How hybrid working is changing the design of Cork's office buildings

The future is flexible, going on recent office adaptations in Cork city and suburbs
How hybrid working is changing the design of Cork's office buildings

Logitech's new 46,00 sq ft building at City Gate Plaza Two, Mahon, Cork, developed by  JCD Group

FLEXIBLE future use and hybrid working in new offices is instanced by end-2022 office take-ups in Cork as the sector continues to perform, post-pandemic, against a backdrop of the IDA acknowledging an anticipated slow-down in the tech sector in 2023.

Said to have a number of features to facilitate hybrid working and handed over this month is the new 46,000 sq ft stand-alone, sharp, angular office building at Cork’s City Gate Plaza Two in Mahon to Swiss and Silicon Valley tech company Logitech, in Cork since 1988.

It comes the same month as the official opening of data management and hybrid cloud-services firm NetApp offices for their international HQ at the city centre’s Navigation Square, taking 28,500 sq ft.

Also moved to O’Callaghan Properties’ Navigation Square in recent weeks is serviced office provider Iconic, taking a full floor of 14,000 sq ft there in its first Irish move out of Dublin.

Hybrids at home: Serviced office providers Iconic and data and cloud computing firm NetApp have taken space at O'Callaghan Properties'  Navigation Square
Hybrids at home: Serviced office providers Iconic and data and cloud computing firm NetApp have taken space at O'Callaghan Properties'  Navigation Square

Following their €60m purchase of block one, NSQ1, French investor owners Corum this month put two floors of Navigation Square on the letting market, totalling 33,000 sq ft via joint agents BNP Paribas and Lisney Cork, at a likely rent of c €35 psf.

Meanwhile, in Mahon’s City Gate Plaza Two, the new Logitech building, leased from developers JCD Group, has capacity for up to 400 workers, and 300 Logitech jobs are now on the move here, after an announcement last year it was growing its Cork workforce from 200. The NASDAQ-listed company, which employs 6,500 globally, has been in several Cork locations to date, and is now relocating from Cork Airport Business Park.

The striking, future-proofed suburban office park building — designed by Henry J Lyons Architects with interior fit-out by Wilson Architecture and hitting Gold LEED standards — sees interior spaces laid out “to support a hybrid style of working where employees can work from the office, from home or elsewhere as necessary.

“With that in mind, there are open spaces designed to promote creativity and open collaboration, video-enabled rooms for meetings, and video-enabled unassigned desks to allow people to find a place for work between meetings wherever they are in the building,” noted a spokesperson for developers JCD Group, who said Logitech’s Cork-based 300 employees were of diverse nationalities and backgrounds.

JCD Group has to date developed more than one million sq ft of Cork offices, with planning for a further 120,000 sq ft at City Gate Plaza Two, after more than a decade developing at this location.

JCD also has planning in place for a tall office tower on the city centre south quays, previously occupied by Carey Tool Hire and the Sextant bar, having recently brought Penrose Dock on the north quays to full occupancy.

As well as allowing for more flexible and hybrid use (practically unknown on this scale three years ago) Logitech says its leadership is “reshaping the new logic of hybrid work and sets Logitech as a benchmark for sustainability. “The space’s human-centred design emphasises the company’s sustainability-focused business approach. Creating an inspiring workplace in Cork through sustainability, including waste reduction, healthy work environment, and innovation, is a reflection of Logitech’s purpose and mission.”

The location is well-served by public transport and the just upgraded Blackrock-Passage West Greenway. Features include energy-efficient glazing, with building management systems monitoring energy consumption on an ongoing basis, electric vehicle charging stations, bike parking spaces, showers and changing facilities to encourage alternative modes of transport to work.

11 year old Molly Daly from Cork with Dónal Travers, Global Head of Tech IDA Ireland, Minister of State for Trade Promotion, Dara Calleary TD, Bracken Darrell, President & CEO Logitech and Anne Carrigy, CIO Logitech at the official opening of the Logitech new state of the art facility in City Gate 2 Mahon, Cork.
11 year old Molly Daly from Cork with Dónal Travers, Global Head of Tech IDA Ireland, Minister of State for Trade Promotion, Dara Calleary TD, Bracken Darrell, President & CEO Logitech and Anne Carrigy, CIO Logitech at the official opening of the Logitech new state of the art facility in City Gate 2 Mahon, Cork.

The official opening was attended by Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment, Leo Varadkar, and Dara Calleary, Minister of State for Trade Promotion, Digital and Company Regulation, who both praised the sustainable design and adaptations to facilitate hybrid working.

Logitech CEO Bracken Darrell noted the company’s long commitment to Cork as “home to a diverse range of talents in design, engineering, product development, supply chain, sustainability, and business support functions.”

Their new Cork offices were, he said, “designed with a hybrid-first mindset, redefining how a workplace supports its teams with a variety of collaboration spaces that foster inclusivity and innovation. They are also sustainable and flexible, helping our teams be creative and productive, so in turn they can contribute more to the communities in which they live.”

Developer John Cleary said this, their latest office building, had been designed “to embrace how the use of offices has changed over the past few years”.

“It provides a great example of the importance of collaborative environments mixed with private workspaces, as well as the provision of multiple outdoor and indoor amenity spaces. This all leads to an enhanced employee experience. Sustainability has been at the core of every design decision and, in collaboration with Logitech, we are very proud to have delivered this building to such a high standard.”

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