As a general contractor, we have a wide breadth of expertise in delivering turnkey construction projects with consistent quality control and a personable service, from start to finish. Each and every one of our client projects presents something different and unique to them.

So, here at Agilité Solutions, we are often hired to provide one or two specific elements of a scheme, from initial space-planning expertise to the execution of a pre-determined fit out design – and everything in between!

Here, pre-construction director, Alexandre Loisy, delves into supply chain partnerships with Agilité Solutions.

A phrase that you will often hear uttered at HQ is “you’re only as good as your supply chain”, referring to the strong partnerships we’ve managed to successfully establish with contractors throughout Europe, which enable us to continue to offer a robust and reliable delivery to our clients across retail, hospitality, and corporate industries.

By teaming up with a network of recommended suppliers, we can guarantee wherever our clients are hoping to expand or relocate their organisation, we can help them in their mission.

Doing business the sustainable way

By establishing connections with local suppliers and contractors in a range of locations across Europe, we are able to significantly minimise the negative impact of our developments, reduce the need for unnecessary travel, and decrease our collective carbon footprint — win, win, win!

 

Why choose Agilité Solutions as your supply chain partner?

To work alongside Agilité Solutions is to team up with a human-scale company with a personal touch. As we continue on our goal to expand and grow across Europe, we are looking for reliable, skilled collaborators who can join us on the journey — continuing to execute to high standards and bolstering our reputation.

In return, we guarantee increased exposure, more projects, and higher payment terms — in short, a mutually beneficial arrangement.

What do we ask our of supply chain partners?

Before beginning a relationship with a partner, we always ensure each person meets the specific set of criteria and standards. We request a suitable set of references, a strong track record of previous work, possession of all relevant health and safety qualifications, and importantly, whether they are a good fit for our organisation, with a vision and values that reflect our own.

 

Our commitment to sustainability and quality

For us, sustainability is not just a trend, we incorporate it into everything we do at Agilité Solutions, constantly implementing new procedures in order to reduce our carbon footprint and protect the ground beneath our feet.

In fact, on many of our strip out projects, we have initiated a scheme where the waste is then passed on to other organisations for reuse — so nothing is wasted.

 

Where do you come in?

We are always on the lookout for reliable, qualified, and hard-working subcontractors to boost our delivery and ensure we continue to provide a high-quality service to our clients throughout Europe and overseas.

So, if you’d like to team up with a pan-European organisation that has quality at the heart of everything they do, get in touch with Agilité Solutions today, or complete our supply chain enquiry form.

 

As the need to protect your supply chain was brought into sharp focus during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, businesses have been forced to address their own partnerships to ensure they continue to offer robust and reliable delivery to their customers — wherever they are in the world.

The notion of supply chain sustainability centres around the impact a company’s network can have in promoting and protecting human rights, enlisting fair labour practices, and contributing towards environmental progress.

To foster a sustainable supply chain, businesses must address environmental, social, economic, and legal factors around its entire supply chain. In turn, this can help to reduce waste, boost environmental footprints, and improve labour conditions and health and safety. Focusing on these practices can protect the planet — and its inhabitants — while also supporting business growth.

Here are a number of ways a strong and sustainable supply chain can positively impact your business model…

  1. Enhancing supply continuity

Diversifying your supply chain will reduce over-dependence on a single, unreliable source link, which can have a knock-on effect on your customer satisfaction levels.

Establishing strong connections with multiple suppliers across various territories boosts continuity of your services — preventing costly downtime and a damaged reputation. Take the pandemic, for instance, when significant challenges were brought to the surface due to materials and labour shortages all over the world. Organisations that were resilient and responsive — with a protected network — weathered the storm quickly, while mitigating the damage to their customer relationships.

  1. Winning new business

Making your organisation’s green agenda known — and seeking credentials such as ISO 14001 —  can help to establish strong professional connections with other likeminded organisations, potentially leading to more business opportunities.

Displaying accreditations which support your environmental policies helps to demonstrate to potential clients that you’re taking action to reduce your negative impact on the planet — not simply saying all the right things.

