Liftshare, an innovative business providing online car-sharing systems, used to be based in an old turkey shed in Attleborough in Norfolk.
Business founder Ali Clabburn wanted to create a cool, funky office environment for new premises being built in the old Eastern Electicity office in Norwich, which had lain derelict for 15 years.
Including playground elements, such as artificial grass and swinging chairs in the interior was part of the brief to make a fun, vibrant working environment for staff.
Massey & Harris was appointed for the design and installation of a slide to take people from the first to the ground floor. The space was very limited, and initially Massey & Harris could not accommodate the standard 35 degree angle required for their slides, but their expertise in solving problems meant they were able to make a design to fit.
Ali Clabburn provided his vision, and Massey & Harris completed the design and drawings working in conjunction with the main contractor Blue Space. Massey & Harris then designed, manufactured and installed the slide, including additional fixings that allowed the partition wall to be fixed to the slide.
Due to the size constraints within the building, in order to have a run-out section that was long enough for people to slow down, the sliding section itself was set at 45 degrees.
The 760mm diameter stainless steel slide opens up into a 1m high oval to allow people to sit up inside it, while arriving on the run-out section. This was important as Liftshare specified that they wanted it to exit through a wall into the reception area, so that none of the slide would be open.
The design would be restricted by the location of the wall that the start section is fixed to and the wall that the end section comes through. There was a void underneath most of the floor downstairs, concrete was required to fix the slide into.
Massey and Harris recreated the internal walls of the proposed office in 3D, and then designed the slide to fit those dimensions. When the slide was installed it fitted perfectly. This surpassed expectations, as originally the exit wall was due to be built around the slide, but when Massey & Harris came to install, it was already in place, meaning there was no room for error.
The environment is inspired by Silicon Valley tech companies such as Google. An open-plan layout with plenty of meeting and break-out spaces encourage communication and collaboration.
Ali Clabburn said the slide was popular with both staff and visitors alike: “It’s probably used every five minutes. Every visitor who comes here goes down it, and they leave with a big smile on their faces. It’s just great.”