Alium had worked pro bono for the various incarnations of Future Business and parent organisation Allia for several years prior to this project happening. This had involved advice on building stock, space planning and fitting out for tenants. After several years of negotiation Allia partnered Cambridge Regional College in developing a parcel of land in North Cambridge to create an enterprise and innovation incubator building called The Future Business Centre. Acting as the client’s consultant Alium were involved at virtually all stages of the buildings lengthy process of development.
The project was funded in part through a European Commission grant which required competitive tendering of virtually all elements of the project. Where these fell outside the Developers responsibility Alium were involved on Allia’s behalf. Following initial Planning input Alium were then part of the impartial Architects selection process.
As part of the Clients Representative on the design team Alium were responsible for input on the building’s FFE and its interior look and technical specification generally. This focussed largely on a stripped-back urban aesthetic that left the building’s concrete frame and service delivery exposed and on view to building users. This approach has further informed subsequent FBC developments.
As well as being involved in the general building detail Alium were also responsible for specific elements of the project where a more specialist element of design was required. In particular this involved the design of the main entrance area in the central atrium and included the Reception itself, the Kitchen and Café servery, Waiting areas and the adjacent Conference suite. Alium were similarly involved however in the layout of most of the office spaces, the design of the kitchen and break-out areas on each floor and even the Centres signage and information display.
Lastly Alium took on the role of specifying the building's full furniture provision. This was laid out and fully specified via a performance and aesthetic specification which formed the basis of a detailed tender process. Once more the European funding gave this process an additional layer of legal and contractual implication that required careful navigation.
The Future Business Centre continues to be a significant success and is testament to the considerable vision and enthusiasm of all the individuals that worked to make it happen.
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