  1. Improving company culture

There’s no denying, the past couple of years have seen a real ‘shake up’ in people’s priorities —particularly when searching for their next career opportunity. In today’s society, job seekers look at much more than simply salary and progression opportunities when searching for the next organisation to call their own.

And so, businesses that clearly prioritise corporate social responsibility (CSR) — and particularly sustainability — will be viewed more favourably than those that merely focus on that bottom line.

  1. Reducing negative environmental impact

It’s a common misconception that reducing your business’ environmental impact comes at a cost to your outgoings. On the contrary, it can actually lead to huge savings — while reducing waste, boosting efficiency, and creating a positive culture within the organisation.

To find out about Agilité Solutions’ reliable, secure, and sustainable supply chain, head to our website. We are always on the lookout for construction specialists who care about our clients just as much as we do, so if you’d like to team up with a pan-European organisation that has quality at the heart of everything they do, get in touch today, or complete our supply chain enquiry form.

MDI Architecture is set to bring to life the interior of the 6,000 sqm €100m East Thiers Station in Nice – designed by Daniel Libeskind – with Agilité Solutions, Zatti Interiors, and ESA Engineering listed as partners for the realisation of the development.

Once complete, the building will house the new headquarters of Hilton Hotels, and offices of a start-up listed on the French stock exchange, Les Agences de Papa – a real estate company managed by Frédéric Ibanez, Nicolas Fratini and Claude Li.

Inspired by technological innovation and modernity, with a strong focus on eco-sustainability, the project – which is set for completion in July 2022 – will include flexible spaces designed to foster collaboration, with a rooftop dedicated to the recording of podcasts and other business communications.

With offices in Paris, Milan, and Luxemburg, fit out specialist Agilité Solutions – which counts the likes of LinkedIn, LVMH, Deutsche Börse, Fred Perry, Five Guys, and The Instant Group among its roster – has been appointed to manage all work coordination activities as the general contractor.

“These are three very solid partners, that I have carefully selected,” explained architect Maurizio De Iasi. “Agilité Solutions – with which I have already had the opportunity to collaborate – is one of the most reliable construction companies in Europe, and boasts experience with clients such as Booking.com, Mozilla, and Deloitte.

“With this project, we will give shape to a visionary idea of ​​office architecture, capable of anticipating the needs of new working models. It will be an unparalleled space, in which entrepreneurial dynamics will prevail. A place to work, collaborate, but above all, a place to live. “

Maria Luisa Daglia, Agilité Solutions’ Italia country manager added: “Working on this project will be an exciting and stimulating challenge for our entire team. We are very pleased to be able to support a group of top-level professionals who will design and build the new headquarters of a revolutionary and rapidly expanding real estate company. “

The 6,000 sqm project forms part of a wider 20,000 sqm development – set to include high-end commercial space that will feature two levels of shops, a 120 room hotel, offices, a sculptural entry pavilion, a 200-seat auditorium, and a restaurant offering an open roof terrace with views towards the sea on the top floor.

As sustainability and preserving the environment continue to be at the heart of everything we do at Agilité Solutions, we are delighted to have joined the GreenPerk initiative — a scheme which allows us to counteract all CO2 emissions of our business trips while exploring greener travel options, in line with our sustainability agenda.

Carbon offsetting is an excellent way for companies and individuals to reduce their CO₂ and other greenhouse gas emissions through contributions to environmental projects.

In a recent press release about the launch of the scheme, GreenPerk’s parent company, TravelPerk said: “With the modern workforce becoming increasingly concerned about the impact they are having on the environment, there is a growing demand for more eco-friendly business travel options and better carbon reporting services.

“The options currently on offer to businesses are severely limited: committing merely to providing data on carbon impact rather than a full, comprehensive solution designed to offset 100% of the carbon generated by business trips. Now with GreenPerk, a company can have a solution that aligns with their long-term sustainability strategy, all at the click of a button.”

Our development director, Kirsty Shearer added: “By no means is the commercial property sector alone in its bid to minimise humanity’s impact on the planet, but as experts in the day-to-day operations of buildings, we, as peers, are perfectly positioned to play a part in creating a sustainable future for generations to come – with a smarter approach to business travel, efficiency and moderation in the supply chain, careful use of materials, and colleagues all proving central to its success.

