercial partners and also to attract and retain the best talent within the industry. Our staff are already benefitting from being in a technology-led, vibrant, contemporary office, designed to help support their creative talents, as well as being able to work more closely across the business in a more collaborative way. Moving to House of Hearst has enabled us to further strengthen our commitment to be the leaders of creativity and innovation within our industry.”