- May 31st, 2012
- in Yachting
Road Town’s bustling financial sector is guided through savvy business practice and international appeal. According to 2012 statistics from the International Finance Committee, there are currently more than 450,000 companies and 3,000 hedge funds registered in the territory. Though the BVI has continually found ways to attract business in modern times, it has largely remained rustic by design—until fairly recently.
In our February issue, we highlighted the work of interior designer Debi Carson, who partnered with OBMI on the modern layout of Conyers Dill & Pearman two top floors of Commerce House. There, the use of subtle curves in sculpting walls and ceilings combined with a calculated use of linear space to promote the purposeful use of light. At the same time construction at Conyers concluded, financial services giant Ogier moved forward on a similar push toward modern design. The move, I’d find out, would be fundamental in allowing the company to sustain growth.
Last year at this time, the legal and fiduciary company Ogier encompassed five separate spaces across two locations outside Road Town. The facilities’ small size and apparent disconnect made upgrading a priority for the international business, which has enjoyed steady growth since first investing in the BVI in 2007. According to Ogier BVI Operations Coordinator Shernett Matthias, the separated spaces “meant disjoined business with additional overheads in time and challenges to business efficiencies; we had some people who rarely interacted with their colleagues in other teams—not conducive to the values of Ogier and the innovative approach to services our colleagues value.” So, just before the turn of the new year, they embarked on an ambitious plan to bring the company together under one roof—and two floors—as the first tenants of the Ashley Ritter building on Wickhams Cay II.
Ogier enlisted the interior design work of OBMI, the construction services of Amorell Newton, the IT expertise from Think Simple and the survey help from BCQS. Ogier, as an international company with 10 locations globally, came to the table with ideas derived from the corporate style of their network of offices worldwide.
“It wasn’t strictly telling us how to design, but they had expectations as far as finishes, furniture, lighting and quality of space go—essentially the overall Ogier look—which is a kind of corporate approach to getting consistency with high standards,” said Steve Fox, managing director of OBMI BVI, who added that Ogier was quite keen on ideas that allowed them to fall in line with modern design now trending elsewhere outside the BVI. Steve worked closely with OBMI senior interior designer Penny Johnson on the project. “They were prepared to have offices with glazed doors—offices in the BVI that businesses have traditionally steered away from. And this modern approach really worked so well for that building, especially since it has such great light flow,” he said.
Perhaps most striking about the use of space throughout the two floors is the utilization of DIRTT glazed walls and doors to bring in light and transparency at every turn. “Wherever you stand, you can see windows, so you never feel boxed in,” the OBMI director said. In total, 335,780 square inches of DIRTT glass was used during the design process.
Ogier also pushed to bring modern and high-speed technology into their office space. They called upon Think Simple to roll out 52,000 feet—or about 10 miles—of 10-giggabite Cat6A cable, which is currently the fastest copper cabling on the planet. “It’s like driving down a five-lane highway—that’s the sort of size and space you’ve got for sending across data,” said Think Simple President Rusty Henderson.
He further mentioned the conference rooms, which house a large area divided by a slideable partition. The challenge, he said, was creating the two rooms separate from each other but with the ability to host one large meeting or two separate meetings at the same time. The two rooms can link up their audio-video at a touch of a button or create a private channel for personal conferences. Also, multiple laptop plugs allow clients and coworkers to plug in and control the conference with their portable devices—free of clunky hard drives and personal computers, “So you’re eliminating the use for the AV guys,” he said.
Regarding the project as a whole, Steve Fox credited the overall design to a company set on an idea of modernization without a fear of overspending. “This is the prime example of a place really raising the bar with design elements,” he said. “And maybe there will be even more doing so, because you’ll find that it comes at a relatively reasonable cost.” In the end, he said, costs remained attainable at a reasonable price and advanced planning allowed the team to complete a modern project as a testiment to the times.
Office Outfit at a Glance:
18,582: total square feet over 2 floors
335,780 square inches of glass
49,418 electrical parts concealed inside walls
2,160 lineal feet of base trim
52,000 feet of copper cabling
7 months construction time