Westminster-based design and build company Modus recently completed a large-scale CAT B office fit out for Travelfusion in the City of London.
Travelfusion operates one of the world’s largest travel payment platforms, allowing users to easily access millions of daily routes, timetables, fares, hotel descriptions, holidays, and deals that have been sourced from hundreds of travel suppliers.
Having established itself as one of the world’s leading companies in the travel industry, Travelfusion was ready to execute its growth strategy. This included a visual re-imagining of its brand on the 10th floor of the renowned ‘Can of Ham’ building.
Moshe Rafia, CEO of Travelfusion, knew that moving the company’s headquarters into this prominent location meant the design needed to be suitably ambitious and visually arresting. Furthermore, as Travelfusion has built a reputation as an industry game-changer that does things differently, Moshe wanted this to be reflected in the design. To realise this vision, Moshe enlisted the help of project manager and VARdesign founder Elli Vardy, who worked alongside the Modus designers to develop and new design concept.
To create a space to reflect Travelfusion’s forward-thinking culture, Elli and the Modus designers balanced two themes: travel and the Memphis design movement. For those unfamiliar with Memphis, it is a colourful, fun, and wacky design style founded in Italy in the 1980s. Such is the cyclical nature of art. Memphis has crept back into vogue in recent years, and combining it with the travel-themed elements has made for a unique, contemporary, innovative design.
The patterned ceramic tiles, angular wall prints, striking printed fabrics, and luxurious terrazzo-effect flooring all owe their inclusion to the Memphis revival. Equally, the kitsch breakout area furniture underpins the Memphis theme without tarnishing the space’s contemporary edge, while a suitably varied colour scheme pervades.
In addition to Elli and the designers, Modus’s graphic design team played in a key role in achieving Moshe’s vision. For example, to reflect the travel theme, the graphic design team created arrow graphics for the concrete flooring. This creates a circulation route between different areas of the office, it gives the impression of a tarmac airport runway.
Above this, the plasterboard ceiling with integrated strip lighting was lowered to mirror the concrete runway. This draws attention to the circulation route and helps to connect the different areas of the office.
Modus’s graphic designers also created wayfinding wall signs with icons (male and female figures for toilets, a coffee cup for the tea point, etc.) to accompany the circulation route. These are inspired by authentic British Airport Authority signage, making for quirky, fun, and fitting details.
Another moment of inspiration came when Modus decided to install a bespoke office divider made of airplane-style fins. This makes for an eye-catching feature and complements the artistic theme by providing an element of abstraction.
As Travelfusion values communication and teamwork, Moshe wanted the design to imbue a buzzing atmosphere and support collaboration. To achieve this, the Modus design team opted for an expansive open-plan layout combined with multiple meeting rooms. The shared desks cultivate a team-led, egalitarian environment, while the meeting rooms offer extra spaces for private conversations and creative collaboration. Additionally, Modus introduced ad-hoc meeting zones around the space to drive employee engagement.
Another critical aspect of the layout design was its direction to the sun. Instead of designing the layout in line with the existing floorplate, Modus shifted the perspective by creating a space that faces true north. This innovative design decision reflects Travelfusion’s progressive ethos and brings the bold, colourful Memphis aesthetic to life.
Through outside-the-box thinking and smart space planning, Elli and Modus have achieved Moshe’s objectives. As a result, Travelfusion now has a unique, state-of-the-art office suitable for its present and future operations. Furthermore, the incredible new headquarters will ensure the company feels right at home in the prestigious Can of Ham building.
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