“While much of our team’s travel across Europe — and beyond — is essential, we are now able to rest easy knowing 100% of the carbon emissions for the company’s business trips are being offset via GreenPerk. And, we’re contributing to the building of hydro plants, biogas and biomass plants, and solar home systems — win win!

Find out more about this fantastic initiative, here.

 

 

Whether designing for a new build or upgrading an existing space, the results of an interior fit-out will be around for many years – therefore longevity of design and efficiency of surroundings is paramount, particularly if we’re going to achieve a net zero future.

Of course, it should go without saying that not everything used in a refurbishment needs to be brand-new. Consider transformation of old industrial mills, warehouses, and places of engineering – these are springing up as trendy multi-use sites, with original features reintroduced in a new way which adds character.

Yet, when making use of the old, it’s important not to forgo innovation – so here are five things to ask yourself when working on an interior design project, to keep your sustainability focus on track.

1. What can I learn from others?

Statistics show that buildings generate almost 40% of the world’s CO2 emissions, meaning sustainability in design, build, and beyond needs to become a standard part of our industry – rather than simply a nice ‘to have’.

We can learn a lot from our peers, and a great place to start is by following the winners of the 2021 COTE Top Ten Awards. Decided by the American Institute of Architects, this shortlist of 10 projects exemplifies the integration of design excellence and environmental performance – and aims to lead by example.

 

2. What sustainability certifications do my buildings need?

It’s important too, to remember that not all projects need to seek LEED or BREAM certifications. As experts in their respective fields, architects and builders should have conversations with clients around getting the necessary credentials for their building. But above all else, the key is ensuring the right processes and design thinking is in place from the very early stages.

3. Does my project need to prioritise sustainability?

Linked to the above, sustainability goes far beyond choosing a recycled materials, or a courier which uses electric vehicles. We’re aiming to create a functional space which meets the physical and wellbeing needs of those who occupy it – whether that’s by making the most of materials already available, going back to the drawing board to introduce more natural light, or knocking down walls to create open spaces dedicated to quiet thought or socialising.

4. How do I educate clients around the need for sustainability in design?

Although the client, landlord, or end-user may not have sustainability at the very top of their ‘project wish list’ – and may even be doing other things to offset their carbon emissions – we have a responsibility to educate everyone we possibly can around the opportunities available when it comes to sustainability throughout the lifecycle of the building, from design through to decommissioning.

5. Do buildings affect our wellbeing?

Finally, let’s not forget how much bricks and mortar can affect humans. While there’s naturally a desire to design solutions which are efficient in terms of energy and the materials used, it’s crucial too to consider the people using the space – and their wellbeing. The WELL certification, for example, is a great place to start when it comes to considering the human results of design – as well as aesthetic and environmental ones.

To find out more about our sustainability credentials, get in touch with one of the team today.

No matter where we are in the world, as consumers, we instantly recognise the ‘golden arches’ of McDonalds, distinctive Nike ‘tick’, and the green Starbucks icon – but what about the branding of corporate HQs and cross-European office spaces?

When it comes to upholding a brand’s identity and values across countries and continents, it’s important not only to maintain a consistent style and colour palette – but to ensure the soul of the space communicates an organisation’s ethos too. Agilité Solutions’ new design consultant, Lucia Prado, takes a closer look.

My role as an interior designer is to bring a client’s space to life. But it isn’t simply about choosing the right fixtures, fittings, furniture and finishes in order to make a project a successful one. Often it’s about communicating the principles of a company to visitors, from the moment they walk through the door.

While the events of the past 12 months have undoubtedly brought company culture into sharp focus, for many businesses, it’s nothing new. Putting colleagues front-and-centre in terms of workplace design should, arguably, be integral to any organisational strategy.

That’s why, I work through four stages when planning a new workspace for a client – be it to aid with the expansion across Europe via a completely new office space, or the refurbishment of an existing footprint.

1. Start with the company culture

This is easiest explained via high-street examples. Take brands such as Five Guys, Fred Perry, Lush, Gap, or Apple. We, as consumers, know what these retailers ‘stand for’, and the ‘vibe’ they give to customers.

