Active in more than 215 countries and territories and with about 60 000 employees globally, Zurich Insurance is one of the leading multi-line insurers in the world.
Work began to develop their office spaces in the town of Swindon in Wiltshire, England as part of a £39 million project in the existing “Unity Place” building. In 2023, the new spaces were inaugurated and ready to welcome a team of over 1000 employees.
Swindon Office Design by Alec French Architects
Six stories high, Zurich Insurance’s Unity Place office development is powered entirely by renewable electricity and boasts a myriad of eco-friendly features such as electric charging points, cycling facilities, energy-efficient lighting, and a beehive on its roof. The Bristol-based firm Alec French Architects are behind the design of the new office spaces, and Skanska as main contractor.
Inside, a limited colour palette creates a paired back, industrial aesthetic which also manages to offer visual warmth and a sense of quality and light, with full height window walls featured throughout as well as furniture partly made from recovered ocean plastics.
The insurance giant had already been present in the city for over fifty years, and their new offices further reinforce their commitment to the Wiltshire County. “Having grown up in Swindon, it’s great to be able to give something back to the community I had such a great start in. It’s crucial we can give local people the chance to build a career in their hometown. This includes investing in a building that will enhance the lives of employees and the wider community,” said Tim Bailey, CEO of Zurich UK, in a news announcement.
A Range of Acoustic Solutions
The varied work of installing the acoustic solutions throughout the Swindon offices was the responsibility of the Bristol-based interior fit out company Topfix Interiors. The high light reflectance of the ceiling systems they installed across Unity Place optimises natural light, helping provide healthy interiors whilst minimising energy costs.
“This stunning development offered us the great opportunity to feature around 3800 square metres of our specialist ranges to meet the specific needs of the spaces which make up this great project,” said Rockfon Specification Manager Rowan Green.
These ranges of solutions include:
- Rockfon Eclipse frameless acoustic islands in Square, Rectangle, and Circle, which were installed in various formats and dimensions throughout the building.
- Rockfon Color-all acoustic ceiling tiles in the Charcoal option, installed using secret fixings under stairways where visual impact and sound control were important considerations.
- Rockfon Medicare acoustic ceiling tiles in the restrooms to offer outstanding performance in terms of both infection control and acoustic comfort.
- Rockfon Blanka acoustic ceiling tiles, which offer deep-matte and super white surfaces, were installed in two variants.
“This was an interesting, challenging, and ultimately very rewarding project. We had to research a new system using parallel suspension rails on the north side of the development. The crane necessary to carry out high level installations within the multi-storey atrium also tested the team’s skills and fortitude,” said Topfix Site Manager Scott Dunn.
“Rockfon was able to supply products in the required dimensions and within budget. Acoustics were very important – calculations were made, with their products providing the solutions which complied to the relevant regulations," said architect Mercedes Mortalla Cebrian from Alec French Architects.