The task was clear: we said “no” to another classic office, we aimed for a unique building with a new interior that uses modern technologies for its everyday operation. A building with an interior that will induce a family like environment and make our employees feel comfortable. This is what Churchill I, Deloitte’s new headquarters, is like. For example, it makes use of energy recuperation and it uses water from the retention reservoirs for watering the green vegetation enclosing the building. The office building at Vinohrady in Prague is designed as a tree with branches – there are 7 floors “stemming” from the trunk. The new premises recently hosted the latest Deloitte SheXo club meeting.
“Why in fact is the building so important for us?” that is the question that Senta Čermáková, the Director of Innovations at Deloitte, and the face of the SheXo club asked at the very start of the meeting. She then went on to give the answer: “We had such a dream – we wanted to move our people to a building they would like, to a building where they would feel happy, where they would be productive and where they would create beautiful things. And at the same time, we thought of our friends, clients, families, children and students – of all the people to whom the Deloitte brand means something.” Naturally, Deloitte needed help in order to realise that dream. Representatives of our major partners accepted our invitation and remembered how the whole project came into being. However, there were many more interesting guests.
Twelve Months of Searching …
When Deloitte decided that the time was ripe to look for new offices, it came as natural to address its long-term partner, JLL consulting company which had selected for Deloitte the previous building, where the company stayed for over than 12 years. Petr Kareš, the head of the department for lessee representation, gave away how the whole process was done. “The selection process took about a year. At first we compared almost 30 projects, then we reduced the number down to 6. We analysed technical parameters, lease conditions, finance etc. In the end, we had three projects to choose from. And despite the time risk involved, Deloitte chose the option, which I consider to be a great alternative, and decided to move to Churchill.”
1. The vision work environment, ie the opportunity to conceptualise the whole building as “tree branches” where the shared areas for meeting people make a kind of trunk from which smaller work areas stem (“branches”) – with classic offices for regular work.
2. Vicinity to the University of Economics and the related availability of workforce. Potential cooperation between these two institutions when students can do their internship and gain their experience in a highly professional company and Deloitte has an opportunity to attract skilful students to join the company.
3. Visibility. When you look out the window at the horizon, you will see most of the centre of Prague. And this visibility is reciprocal. So, when you place a building here and you place a logo on that building…. Simply, you are visible.
Very Tight Deadline
Pavel Streblov, business director from Penta Real Estate, remembered how his company was considering whether to realise the project with Deloitte or not. Why? “One of Deloitte’s requirements was the schedule. We hesitated whether we would be able to meet the deadline, as it meant constructing the building in 16 months instead of the standard 18 months. And what’s more, we were to modify it to reflect Deloitte’s needs. We managed in the end….”
One of the major topics in the recent years has been the concept of sustainability of buildings that Penta is trying to apply to all its projects. Pavel Streblov pointed out that there are a vast number of technologies and that it is necessary to choose the one that makes sense both economically and in terms of environmental protection. In Churchill, you can find for example a water recycling system – all the green vegetation around the building is watered with water from the retention reservoirs. The water from reservoirs is partially used also for toilet flushing. In addition, the building uses recuperation and economic ventilation.
What is Deloitte’s SheXO Club?
Since 2014 we have been organising regular non-informal meetings of successful women from the business environment as well as ambitious women that have just started their career. As part of the SheXO club we invite them to interesting and unusual venues where we introduce them to people who are special in some way. We always try to make our meetings beneficial and want them to enable the attendees to exchange new findings. At the same time, it is very important for us that the women attending our meetings feel comfortable and enjoy the event. The patrons and main faces of the project are Diana Rádl Rogerová, Deloitte’s Managing Partner, and Senta Čermáková, the Director of Innovations at Deloitte.
“Let’s Feel At Home Here”
The next guest who had something to say to the ladies about Churchill, was the architect Michal Kunc, whose studio Ateliér Kunc Architects is behind the exceptionally successful interior of the building. “The starting point was that we did not want to make regular offices, we did not want to make just another corporate interior,” Michal Kunc explained at the beginning of his speech and continued: “We wanted to create a multi-layer story that people will enjoy and that will not look like an office. Fortunately, thanks to Penta, we got involved in the process quite early on so that we could influence the design of the building – thus we could design the whole interior, which is something we had never been able to do before.” The architects based the whole concept from the very beginning on the motto “let’s feel at home here”. Their philosophy was to create positive emotion and a friendly atmosphere, which they indeed managed, as it was further proved by the excited exclamations of ladies on their tour through the individual floors.
The Story of the Staircase
There is an unusual spiral staircase connecting the first and the second floors. Every visitor notices it at first sight. What inspired the architects to include such an element in the design? When we were looking for the right atmosphere that we wanted for Deloitte, the closest we could think of was the atmosphere of some kind of boutique hotel – a design of a hotel, because this is where top architects aim at materials and colours that make you feel good there. We managed to convey this emotion here. And we noticed that good hotels always have some form of art. And we had various discussions on what kind of art to put in here and we found that everything was too unnatural. So, in the end we decided: let’s make art that will be a piece of art, yet it will be functional. And so we created this staircase,” Michal Kunc revealed.
Deloitte As An Unofficial Part of the Campus of the University of Economics
“People say that it is better to have a good neighbour than a good brother.” Senta Čermáková used these words to usher the rector of the University of Economics, Hana Machková. The University of Economics is located right across the street and thus, the cooperation between the university and Deloitte can be really intensive. Students from the university have their internships at Deloitte and they will have the work opportunities that Deloitte offers first hand. And what’s more, Diana Rádl Rogerová has newly become a member of the Council for Internal Evaluation and Quality Assurance at the University of Economics, and as Hana Machková said, Diana Rádl Rogerová will thus have an opportunity to influence the quality of studies or the content of the study programmes. The cooperation goes even beyond professional cooperation. “We have been addressed by the Foundation of Tereza Maxová – we were asked whether we could provide accommodation in our halls of residence for children from foster care homes who will do a summer job in the summer. And Deloitte agreed that it would help us with this project financially,” Hana Machková described the first one of such joint projects.
Have a look at the past meetings of Deloitte’s SheXO club: www.deloitte.cz/shexoclub.