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Versus Arthritis

When over 30 million working days are lost every year in the UK as a result of musculoskeletal conditions, it’s little surprise that the organisation dedicated to curing them sought a workplace design that puts the physical health of its people first. Focusing on their team and its needs, we crafted an office interior design that supports wellbeing and promotes flexible working, particularly for those living with arthritis.


  • Medium (12,000 sq ft sq. ft)


  • London

An opportunity for truly inclusive workplace design

From the very beginning, it was clear that this project represented more than your typical office fit-out. For our design team it was an opportunity to develop a workplace that placed inclusion and users’ wellbeing at the heart of the design – so understanding these users and their individual needs was key. The AIS project team put itself in the shoes of someone with an MSK condition and the everyday challenges it presents, helping us identify the key factors for a healthy, productive workplace design.

The Versus Arthritis team understand better than most the impact that the office has on employee health and wellbeing. This gave us the exciting opportunity to put wellness at the core of our design – creating comfortable and calm work settings where their team can produce their best work. After close collaboration with the Versus Arthritis team to understand their objectives it was with their vision for the future in mind, we took popular design innovations such as ‘open plan’ and biophilia, implementing them correctly with employee productivity at the heart of our design solution.

Ergonomic design for varied users

We focussed on creating spaces that would complement the team’s differing working needs and styles. This included identifying a need for both privacy and collaboration, and physical activity as well as quiet reflection. What’s more, our designers chose to harness the physical and psychological benefits of biophilia through a comprehensive planting scheme, including a number of moss walls and other natural elements. For users with musculoskeletal conditions, every detail – from door handles to sofas and chairs – was selected ease of use and long-term wellbeing, with options offered when a ‘one size suits all’ design didn’t exist in the market, enabling users to choose what best works for them.

A refreshing workplace design concept for all users

The realisation is a refreshingly unconventional vision for modern workplace wellbeing. Moving away from the traditional reception concept, you emerge from the building’s central lifts to find yourself directly in one of the many collaborative meeting zones, mixing staff and visitors in a way that naturally promotes openness and trust, while the heart of the office is a centralised refreshments station and breakout area to retain the strong sense of community. The central
location of this breakout area has created a real hub of energy within the space that people are drawn into, it’s a space for collaboration, relaxation and social gathering. Elsewhere, different styles of working are catered for through a mix of tucked-away ‘focus pods’, media booths, meeting rooms and open-plan project spaces. Just as importantly, dedicated ‘retreat’ and ‘wellness’ rooms provide relaxed environments for contemplation, stretching and gentle exercise. Biophilia is prevalent throughout the space and a comprehensive planting scheme was developed to include a number of moss walls and other natural elements – each chosen specifically based on their air purifying quality.

The successful outcome of this project relied heavily on a close working relationship with the client’s project team. Throughout the design process we worked with Versus Arthritis and developed a stakeholder group that included those with MSK conditions. The group formed an integral part of our decision making process and were involved in a number of ways from the selection of furniture and crockery, to writing the office etiquette for the space.

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