For such an attitude to be genuine though, it needs to be lived and breathed by all who work there – whether in a customer-facing role, or in the head office. Therefore, it’s important to understand what the client wants to be known for, what truly matters to them, and where attitudes may need to be altered, during the design phase.

If you’re working on the international expansion of a global retailer, for example, taking care of pop-up shops, flagship stores, and a head office, it’s important to remember those ‘back at base’ when considering the design, functionality, and personality of the plans.

2. Create a general mood board

This allows you to determine the look and feel of the space you have – but without too much detail in terms of the project specifics. Look to include examples of similar organisations and spaces in a bid to be inspirational.

At this stage, it’s important not to get weighed down by project specifics, but focus instead on the creation of ideas which reflect the values of the organisation, perhaps with the help of a third-party specialist, such as an architect.

3. Develop your materials index

Once your mood board is complete, you can start to compile a materials index. For this, it’s important to partner with brands that are able to provide worldwide support and truly understand all the markets your company is expanding into.

With so many options around flooring, furniture, lighting, technical elements, and finishes, it can be easy to feel overwhelmed, particularly when deciding around the minutiae of a project. So, finding the right partner is key.

4. Leave final details to be customised on site

Linked to the above, when it comes to localisation, no one knows the culture better than specialists ‘on the ground’. To put it into a real-world example, you may find that your favourite cookies are sold in supermarkets across the world but will taste slightly different depending on what country you’re in – as a result of the differing culinary preferences between nations.

The same principle should apply to office design. While it might be important to have breakout and creative spaces, an inspirational lobby, green space and a library, it’s often the case that the final design is modified in order to adapt and best respond to the local market.

After all, having satisfied end-users is the ultimate measure of success.

To find out how we could help bring your brand to life across Europe, contact us.

 

Agilité Solutions, a pan-European company specialising in construction services — from the preliminary to the post-delivery phases of a project — has expanded its capacity with the opening of new offices in Italy and Luxembourg.

In the wake of the expansion, the company expects to see 30% growth in turnover and headcount by the end of 2021, as well as exponential growth in revenue — amounting to €35million by the end of 2021, with a forecasted increase to €45million by 2022.

The expansion of this Paris-headquartered company — which specialises in interior fit-outs across the office, retail, and hospitality sectors — follows 50% year-on-year growth, with a client portfolio which includes LVMH, Booking.com, Deutsche Börse, Fred Perry, Five Guys, and The Instant Group, as well as several major multinationals in the tech sector, which are based in the French capital.

The Italian office is supervised by country manager, Maria Lusia Daglia, who has recently completed projects for Neosperience, QBE, and Indeed.com. As part of Agilité Solutions’ growth strategy, she will focus on supporting the company’s development in Italy and Europe.

Maria Luisa Daglia commented: “Italy is one of the countries on which Agilité Solutions relies the most, and it is an honour to hold the role of country manager, being able to give my contribution and further push to the growth of the company. My commitment will be to ensure innovative and ad-hoc solutions that guarantee our customers the best value for money in the delivery of their expansion projects.”

The company has also expanded its international team, with the recruitment of six new colleagues with various multidisciplinary skills — from architecture, engineering, and project management to cost estimation. One such hire included Sara Lapointe, who joined the Italian team in the role of executive project manager.

As opportunities in Luxembourg have also increased, the pan-European company has made several local hires to meet the growing demand and, over the next 12 months, will launch a recruitment drive across all sites to increase staffing levels by 30-50%.

Development director, Kirsty Shearer, who heads up the Luxembourg office, said: “Luxembourg is rich in multilingual talent, with a variety of rather unique skills and aptitudes. It also shares its borders with Belgium, France, and Germany, which is crucial as we look to expand in the future.

“The international reputation of the clients we work with — such as UNOFI, Deloitte, JD Sports, T-Systems and Singapore Airlines — speaks for itself and is a testament to the value and expertise of our team.”

The founder and CEO of Agilité Solutions, Neil Coales, credits loyal customers — who account for 70% of the company’s order book — as the driving force behind its rapid expansion: “When we decided to launch Agilité Solutions, the strategy from the beginning was to have a seamless pan-European business that could be operational in multiple locations for multiple customers.

