The Challenge

As a global leader in the advertising sector, McCann Worldgroup recognized the shift in the industry towards more integrative working practices. In pursuit of their long term vision, they felt compelled to move out of their old Madrid base: a 1970s multi-storey office with individual cubicles and a layout that promoted division and hierarchical organization. They came to us looking for a solution that would revamp their work culture and spark a mindset revolution for their team.

The Outcome

We created an innovative and engaging home for McCann’s team of over 500 people. The space we presented marked a cultural shift in the way the company works, giving the business space to grow without the restrictions of a more traditional office environment. We threw out the isolated workspaces to foster the collaboration and creativity essential for a global advertising company responsible for a diverse portfolio of brands.

With a carefully orchestrated change management process, we guided every step of the transition to McCann’s new space in order to minimize any impact on their business and get the diverse teams up and running with a more open way of working as soon as possible. The well-being and productivity of McCann’s employees increased dramatically with a palpable business impact following close behind.

Discovery

The leader’s response to advertising industry change

With McCann planning to leave behind the building it had called home for 35 years, the company decided to focus on its future. The company realised they needed to work in an environment that was innovative, open, bright, and one that fostered creativity and ignited inspiration. To make this vision a reality, they reached out to our team at Studio Banana.

 

Breaking down a complex ecosystem

Good space design requires a profound understanding of the individuals who use it. Our team spent several weeks working alongside McCann staff in their former facilities, talking to employees, discovering the unique challenges of their positions, and analysing the old work culture. We gained a detailed understanding of all of the users’ requirements before kickstarting our design process. By doing this we ensured that everyone at McCann contributed in some way to the overall vision.

We identified two main areas that needed special attention in developing the bespoke design for McCann’s new home. First, the work environment needed to be conducive to creativity, be more informal and less stifling than the previous one. Second, we needed to address the lack of a sense of community within the company, a shortcoming exacerbated by separate floors dividing the company into silos and sub-brands.

Ideation & Design

Reimagining work spaces and relationships

Our work started with tearing down walls, both literally and figuratively. We took full advantage of the opportunity offered by the company’s move to a new location in a spacious former textile factory.

To keep the industrial spirit of the building alive, we envisioned an open and creative space. With this design, we looked to restructure and reinvigorate McCann’s workflow, as well as the relationships between different departments and with clients.

 

Fostering a sense of community

With a more transparent and democratic configuration, McCann’s team can now enjoy an open and fluid work environment punctuated by inspiring brainstorming rooms, homey directors’ offices, evocative relaxation areas and more. The most characteristic elements of the project are a series of ‘huts’ distributed throughout the new space. The majority of these huts host shared facilities and are positioned to resemble a village. Thanks to the open plan design, natural light flows through every part of the building, encouraging a stronger feeling of connection and community among staff members.  

Implementation

Reviving the building’s 1950s industrial spirit

To preserve the building’s industrial heritage, our design included exposing the original walls and ceiling, as well as installing energy-efficient paned windows. The open layout principle, combined with the industrial backdrop, offers a two-fold benefit: it creates an atmosphere of informality and openness that fosters collaboration, exchange, and serendipity, while making allowances for the deep floor plan, typical of industrial buildings.

Furniture Design

Bespoke office desk

Particular attention was given to the desks themselves. Their bespoke design caters to McCann’s employees’ specific needs and features laminated wood sourced from sustainable forests. Their characteristic metal frames allow personalisation and can be used to hang plants, headphones, etc., while fabric panels are available to absorb sound and separate spaces to create privacy when desired.

Look and Feel

Aesthetic variety with a common thread

Monotonous workspaces have proven to decrease productivity, which becomes highly problematic in an innovation-focused industry like advertising. We fought uniformity by creating distinctive spaces, with a rich colour-palette, and diverse spatial layouts.  

Adding unique cultural elements like traditional pottery and woven baskets to different spaces brings texture to McCann’s workplace. While distinct in their design, these objects are linked through their cultural heritage, bringing the space together as a sort of collection. Now, the different departments of the company feel like diverse, interconnected neighbourhoods within the same bustling metropolis.

Wayfinding Design

Showing the way

Beyond the creation of a cutting-edge and bespoke workspace, we consider no place-making project complete without the design of a wayfinding system fully integrated with both the architectural design and overall spirit of the project. This included the naming of different spaces and the development of three types of signs: orientation, landmarks and inspiration.

Using colour-coding and respecting McCann’s visual identity, the orientation signs are attached to walls of huts as though simply pinned on, in line with the informal working atmosphere.

Landmark signage is used in special areas like relaxation zones, presentation rooms and meeting spaces. This helps users orient themselves and makes for a visually stimulating office environment.

Inspiration signage is found in unexpected corners of the workplace. Staff members stumble upon messages of congratulations, tips, or quotes where they least expect it. With these little details, the work space feels warmer, and more stimulating for staff members.

Onboarding a company into a new working culture

As the McCann team moved into their new home, we were there to guarantee a smooth transition. We wanted to make sure that all McCann employees were able to utilise the space we had created to its full capacity. With this in mind, we worked with McCann to help their team members internalise the intended use of different elements of their new home to ensure a successful shift in McCann’s working culture.

Conclusion

A bespoke, end-to-end service

This ultra-tailored approach encourages collaboration among teams, providing a complete end-to-end service. Bespoke design requires thorough research, teamwork, brainstorming, meticulousness, and follow-up.

The McCann Worldgroup Headquarters project was finished in 2016, but we couldn’t simply move on. At Studio Banana, we understand that a change of this magnitude would weigh heavily on the McCann team members—some of whom have been with the company for years. To help them navigate their new space, the designers involved in the project went to the headquarters in person to explain the changes and how each feature was designed to make their working lives simpler.

The feedback has been overwhelmingly positive. McCann’s team members report feeling satisfied and connected with the space—which is no easy task, given the building spans a total of 5,600 square meters.

 

Want to know more?

To discover more about this project and how we can work together, please contact us at newbusiness@studiobanana.com