On an upward Curve

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Incyte Biosciences, Leatherhead

Its been another big year for Bracknell-based Curve Workplaces which has seen a further increase in turnover, this time by over 60%, taking the business from £5.8 million to just over £9.5m.

Business development director Mark Bradburn commented: ‘We are an unashamedly Thames Valley bias firm, having completed over 90% of our projects in the region. As a result, a performing Thames Valley market has undoubtedly helped with our growth this year, despite the ongoing debate surrounding the UK’s departure from the European Union.”

The Thames Valley saw a take-up of just over 500,000 sq ft in the first half of 2019 (JLL, The Western Corridor report 2019). Furthermore, Reading continues to be the most active market, which it has been since 2015, with 225,000 sq ft in H1 2019, followed by Basingstoke 130,000 sq ft. Both Reading and Basingstoke have been hotbeds of activity for Curve having completed projects for CRO leader; Premier Research on Green Park; Workplace lawyers; Doyle Clayton in Apex Plaza; commerce experts Elastic Path in Pinnacle and FTSE 250 Entertainment company; Merlin Entertainment 18,000 sq ft Chineham Business Park.

In addition to a healthy Thames Valley market, Andy Wilkinson, director at Curve Workplaces, believes Curve is now being viewed as a serious option by potential clients and professional teams alike. “While we are still very much the ‘new kids on the block’ our experience and unique approach to design has allowed us to be included on tenders among the bigger companies in our industry. We believe we bring something different to any procurement process.”

This approach centred around owner/ director led advice, and bringing together some of the industries most talented designers on a project by project basis has resulted in Curve winning projects for Japanese multinational corporation; Nikon in Surbiton, International electronics company Crestron in Weybridge, and Merlin Entertainment in Basingstoke to name a few. It has also led to the Curve team picking up the coveted Workplace Award at this year’s Thames Valley Property Awards for their work on children’s charity Make-A-Wish in Thames Tower, Reading.

Michael Potter, managing director of Curve Workplaces, believes another major influencing factor is recruiting the right people at the right time, a prime example being Calvin Williams who has recently joined as sales director. Williams commented: “Curve have all the right ingredients. It’s an incredibly exciting time to join such a progressive business with such ambitious plans, a clear vision of where they want to go and how they want to do it. For me Curve has a simple but clear ethos, do what you say you will do. With this mindset, both clients and staff alike create simple values like respect, trust and reliability.”

This is reflected in Curve’s approach to any project by always looking to add value by informing clients and drawing on their pool of experience in areas such as workplace analysis, wellbeing, environmental and energy saving issues, new trends within the market and workplace technological development.

Above all, Curve’s project team simply put, care about each project and treat each client’s business as if it was their own.

Despite economic uncertainty, Curve are gearing up for another big year, and have set their sights on a combined target of £15 million. 

Potter believes further growth is achievable for a variety of factors, namely: “The experienced team now in place is comparable with any of the biggest firms within our sector”, and a newly formed landlord team, already working with Legal & General, Aberdeen Standard, Frasers and APAM to name a few.

Paul Scott, who looks after all landlord opportunities for Curve Workplaces commented: “As pressure on supply continues to escalate with a reported Grade A vacancy rate in the Thames Valley below 7%, landlords consistently pushing the boundaries in search of the next big initiative in order to capture the best tenants, coupled with businesses ongoing pursuit for amazing workplaces to attract and retain the best talent, Curve Workplaces, in conjunction with Furniture Forum, are looking to become the landlords’ local experts.”

Bradburn added: “We are seeing more and more buildings being repositioned in the market in order to attract tenants and keep up with trends. The ‘serviced office’ sector continues to play a vital role for both landlords and tenants by supporting a core and flex model, however, as we have seen more recently, there is a limit to its capability and as a result partly fitted traditional leases are playing a bigger part.”

Similar ambitions led to Curve being awarded Fastest-Rising Property Business at this year’s Thames Valley Property Awards in May, and more recently being nominated and shortlisted for SME of the Year at The Thame Valley Business Magazine Awards in November.

Finally, Potter believes the launch of Curve’s sister company, Furniture Forum, led by Jon Odey will have a huge effect on the future growth of Curve, and the group as a whole.

Odey is one of the UKs leading consultants in the workplace and furniture sectors with a passion for the working environment and people’s health and wellbeing within it. He has helped SMEs and global corporates alike create and deliver outstanding workplaces. Having spent 12 years building and growing a leading furniture consultancy, Odey has joined forces with Curve.

“Launched on October 1, 2019, Furniture Forum will continue the ethos that my partners and I have brought to the furniture industry to date. We are an ethical business that will consult, procure and deliver within the workplace and furniture sectors trading in an open, honest and professional way – always.”

Furniture Forum will not only service Curve’s clients such as Skillsoft, which moved to Arlington Square, Bracknell from Camberley earlier this year, but we will also be looking for standalone furniture opportunities such as Synneos in Farnborough, and offering its consultancy services into the traditional market sector leveraging their experience and expertise with the professional community.

Curve Workplaces has recently moved themselves within the Thames Valley, now based in its new HQ; The Lightbox, Bracknell. Wilkinson commented: “The move to the Lightbox has been great for us and perfect timing, allowing us to continue our growth within the heart of the Thames Valley”.

For more information on Curve Workplaces visit the website:

curveworkplaces.co.uk

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Skillsoft, Bracknell
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Papercut, Bracknell