“We don’t want to have an office in every country, rather we identify locations that best support our clients’ growth plans and the strong local supply chains we are trying to build. The pursuit of quality is as much our goal as the overall expansion. That’s why we’ve allocated €1 million in investment in our people and systems as part of our initial five-year plan – it’s critical to our success.”

 

When the time comes to explore new territories in which to put your company flag, there are certain elements you can manage in order to ensure the reputation of the organisation is protected and the quality output is maintained, no matter where in the world you’re operating from.

Here, we offer our top tips for ensuring administrative compliance when expanding across the continent…

  1. Employ a reliable accountant
    As a business grows and diversifies, so do its requirements. When the organisation starts to expand into new territories, it’s wise to enlist financial support — either from a local accountancy firm, or one that understands the intricacies of the financial system within the new location.Although this may sound like an added expense, it’s entirely necessary to ensure you’re presenting the correct fiscal reporting to the authorities, which will prevent nasty surprises down the line.

 

  1. Enlisting local professionals
    Where possible, foster relationships with local suppliers, contractors, and businesses in the area that you can trust to carry out the work to a high standard when working independently. These will be well-versed in local regulations and requirements — which can vary greatly, even in-county. To maintain consistency, it helps to have colleagues who travel to multiple locations, overseeing delivery of projects and can act as a single point of contact.

  1. Set health and safety standards
    Familiarise yourself with the local health and safety regulations and ensure absolute compliance across all territories — we would always recommend going above and beyond the standard rules, as the welfare of the people on site is of the utmost importance. Plus, make sure you are armed with the correct insurance policies as these can vary in different locations throughout Europe.

 

  1. Aim to avoid language and cultural barriers
    It will help to have colleagues who can communicate in the local dialect to guarantee that nothing is lost in translation, and you earn the respect and trust of your neighbours. Equally, certain places may have nuances in terms of culture — understanding and adapting to them will allow you to connect much more effectively. In addition, respect the differences at all times and remember the reputation of the company is at stake.

 

  1. Invest in employee training
    Once you’ve put policies in place, it’s important to ensure you have the team’s support, understanding, and buy in. Thorough teaching of ‘best practice’ will help to reinforce compliance procedures and policies, as well as ensure that everyone is singing from the same hymn sheet. Remember, training shouldn’t just be a one-time event. Ongoing development days help to keep employees engaged and aware of evolving company strategies.

The construction sector is thought to contribute to 50% of climatic change, 40% of water pollution, and 50% of landfill wastes*. And while the nature of our work means Agilité Solutions has some accountability in those figures, we’re working hard to become a more sustainable business, eventually reaching B-Corp status.

The impact we have on the oceans and our world’s water isn’t something that can be left unchecked, which is why we’ve been exploring ways in which we can offset some of that by supporting some very worthy causes.

Charity: Water

Our projects consume a lot of water, and we firmly believe everyone should have access to a clean resource. charity: water is a non-profit organisation bringing safe drinking water to people in developing countries – and we’re supporting one of its projects in Madagascar.

While the country’s rich biodiversity draws environmental and conservation attention, the people who live there are often overlooked. The island ranks 164 out of 189 countries on the 2020 Human Development Index, with over 77% of the population living below the income poverty line.

Our donation will fund a tap stand and piped water system, bringing H2O to approximately 100 people. This short video shares more about life in Madagascar, and you can read more about the charity, here: https://www.charitywater.org/uk.

The Ocean Clean Up

As a business, we know that we contribute to landfill. Therefore, it was important for  us to support an initiative which is helping to put that right.

This non-profit organisation is developing and scaling technologies to rid the world’s oceans of plastic. Based in the Netherlands, its ultimate ambition is to: “put ourselves out of business once the oceans are clean.” You can find out more about this initiative, here: https://theoceancleanup.com/.

Mangrove action project

Construction creates a vast amount of CO2, of which mangroves are significant consumer – and the Mangrove Action Project exists to preserve, conserve, and restore this vital ecosystem. We were impressed by the organisation’s grassroots, bottom-up approach to mangrove conservation and restoration issues.

