Eurocopter enjoys a reputation for innovation, high quality and a strong customer service ethos and applies the same stringent criteria to its choice of suppliers. Eurocopter UK had access to the EADS global supply agreement with Kinnarps, but were not tied exclusively into this when they were looking for a furniture supplier to help in the transformation of the Oxford facility. However, despite this, Eurocopter UK recognised that Kinnarps fulfilled its need for a partner that could help realise the vision for its offices. It was a complex project, involving almost 100 staff, in various departments and roles, so careful planning and clear communication were imperative to achieve it with minimum disruption to normal business operation during the project.

A Eurocopter spokesman explains: ‘Kinnarps helped to space plan effectively and produced lots of 3D designs and visuals of how the furnishing would look in situ in the reconfigured buildings. These were a huge help in communicating the plans for the refurbishment and fit-out to the team that would be occupying the refurbished areas.’

‘Kinnarps were also very supportive in terms of phasing the installation, to help minimise the disruption. It really helped to have a supplier that took time to understand the daily operations, and helped plan in a way that allowed Eurocopter to keep providing a high level of service to its customers. For example, we provide technical and logistics support to customers including police, air rescue, the oil industry and military units. These customers have vital services depending on them, so obviously any unforeseen disruption, caused by a missed installation deadline for example, could have had huge ramifications. Fortunately Kinnarps were able to work closely with us, delivering and installing within tightly defined windows of opportunity, to make sure that didn’t happen.’

Kinnarps has also helped Eurocopter UK to create a working environment that helps it achieve the goals set by EADS’s ‘20:20 Vision’ programme, which sets out the group’s mission and optimum ways of working. This includes an ethos of transparency and ensuring openness in all areas of the business. This has been taken quite literally in the redesign of the building, with glass walls surrounding the operational working areas offering a clear, (and spectacular) view from offices and the Logistics Department meeting room into the main hangar, where the company’s eponymous aircraft are visible as they are serviced and maintained.

In line with the EADS 20:20 Vision Eurocopter has adopted a fresh approach and identity, so needed an environment that communicates and reinforces this. The new offices are full of visual cues that remind employees and customers, of the company ethos. The overall feeling of light and openness is emphasized by the choice of light oak wood and white laminate finishes to desks, tables and storage, accented with soft furnishings in the company’s corporate blue. This use of the company livery is particularly striking in the selection of deep blue Le Mur circular seating, against a matching blue wall, which, along with a white, Centrum table, provides a much-needed informal meeting space and break out area.

Eurocopter management summarised the project: “The creation of our new working environment, working in partnership with Kinnarps, perfectly embodies our brand vision and communicates our core values. Eurocopter’s success depends on its people, and it’s vital that we have an environment that supports employee wellbeing and inspires them to do their best work.“

Project Facts

Year: 2012
Client: Eurocopter UK
Location: Oxford Airport

Photographs: David Thrower, Redshift Photography  Tel: +44 (0) 845 071 1055