Every year Paul takes his staff abroad for their annual Christmas party, last year it was destination, Barcelona. I organised and manged the trip for 25 members of staff, from Directors to Juniors, and booked us into the fabulous U232 Hotel on Carrer del Comte d’Urgell. The hotel was exactly the kind of hotel Paul likes to stay in, cool, contemporary and oozing a bit of culture.
Back at home, Paul had made plans to move offices, from Lock 90 Deansgate Locks, which is where my company Red Russian PR is also based, to the hub of Manchester city centre – No 66 Deansgate. Deansgate houses an eclectic mix of bars, restaurants, corporate businesses, retail outlets and boutiques. It was the perfect destination for The Sedulo Group – a group of financial advisers offering a personable service to a wide variety of clients in corporate business, fashion, sport and media.
Once the office space was found, which boasts three floors and a rooftop overlooking Manchester city centre, it was all systems go! Paul and I spoke endlessly about design ideas, and more often than not, Paul convincing me he wanted a rooftop Tiki bar, a sports room and a bar area. This was suppose to be a working environment, not a bachelor pad! But I noted down his pipedream ideas and decided to work my hardest and make it come true. He appointment me as Project Manager and Interior Designer to be on site every day and making every detail come to life. Building work commenced in January but before starting my biggest project to date, it was time to hit Barcelona for some down time with the team.
When we arrived at the U232 hotel, Paul was blown away by the bar and the concept. I took numerous pictures on my iPhone to use them for my inspo board.The walls were black and white monochrome stripes, juxtaposed with mahogany wooden beams and chrome fittings. Everything from the colour palettes, textures, light and shade and the ambiance was exactly what I had to try and create.
January arrived in the blink of an eye and I was ready to hit the ground running. My first day on the building site was a culture shock, it was a freezing cold January, the floors were covered in files, paper, broken cabinets, contiboard desks, battered old chairs…its was a mess. I met the team who were going to pull this project together, Urbanise who are a team of builders and contractors with a eye for design. Once we had a few lengthy brainstorming ideas and a few giggles at Paul’s crazy ideas, I knew I was going to love working with these guys. I had my own pair of onsite building boots, hi-vis vest and it soon became my second home.
I found out I was pregnant 4 weeks into this project, and as most pregnant women will know, the nausea and tiredness was a killer, but work was on a tight schedule and we had until the end of March to complete. I spend hours sourcing furniture, matching colour swatches, bidding for quirky furniture from auctions sites and designing a bespoke bar from scratch. The concept of designing a creative working environment is so important to Paul. Its a key element in inspiring his staff, motivating their minds and making them more productive, a method which has seen his workforce from from a small team of accountants to a team of 30 staff to date, across tax, payroll, wealth management and corporate finance departments.
Each boardroom is named after an entrepreneur who has inspired Paul in his career, and each suite has its own unique theme, purpose and showpiece.
Steve Jobs Suite
The idea for this suite was to offer a bright, comfortable working space for the PR and Marketing team to read financial literature on the gaming chairs with the low axis coffee table, brainstorming and making notes on a full size roller vintage blackboard that was sourced from a primary school from the 1970’s in Buckinghamshire.
Sir Richard Branson Suite
The largest of the boardrooms, this was a monster to fill, with a super sized boardroom table that seats up to 10 clients. The frosted glass and chrome table was sourced from a manufacturer in Milan, which we had to buy two of just to fill the room. The walls are framed with an inspirational quote from Mr Branson himself, artwork from Faye Giblin which are available to purchase, and a deals wall showcasing all the corporate finance acquisitions and deals over the past few years, engraved on unique crystal paper weights.
Walt Disney Suite
The master of childhood escapism, Mr Disney has four inspirational quotes framing the Sedulo Sweet Shop, which offers a selection of retro sweets that take you back to your childhood. From Cola Cubes, Kop Kop’s, Bon Bon’s and pear drops, clients and visitors can help them selves to a bag of candy’s during their meetings. The sweets are displayed on a bookcase that was sourced from a Monastery in Lincolnshire, which has been renovated and restored to bring it back to life. The 8 seated boardroom is one of the most popular suites used by staff and clients…I wonder why!
Michael Jordan Suite
The ultimate sports room, which is also used as a corporate meeting space overlooking Deansgate, also showcases a full size slate bed pool table as its centrepiece. The wall art feature of the overlooking crowd keeps the informal ambiance of the room playful and lighthearted, while clients can help themselves to a range of soft drinks from the vintage Coca Cola fridge.
The Regency Club
Paul got his wish, with a fully functioning bar, which was originally a working office desk space, and is now used for team meetings, seminars, events and casual drinking. The banquet seating offers an intimate working space, whilst the open plan bar area is welcoming, sociable and perfect for group drinking and dining. The bar is fully stocked with soft and alcoholic beverages, all on the house, and the commercial barista coffee machine makes the perfect lattes, cappuccinos, macchiatos and americanos. We cannot forget Mrs B’s homemade cupcakes that are made twice a week to compliment our tea and coffee service perfectly! The ambiance is sexy, contemporary and relaxing during the day, with James Bay and Sunset Soul playing through the iPod. Fast forward to event evenings with our mixologist shaking up cocktails and the bar turns into a members club vibe.
The open plan offices on the second floor, is perfect for staff to build closer employee relationships. All the departments across accounts, tax, HR, payroll, PR, marketing and wealth management are all housed here with a contemporary bespoke kitchen, office space and chillout area. Sedulo are currently hiring new staff in tax, accounts and payroll. Go to their careers hub page for more information. Who wouldn’t want to work in an environment like this?!
Three months on and I am still putting my finishing touches making sure the attention to detail is perfect. From Molton Brown hand wash and Jo Molone candles, to freshly delivered fruit and homemade cakes. The Rooftop at The Regency Club is still under construction and will be open as a Tiki Bar this Spring.
I will be going on maternity leave in June, and will be looking for a suitable candidate to take on my role as PR & Events Manager. This is an office space with an edge at its best, my biggest project to date and I am proud as punch to be part of such an amazing team of people.
For further enquires regarding the role as PR & Events Manager, please email firstname.lastname@example.org. For all other recruitment enquries, please email email@example.com
Photo credit: James Maddox
Wall Art Design: Seb Mather, www.wunder.co.uk