MAP works through action, advocacy, and education to ensure that mangrove forests are healthy for current generations – as well as those to come. You can find out more about the project, here: https://mangroveactionproject.org/.

Agilité Solutions staff fund

What’s more, we’re also keen to support charities, projects, or initiatives that matter to our colleagues, and have ringfenced a pot of money to back their philanthropic interests, too – with no caveat around the type of support we provide.

The support doesn’t solely need to be financial, either – we’re happy to dedicate time to distribute supplies, support youth learning, clean-up campaign, or any other in-kind initiatives that matter to our team. Watch this space.

*according to research conducted by Bimhow.

Following on from our work on the new NBA store in London’s Soho, we’re delighted to once again be working with the National Basketball Association (NBA) and Fanatics – this time in our home city of Paris. You can read all about the new store in the official press release below.

-Global Retail Giant Lids to Operate New NBA Store in Paris’s Latin Quarter

Opening Summer 2022 – Three-Floor Store Will Feature Latest NBA and WNBA Merchandise, Including Nike Jerseys, Apparel, Memorabilia and More –

The National Basketball Association (NBA) and Fanatics, a digital sports platform and one of the largest global providers of licensed sports merchandise, today announced they will open the first NBA Store in Paris this summer.  The new store, which will be operated by retail giant Lids and located at 20 Boulevard Saint-Michel in Paris’s Latin Quarter, will mark the third NBA Store in Europe, joining London and Milan.

The more than 300-square-meter, three-floor store will feature an extensive range of official NBA and WNBA merchandise and memorabilia, including jerseys, apparel, headwear, sporting goods, toys and collectibles from major brands such as Nike, Mitchell & Ness, New Era and Wilson.  The store will also feature exclusive NBA Paris-branded apparel and novelties as well as a customization area where fans can personalize NBA jerseys and hats for all 30 NBA teams.

As part of the league’s partnership with Fanatics, additional international NBA Stores operated by Lids are scheduled to open this year.  Locations and further information will be announced at a later date.

“At the intersection of fashion and basketball culture, Paris has a unique tradition for the game and some of the most passionate NBA fans in Europe,” said NBA Europe and Middle East Senior Director, Global Partnerships Steve Griffiths.  “Together with Fanatics and Lids, we look forward to welcoming fans from France and beyond to this exciting new and interactive space where they can celebrate their NBA fandom in style.”

“Lids is excited to bring the first NBA Store to Paris,” said Lids Sports Group President Britten Maughan.  “Our location on Boulevard Saint-Michel will offer the widest assortment of NBA products in the country and will be a destination for both locals and tourists.  The NBA is an international brand and has proven to have a broad appeal globally.  The new NBA Store in Paris will offer both fan apparel and trending fashion inspired by NBA culture in the U.S.”

The NBA has more than 400 NBA-branded retail stores and attractions worldwide that serve as the league’s official destinations for fans around the world.  NBA fans in France and across Europe can continue to shop online at NBAStore.eu for a wide range of NBA products featuring all 30 NBA teams.

For more NBA information, fans in France can visit NBA.com/France, the NBA’s official website hosted on beinsports.com, and follow the NBA on Facebook (NBA France), Twitter (@NBAFrance) and Instagram (@NBAEurope)

There’s no escaping the fact that sustainability has well-and-truly found itself a seat at the boardroom table recently – but is the notion of sustainability a longstanding principle that’s here to stay, or just another corporate buzzword?

Our development director, Kirsty Shearer spoke to PBC Today to look at how we can shape the sustainable future of commercial design.

The architecture and construction sector is not alone in its bid to minimise humanity’s impact on the environment, but we are perfectly positioned to play a part in creating a sustainable future for generations to come – with efficiency and moderation in the supply chain, use of materials, and employees proving central to its success.

While initial thoughts may skip to building information modelling (BIM) as the obvious solution, thanks to its ability to gather data throughout the project lifecycle – enabling faster, safer, less wasteful construction. This, coupled with more cost-effective and sustainable operations is a great place to start.

But our attentions shouldn’t end there.

When considering sustainability within the built environment, it’s important to look beyond the physical elements of construction and examine how we create commercial spaces which fit the bill in terms of function, form, longevity, and wellbeing.

