Features / Feature

9 of Bristol’s coolest offices

By laura collacott, Tuesday Aug 30, 2016

If you have to go to the office, it might as well be one of these. Meet Bristol’s answers to the Googleplex. 

1. Trunki

Kids’ luggage company Trunki is headquartered in a converted chapel in the Dings.

“We moved into the office space which we call the Mothership in June 2010,” says founder Rob Laws. “We were fortunate to have as a blank canvas to convert to just how we wanted.

“The office slide or (escape chute) was a given as we wanted a fun way for the team to get from one floor to the next and we always invite guests to use the slide. Most are keen to try!  The board room table is a ping pong table so after hours the net is popped into place and the team can enjoy a game or two.”


2. Ovo

Does your workplace not have a treehouse? We’re sorry for you. Energy company Ovo does. 

Standing proudly in the centre of its Temple Quay lobby, the tree house is a light-hearted breakout space where you can take a coffee from the downstairs canteen when work gets too much.

Creative design is a mainstay of the office, where one wall is studded with old-fashion telephones and a meeting room – the Brunel Room – features a table made of riveted iron and suspended from the ceiling by oversized chains. 


3.Floating Harbour Studios

Moored behind Welsh Back, this Dutch barge has been extensively renovated since its current owners took it over five years ago and now boasts studio facilities, offices and meeting spaces. 

“We wanted to retain the character of the boat as much as possible whilst creating spaces that were both inspiring and flexible,” says Floating Harbour Studios director Richard Da Costa. “Everything on a boat is quirky. Nothing is ever completely level, you are working with riveted steel and lots and lots of boat shaped curves.

“All the people who work on board love working here. It’s incredibly quiet and secluded despite being so close to the centre and we have an abundance of wildlife around us. Those who work in the bottom office are frequently visited by a Canada goose, and until recently we had some ducklings on board that we rescued from the harbour where they were without a mother and being taken by seagulls.”

Colleagues working here are in fact so smitten that they’re reluctant to go home: “People quite often don’t disappear home as soon as 6pm hits. If the sun is shining the day is often ended with a beer on the deck.” 


4. Rethink Group

Rethink Group deals in recruitment and talent management, creating a range of senior level sales roles. A new refit in collaboration with interior fit-out company Interaction has included a café/bar style kitchen with pool table, X-box (for when championship manager can’t wait), TV and state-of-the-art surround sound system in an adjoining timeout zone. 

“The aim for the new office was to reinforce our company’s approach to creating a motivational working environment as well accommodating the plethora of new recruits joining us,” says creative lead Chris Cranshaw. “We worked closely with our employees during the design stage which enabled us to create a unique space. It’s been a fantastic to watch them enjoying it.”


5. Desk Lodge

In the heights of the Bristol Post building stands one of Bristol’s quirkiest offices. Desk Lodge is a co-working office with branches in Bristol and London that provides hot desks and office space to freelancers, start-ups and lone wolves. “We wanted to break the ice so people feel comfortable,” says regional director Thanh Quan-Nicholls. “The spaces are funny and focus is on comfort and creating a sociable environment and place to meet guests.”

There are themed meeting rooms, an indoor garden, phone booths for Skype and giant, illuminated Lego heads as light fittings.


6. Engine Shed

As incubator to so many of the city’s most innovative companies, you’d expect Temple Meads’ Engine Shed to have forward-thinking design, and it does. Indoor AstroTurf, orange corrugated iron, filament lightbulbs, arched meeting cabins, broad communal desks and a presentation amphitheatre all combine in the ultimate productivity environment. Out the back are the bijou new spaces too, formed from stacked shipping containers and conveniently close to Yurt Lush’s new home. 


7. Brew House

Hidden away at the back of Castle Park and on the edge of the Temple Way bypass stands the Brew House, an impressive grade II listed building dating back to the mid-nineteenth century with an imposing rock-faced elevation, semi-circular windows and jazzy steel and hand-forged glass sign over the door. 

Once a brewery (as you might imagine) it’s now rocking the hip, New York loft design: lights made of jam jars, rustic wooden panelling, mismatched furniture and circus letter lights. A roof terrace with bi-fold windows boasts views across the city for those all-important Friday drinks. 


Read more: Bristol named financial centre of excellence

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