Magna Housing

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Project in a nutshell 

Sector: Housing
Size: 16,000 sq ft
Location: Dorchester

Magna, a group of social housing landlords serving communities in Dorset and Somerset, decided to completely rebuild its office and wanted Interaction to design a calm interior that warmly welcomed staff and visitors. 

Magna Housing | Collaboration pod
Magna Housing | Meeting room

An in-depth look

The idea to create a new base was in the pipeline for around four years before Magna could start the scheme. Interaction was brought on board at the very start of this process and its design team was on hand to offer Magna guidance about how the new building could articulate the organic look and feel that the housing group wished to achieve.

Construction work to create a new warehouse style office called Everdene House commenced in 2014 that fitted the exact floorplan of Magna’s former headquarters (Naden House).  The new building housed an open plan lower ground floor with a very high ceiling, allowing for a mezzanine which offered further open plan workspace, meeting areas, break out zones and an informal hub space with a kitchen area. 

Magna Housing | Manifestation
Magna Housing | Meeting room

Interaction collaborated closely with the building’s contractors and gave advice [acting as a consultant] about a number of structural elements including the installation of sky lights to let in more natural light and enhance the building’s organic, earthly feel. The skylights would also serve to benefit the full-size tree that Magna was keen to place at the heart of the building. 

Interaction’s key focus for the project was the selection and installation of furniture that would give Magna’s workspace the friendly, down-to-earth vibe that the client wanted to evoke. Interaction was also instrumental in the final choice of naturalistic colours and finishes that helped create a serene workplace.

Magna Housing | Staff breakout
Magna Housing | Boardroom

Magna Housing Group were delighted with the completed scheme and has asked Interaction to work on a project to revamp another of its offices. Staff are making full use of the new hub area to mingle and take lunch breaks, and the open plan work areas are enhancing people’s collaborative approach to undertaking tasks.

Client feedback:

"We appointed Interaction as our design consultants for the internal design of one of our Dorchester offices; now called Everdene House. The team worked with us from the outset to understand our business and aspirations for the new space, and translated these discussions into a layout that was later developed with the construction project team until we reached the ‘perfect fit’.

The construction project team consisted of the traditional disciplines involved in a demolition and rebuild. With multiple parties involved in the ultimate decisions Interaction clearly communicated the design concept and were on hand to present samples and finishes for approval. Interaction remained engaged throughout the design and build process, attending contractor meetings, sharing specifications and detailed drawings with the main contractor, project manager, and quantity surveyor, and offering advice when amendments resulting from the iterative nature of renovation were required.  

A year after the successful completion of Everdene House we again approached Interaction to help us with refurbishment of our other Dorchester office, now called Oak House. On this occasion we entered into a design and build contract directly with Interaction." 


Project in a nutshell

Sector: Housing
Size: 11,800 sq ft
Location: Dorchester 

After succesfully delivering Everdene House, Magna Housing asked Interaction to align the design scheme and office culture to their other office in Dorchester, Oak House. Conscious to give the office an identity of its' own, Interaction used light colours to brighten the space and vivid greens to lift it, keeping the theme of nature coherent to Everdene House.

View the slides above to see the amazing transformation of Oak House.

An in-depth look

Focused on their staff, Magna Housing wanted to create a true breakout area to replace their small and outdated kitchen. A space for to socialise, re-energise and boost wellbeing. The project took 8 weeks to complete, involving bringing the two-floored office onto one floor to enable a cost effective refit. Resulting in an open and light mix use space with meeting rooms and office space with new carpet, decoration and an entirely new lighting system. Magna Housing’s employees and visitors were always considered throughout the design and build to ensure a positive effect on the working environment.

Client feedback:

"Interaction drew from the principles developed during the Everdene House project. Together we developed a solution that took into account the physical and financial constraints of the new project whilst creating a transferable theme with improved layout, space utilisation, and brighter work areas that help to improve staff wellbeing.

Interaction worked really well with our project lead and quantity surveyor, and completed the transformation within the original timeframe and for less than the forecasted contract sum." 

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