By striving to create developments which not only create a better future for the client, the building, and its occupants, it’s possible to play a role in protecting the future of our planet, too.

Sustainable supply chain in construction

Of course, the ability to develop a sustainable design solution is only ever going to be as strong as those setting the brief, outlining the budget, and making the final decisions. But as ‘net zero’ ambitions make their way onto corporate agendas; it is the collective responsibility of all who operate in the built environment to be that ‘critical friend’ and challenge a brief if there’s a way to make a project more sustainable.

That’s why, rather than adding such a sentiment as a ‘nice to have’, there should be a sustainability target set at the very start – with all parties bought into the strategy and rationale behind it. And it should be revisited, tweaked, and referred to throughout the project roll-out.

Of course, that’s in an ideal world. But a great place to start is by making the case to source materials and labour responsibly – and preferably, locally. Negating the requirement to ship supplies across vast oceans in a bid to keep costs down, will help to reduce the emissions associated with ‘getting’ the infrastructure to site, but also means any product issues can be rectified quickly, too.

With a vast pool of sub-contractors to choose from – in most locations – it pays to be picky. As well as sourcing endorsement from ‘happy customers’, look for proven eco-credentials too, particularly when it comes to recycling, travel, and the firm’s own procurement.

Naturally, there will always be cases where a development is driven entirely by budget and ambition – rather than longer-term implications of the design – or when it’s simply impossible to procure goods in any other fashion.

But, even if you are surrounded by people for whom ethical construction sits at the very bottom of the pile, it is still possible to make a difference. Examine your own carbon footprint, implement change if necessary, and be sure to highlight your own ‘green credentials’ as part of any bids.

Sustainability is about more than bricks and mortar

When considering sustainability within commercial interiors, it’s important to look beyond the physical elements of construction, too. The past two years have given workers a ‘reset’ when it comes to where they carry out their jobs – and office space needs to be sympathetic to the needs and wants of those who use it.

While 2020’s overnight shift to homeworking was the start of a complete shake-up in terms of the commercial landscape it forced employees to consider what they want from their career too – as well as where they want their workspace to be.

The ambition to curate holistic design is on the up – and nowhere more prominently than within the office environment. Be it quiet zones for focused work, or relaxed areas which mimic the comforts of home, the new era of the workplace brings with it a very different set of specifics.

Although it’s not an approach which suits every corporate entity, many organisations have woken up to the need to offer sustainable solutions not just in the bricks-and-mortar sense, but via the attitudes and environment they offer colleagues.

Building sustainability into your HR and operational strategies

Going back to an earlier point around sustainability being more than simply striving to become carbon net zero, we mustn’t forget that colleagues expect the firms they work for to show their eco-commitments in all facets of company behaviour too.

Including a nod to sustainability in your company’s value proposition should hopefully be a given – but bringing those to life rests solely on the shoulders of the people who live and breathe them. Therefore, building your recruitment strategy around a desire to collaborate with those who share your way of thinking, is key.

Company leaders should not simply look to fill vacancies with people who have the right qualifications, experience, or background – there are plenty of capable project managers, architects, and developers out there. Rather, make it a priority to employ rounded individuals who are open-minded about bringing something new to the table and driving positive change.

By sourcing talent which truly embraces the opportunity to push the envelope, while challenging clients to genuinely think about the way they intend to use a space, it’s possible to start bringing about meaningful change.

Simply recruiting someone based on their ‘green’ interests isn’t where investment should start and end, though. Offering continued training around what it means to be sustainable to colleagues – perhaps through CPD-accredited courses – will pay dividends in the long run.

Paper-free offices are nothing new, but technology allowed many architecture, design, and construction firms to maintain some semblance of ‘business as usual’ during the height of the pandemic.

Switching lengthy proposal documents for concise PDFs, embracing 360-degree photographic reports, and implementing virtual walkthroughs and handovers are all solutions which are here to stay. And, to take that one step further in terms of operations, consider the potential of using green power to heat offices, reducing non-essential travel, and offsetting the environmental cost of commuting – both in-country and overseas. This can be done via initiatives which help to plant trees across the globe – such as TravelPerk – alongside a sustainability ‘code of conduct’ to ensure everyone upholds company commitments.

