Manchester’s ‘smartest workplace’ opens after £50m transformation programme

Manchester’s “smartest workplace” has been launched by Bruntwood Works, boasting features such as a ‘central nervous system’ smart tech platform, and a new lighting system designed to replicate the body’s 24-hour cycle.

The firm claims to have launched the city’s most tech-enhanced workspace at 111 Piccadilly following its refurbishment as part of its £50m ‘Pioneer’ transformation programme.

Aiming to put health and wellbeing first, the workplace now includes a ‘central nervous system’ – a smart tech platform aiming to connect a physical space with its people, processes and systems, using data to enhance user experience.

It also uses a new ‘circadian’ lighting system – designed to replicate a 24-hour cycle of sleep, wake, hunger, alertness, and body temperature – combined with the use of planting and greenery in biophilic design.

Manchester’s ‘smartest workplace’ opens at 111 Piccadilly

Advanced technology such as sensors to monitor air quality, space utilisation and energy usage, will also drive operational efficiencies and help to reduce waste, Bruntwood said. It’s trialling a prop-tech app to allow customers access to the data.

Andrew Cooke, strategic director at Bruntwood Works, said: “The cutting-edge technology we’ve introduced at 111 Piccadilly will transform the building and its environment for the benefit of the people within it.

“By collating real-life data about how and when the building is used we will be able to provide an even better customer experience, and ultimately create more efficient and sustainable workspaces.

“The transformation of 111 Piccadilly has also completely rewritten the rule book for refurbishments and proves smart tech is not just the domain of new builds.

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“Our team has created a blueprint for redeveloping existing assets to create workspaces of the future and that’s something they should be proud of. I can’t wait to welcome our customers back to the smartest building in Manchester.”

The ground floor is set to become Platinum Standard WELL certified next year – an international building standard for health in the built environment. Bruntwood Works’ 111 Piccadilly would be one of the first coworking spaces in Europe to achieve the accreditation.

Smart tech will also ensure the space is Covid-secure, Bruntwood said.

The building’s digital kiosk – the next generation concierge – provides guidance and wayfinding advice to help regulate traffic and monitor footfall, as well as providing live transport timetable information.

Bruntwood said the entrance to the workspace has been “transformed” to include The Gem – a new sculptured feature that will provide exhibition space for local artists – as well as a communal area for people to gather and socialise.

A new independent cafe and lounge – operated by Ancoats Coffee – is also set to open to the public in 2021.

As part of the scheme, Bruntwood Works has partnered with Artin Light and StudioTech on a 200ft innovative lighting installation that sits across three sides of the iconic building, creating an illuminated gateway into the city and a beacon for the North West community.

The installation can respond in real time to events taking place in the city – it lit up blue in recognition of the NHS during the peak of the coronavirus pandemic.

An interactive feature is also being developed so the public can engage with the display via social media channels.

Inside, there is also a digital art display called ‘Footfall’ by local artist, Andrew Small, which reacts with people’s body movements as they enter and leave the building.

Business Live – North West

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