Sensory zoning, colour theory & soundscaping at 60 Fountain Street in Manchester by Jolie

Interior design studio Jolie continue to lead the way with their unique multisensory approach to the modern workplace, exemplified in their meticulous redesign of 60 Fountain Street in the heart of Manchester’s city centre.

As the concept of the traditional workplace continues to evolve in the wake of the pandemic, Jolie is committed to developing contemporary workplace environments that place an emphasis on community and social sustainability by emphasising sensory zoning, colour theory and soundscaping to create dynamic and inviting social spaces.

Setting a Precedent

At 60 Fountain Street, Jolie’s comprehensive redesign of the existing building combines comfort, style and a nod to residential aesthetics, while transcending traditional commercial design choices and materials. This ‘hotelization of the workplace’ is a signature of Jolie’s approach to workplace design, which caters predominantly to a Gen X and Gen Z demographic who value sustainability, wellbeing and a sense of belonging.

“Our design for 60 Fountain Street has created a space that provides a sense of importance, pride and exclusivity with a private members club feel,” explains Jolie founder & CEO Franky Rousell. “We sought a sense of elevation in our redesign, through access to private amenities and facilities, and a desire to create a space that others will want to emulate. We’re leading the pack, not following, and setting a precedent for developers to follow in workspace design.”

Seeking to attract satellite offices of larger businesses from outside Manchester, as well as SMEs looking for an HQ that will put the needs of their staff first, Jolie believes that their unique approach to interior design, incorporating sensory zoning and scientific colour theory, has ensured that 60 Fountain Street will become a destination with a purpose in Manchester city centre. Material and colour choices in each area are underpinned by Jolie’s extensive scientific research around colour, fragrance, touch, sound and scent, to drive tenants emotionally through each environment in the five storey building.

Jolie believes this attention to sensory detail has created a prime social environment for the development’s core target demographic of tech, finance, legal and other professional services.

“We believe the growing need and generational movement towards high end local, sustainable and community led amenities have become even more prevalent post-pandemic,” says Rousell. “The professional demographic are well travelled and place high importance on prestige, good service and exclusivity. They look for more meaning and purpose from their space than mere visual identity; they want a story to tell. We understand there is an aspiration to create a real destination for tenants and to achieve this a building needs to offer a USP, beyond simply competing on price, location and overall experience with local competition.”

Transcending the Ordinary

Maximising the potential of the existing space was also a high priority for Jolie, including repurposing a redundant plant room on the 6th floor to create a covered glazed Loft Space extension that has become an aspirational space for business individuals to relax from sunrise to sunset, host informal meetings and find clarity to solve a tricky business dilemma. With mixed lounge and bar amenities that serve tenants from morning coffee to evening cocktails, the space is also flexible enough to host exclusive events and talks, while offering the potential for an outdoor cinema in summer months.

Cultivated as a reassuring and motivating coworking environment, Jolie has ensured the space offers comfort and clarity through the use of muted yellows, calming blues and deep browns across the material palette.

An off-white limestone flooring, with pockets of warming timber tones, is offset by dark textured walls, blackened metal elements and dark soft sheers to balance the scheme. Natural light floods in through the floor to ceiling bifold door, leading onto the showstopper terrace lounge, usable all year round.

Transitioning to the terrace offers a light and airy feel amongst the concrete jungle of Manchester, achieved through the use of natural textures such as timber and plaster finishes, along with pops of fresh colour through upholstery.

This repurposing of a previously redundant space meant no lettable space was lost for the client, whilst creating a ‘destination with purpose’ within the building that very much delivers on Jolie’s commitment to community and social sustainability.

“Thinking outside the box when considering all available spaces within an existing building is crucial,” explains Sarah Wakefield, Jolie’s Creative Director. “Our redesign of 60 Fountain Street is a testament to our commitment to creating a workspace that transcends the ordinary. Sensory zoning and colour theory play a pivotal role in shaping an environment that inspires, invigorates, and fosters a true sense of community.”

Soundtracking the Work Day

Sound is a sense often overlooked in interior design, but one that Jolie paid close attention to in their redesign of 60 Fountain Street.

“Every step was considered,” explains Wakefield, “from tenants morning workouts to their journey up the stairs or in the lift to the office, to the lounge areas where they can relax and recharge. The emotions of the daily routine were forefront in our decision making process and we have considered how to create transient sounds that are complementary and subtle, rather than overpowering or distracting.”

In the reception and stairwell areas, designed to be uplifting transitional spaces which feature dark textured marble-effect walls and rich tones through upholstery and paint, an inviting and uplifting soundtrack featuring tracks inspired by Turnmills by Maribou State has been curated. In the Loft Space an ethereal and cinematic soundscape – think Any Other Name by Thomas Newman – elicits a relaxing and reflective response, to reinforce its role as a reassuring and motivating coworking environment.

In the main offices, refrains of Reflections by Ilya Orange provide an upbeat, creative and positive atmosphere that contributes to a soulful and nurturing space that encourages creativity and focussed energy. A colour palette of deep navy and contrasting earthy hues of yellows and oranges is tempered through the use of natural timber and carpet to soften the scheme throughout.


About Alys Bryan

Alys is a knowledgeable design editor who is focused on instigating conversations, both online and in-person, with industry experts which challenge, educate and advance the commercial interior sector. Her training and 15 years of professional experience as a furniture designer for the commercial sector makes her uniquely placed to lead Design Insider as Editor
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