Of course, as a global population – never mind industry – we still have a long way to go. But as the people behind buildings that might outlive us all, it’s our responsibility to create them with the future firmly in mind.

It’s a well-known fact that the complex world of retail has experienced a shakeup in recent years, as a result of navigating the various challenges of the pandemic — and subsequent enforced store closures — as well as the increase in online orders in the ever-evolving digital space.

That said, as lockdown restrictions lifted all over the world, and now shopping malls and town centres are open once again, shoppers have returned to physical institutions to experience the traditional method. It’s now in the hands of brand leaders to ensure their retail houses continue to draw people in, fostering a positive and memorable experience for everyone who steps over the threshold.

Agilité Solutions’ junior project manager, Federica Pisacane — who has helped a number of high-profile retail brands to bring their store requirements to life — takes a closer look.

Each and every brand — from multi-million-pound institutions to young, fresh SMEs — has a unique identity and set of values they will work to. These all feed into a sort of ‘brand bible’ which encapsulates the makeup of the brand and can heavily influence how retail store designers envisage the space. For the bigger, luxury names, these can be particularly rigid — with very little movement for interpretation as consistency and curb appeal is key — whereas the smaller, independent brands are typically more fluid.

Here are a number of the main factors that responsible retail designers must take into account when developing the space…

 

Layout and customer flow

The path that a visitor takes around a retail space may feel like a happy accident, but the chances are, this has been carefully considered by the team of designers. And, it is believed that the natural direction for most people is from right to left, or counter-clockwise.

As a result, designers will often ensure particular attention is paid to the very entrance of the store, in order to pique the visitor’s interest, and guide them gently through the space without challenging them to decide their own direction. After all, if the layout is too confusing or distracting, the shopper will be less inclined to focus on the products themselves. Lighting is also key in highlighting particular items, differentiating from the rest of the product line.

 

Target client

It’s vital to have the target demographic in mind throughout the entire design process — from their shopping habits and product preferences to environmental standpoint and lifestyle choices. Take Hermes’ traditionally elegant, sophisticated clientele, for example, the retailer’s upmarket environments typically incorporate sofas, homely touches, and a team of friendly sales assistants who are on hand to help — the sense of luxury and high fashion is evident across any Hermes store you happen to set foot in.

In contrast, the Italian sports fashion label, Off White’s target market is the active, young, and modern shopper — as a result the store is likely to reflect the active lifestyle that the clientele will seek.

Brand positioning

As the sustainability movement continues to gain momentum, brands are seizing the opportunity to reflect their environmental values within their spaces. A perfect example of this point in practice is for the outdoor wear retailer, Timberland, and its reimagination of stores, with nature taking centre stage, complete with wood, reused materials, and a ‘give back’ scheme, which encouragers shoppers to return their unwanted pairs of ‘gently-used’ shoes — to offer them the chance at a new life.

Post-Covid landscape

In preparing to welcome those who do venture out, retailers must be mindful that consumers will be ultra-aware of meeting ‘oncoming traffic’ in the aisles and perhaps wary of the proximity to others in changing rooms, at café tables, and in hair salons – as well as wondering who has touched what.

Carefully-spaced sections and sanitation stations scattered throughout the store are key to ensuring visitors’ safety and comfort while inside the four walls.

Location, location, location

Of course, location cannot be ignored when ‘setting up shop’. Retailers must first establish if an appetite for their store exists in a new territory.

A great method for testing the waters is a pop-up shop to understand the nuances of a different location, and even have a soft trial of an imminent brand campaign.

Experiential retail – more than a store

Finally, understanding how to elevate the customer experience – be it via omnichannel, experiential retail, or simply by adapting existing processes – will inevitably pave the way for trend-setters to emerge as market leaders.

Of course, experiential retail isn’t a new concept – but it’s one which is finding its way into many construction and fit out projects, and something we expect to become an industry expectation in years to come.

By their very nature, high street stores exist to offer products to consumers to see, touch, and try – with a view to them eventually making a purchase. But in recent years, the purpose of a bricks and mortar store has been brought into question as retailers explore what other function they can serve, or ‘experience’ they can create.

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