Holiday Issue 2019

50 Mar19211 Creating Outstanding Office Environments Oktra is the UK’s leading office design and build company with over 23 years’ experience in the industry. On the back of their recognition in LUXlife’s Leading Designers programme, where Oktra was named the ‘Leading Experts in Office Design’, we spoke with Nic Pryke, Design Director, to find out more. Say goodbye to tired and dreary workspaces - the future is all about innovation and inspiration in the office. With an almost peerless reputation in the sector, Oktra has a history of creating one-of-a-kind working environments that truly reflect the individuality of the companies behind them. There’s nothing cookie-cutter about Oktra’s work and the effort shows: this is office design at its most vibrant, creative and effective. “As a dynamic team of designers, builders and strategists, we are driven by a singular goal - to create outstanding workspaces.” Nic continues: “At the heart of Oktra’s mission is a desire to transform people’s working lives by creating extraordinary places for them to work. This is reflected in our people and company culture, which is a source of dedication and pride across the entire team and has helped create our client-focused business. Oktra’s team of designers, builders and strategists take a unique approach to the creation of our client’s workplaces. By uncovering the ambitions that drive the company, we design and build workplaces that support and enhance those specific motivations.” Oktra embodies a very modern business ethos that is defined by a dedicated client-centricity and comprehensive collaboration. “Three key principles guide everything we do: delighting our clients, having a happy team and reaching our financial objectives. We believe that these objectives, coupled with our open and positive company culture, make Oktra unique in our marketplace. Every quarter, our CEO gathers the whole Oktra team to acknowledge and celebrate our achievements and recognise those individuals who have gone above and beyond. These are followed by a celebratory company-wide event organised away from the office, with food and drinks supplied for the whole company.” With over twenty years of experience in the industry, it would be fair to say that Oktra has weathered its fair share of trends and fashions. Today, the sector is moving towards more sophisticated, complex styles and designs. Nic takes a moment to explain this movement and how it has impacted Oktra’s work: “In the last half decade, design and build has become more sophisticated and professional in all areas of the business. In design specifically, the quality of our design output is now aligned with the kind of work that design consultants and architects are performing, and we are therefore competing with a larger group of specialists. As a result, we are now completing much larger projects, including a £40 million office in Aldgate.” More than anything, Oktra aim to keep pace with the latest developments in the industry. “One of the most prominent trends in our industry is the growth of the coworking sector, which is expanding at a rapid rate. Flexible workspaces offer the ideal setting for start-ups and smaller businesses but also the opportunity for Oktra to work with these providers to design and build the very best environment to support these practices. Design trends are ever-changing and at Oktra we are constantly on the lookout for new trends that are shaping the way we work. We respond to developments in the industry that are positively impacting productivity, such as biophilia, open plan layouts and agile workspaces. By incorporating these trends into our designs, we not only provide an accelerated user experience for our clients, but we simultaneously secure our position as one of the leading design and build companies in the UK.” Ultimately, proactivity, innovation and development define Oktra as it moves through the rest of the year, and beyond. “Oktra is embracing Revit as part of our overall BIM (Building Information Modelling) strategy. By linking the 3D capabilities with our 3D visualisation team and using additional software rendering packages, we are improving our services for our clients by enhancing 3D presentation information to help clients visualise spaces; creating instant costs from drawn information; detecting services issues and clashes at an early stage – not on site; and providing comprehensive 3D as-built information.” Sometimes, as Nic outlines in his closing comments, Oktra sparks innovation through more creative means, showcasing the firm’s dedication to this central ethos. “‘Why Not!?’ is a new initiative we have developed to answer the question ‘how can we innovate at Oktra?’. It is a simple process that enables small voluntary teams to pick an area of interest from our activities and challenge how we operate. It involves researching other industries and disruptive organisations and applying what they have learned to us. Alongside the team activities, other events are taking place such as the ‘Why Not!? Talks’, where inspiring and thought-provoking speakers come into our office and challenge our thinking; the recent talk entitled ‘Superbrain’ challenged how we learn.” Company: Oktra Contact: Nic Pryke Address: London, WC1V 7PB, United Kingdom Website: Telephone: +44 (0)207 553 9500