Following its 2014 buy-out by the Bestway Group, Well Pharmacy was seeking to consolidate its status as the UK’s third largest pharmacy chain, and to establish a fresh brand identity to set itself apart from its previous incarnation as The Co-operative Pharmacy.
Merchant’s Warehouse, a Grade II listed, former goods warehouse on the Bridgewater Canal had been rescued from dereliction in 1995, and was subsequently converted to office space. Recognising the potential in the building, Bluesky Design was appointed to transform this blank canvas into an exciting and dynamic workspace that would also preserve the building’s rich heritage and unique character.
Furniture & finishes were carefully selected to reflect Well’s new brand identity and its ambitions for the space. The original timber beam ceilings were kept exposed, and minimal work was carried out on the building structure in order to retain a sense of its original spirit.
A bright and welcoming reception area leads to a shared meeting suite and incorporates a central lounge area, touchdown space and informal meeting spots. The Centre of Retail Excellence (CoRE), allows Well to showcase products and merchandising for their nationwide branch network.
A glass folding wall creates a multi-functional seminar space that can be freely divided to suit a variety of needs. All the meeting rooms have been equipped with the latest technology, and whiteboards are integrated throughout each floor to support team collaboration. Lounge seating has also been added, taking advantage of the canal side views and providing employees with ‘third spaces’ to support multiple work styles.
The rear of the ground floor has been transformed into a communal space for staff dining, complete with soft seating, feature wallpaper and wall lights to create a more relaxed environment conducive to inter-team exchange and collaboration.
The upper two floors of the building have been designed to provide exceptional open-plan office space for the company’s 280 office-based staff. Central slab walls have been used to subdivide the space, and to break up the monotony of desks.
Opening on time and on budget, the success of the design solution is readily apparent, and Well Pharmacy is proud to call Merchant’s Warehouse its new home. The building will long continue to occupy its historic place in Manchester’s commercial landscape, providing a dynamic and inspiring workspace for its employees, and a valuable asset to the company for years to come.
Design: Bluesky Design
Project Manager: Jones Lang LaSalle
M&E Consultant: Crookes Walker Consulting
Fit-out Contractor: ADT
Photography: Mike Dinsdale – Midi Photography