Digital glazing graphics and branded manifestation at Skype’s London HQ

Signbox apply Skype cool with digital glazing graphics at London HQ.

Signbox has successfully completed an extensive signage project for the stylish new London offices of Microsoft subsidiary Skype. The refurbished offices occupy 90,000 sq ft over three floors of Waterhouse Square, Holborn; a Grade II listed, gothic landmark considered one of London’s most distinguished buildings. The innovative layout and radical departure from a conventional workspace was designed for Skype by tp bennett LLP, the award winning architectural practice, and delivered by ISG. The prestigious and contemporary fit-out includes a reception, open plan and cellular offices, an engineering lab, meeting rooms – all with full AV/Video conference capability, focus rooms in addition to informal break-out and meeting areas. Maximising natural light, the spaces cluster around a series of hubs, the most central of which is called ‘The Chill’, where everyone can meet, eat and network. The giant screens there allow everyone in the building to share a Skype call with colleagues in Skype offices across the globe.

Signbox worked in close partnership with the RAW design team and tp bennett, to communicate the Skype brand across the office environment. Involving a meticulous design and testing phase, Signbox utilised their latest in-house Durst Omega 2 to print some 1,000 sq metres of optically clear Lintec film to provide manifestation across all the glazed partitions and doors. The design provided privacy screening whilst still maintaining a light and airy feel to the spaces. Importantly the manifestation had to work with Skype’s AV technology, by blending the dot pattern in critical areas for each and every room. The Durst fine art printer is ideally suited to large format work where the exact percentage of white opacity can be specified. Signbox even incorporated the famous emoticons within the design, a quirky twist that’s very much in keeping with what is essentially a fun building.

Each floor is organised by theme – British bands, products and people – with every room named accordingly. Signbox laser cut acrylic signage and produced a range of bespoke way-finding icons, designed specifically by RAW, to assist with the multi-lingual Skype team.

Matthew Wilkins, director of Signbox, commented: “This was an exciting project, working in partnership with RAW, Skype, tpbennett and ISG to deliver a technically demanding project, on time and a challenge we delighted in. The manifestation not only complements an outstanding office space but performs an important technical function too.”