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A timely commercial office, reception and fit-out by Select Interiors Ltd & Kate Yates Design Director of Territory Interiors show how a modest budget can boost inventive fit out solutions

’This is the future of workplace design,” Kate Yates from Territory Interiors sums up her latest office fit-out project with partnering interiors company Select Interiors Ltd

Just off Atlantic Street in Altrincham Select Interiors working for Kate Yates of Territory Interiors Ltd have given a national property company a new reception, café, post room, washroom facilities and all corridors.

Estate Manager Shelly O’Reilley unearthed some aged photographs of how the building’s interior looked in the 1930’s, Kate was keen to recreate some of the features that had been stripped out in subsequent unsympathetic refurbishments over the following decades

Before Images

After Images

The client a rapidly expanding property company specialising in providing economical, flexible spaces for small companies. The brief was to create a bright look to the interiors of all the communal spaces. The fit out encompassed 2 buildings totalling 2000 sft including Reception, managers office, café, post room, cloakroom, staircases (x 2) corrdiors, 3 kitchens and 3 sets of WCs. The refurbishment needed to be cost effective (£182 per sq m; one fifth of normal market rates according to RIBA); highly designed (including bespoke fittings despite the modest budget); easily maintained (durable easy to clean finishes) and efficient (low maintenance & running costs).

’The completed scheme is an example of where workplace design is at in the current economic climate’’ Kate Yates designer & Director of Territory Interiors

“The first step was to assess which elements of the building could be recycled or reused. The floor in reception and café were two of them.”

The beautiful Pitch Pine woodblock flooring above was concealed by layers of latex screed, plywood and vinyl tiles. Select Interiors Manchester interior fit out team stripped up and carefully refurbished the floor back to it’s original state, repairing and patching, filling thousands of mini holes with clear cellulose fillers and fine sanding dust. 

The original reception area black & white diamond tiling was carefully restored by the Select Interiors team, the resulting flooring refurbishments saved costs and look stunning. Revealing the history and original finishes in line with the client’s brief of reviving the best of the original interior elements, saving costs, and recycling to reduce waste and thus construction costs

Shelley’s office below was reconfigured and incorporated the original woodblock, iconic Victorian cast iron radiators and the plaster stripped back to reveal a beautiful patina with layers of historic finishes still evident. The ceiling voids above and the remaining walls were insulated to a high spec. to save heating costs, sleek LED batons on steel catinary wires and pin spot Emergency lighting are efficient and low maintenance. 

Estate Manager Shelly hard at work in her new space

“On such modest budgets it’s about clever reuse plus investing in the client-facing areas where you need to have some impact,” Carl Brown, fit out contractor’s Managing Director, explains. Historically commercial office building fit outs followed the common corporate office design approach of the 80s, which was all about ploughing money into the reception with a simple back office and the most basic finishes and lighting in corridors and staff facilities’’

“The design for Atlantic Street Business Centre was about recreating to some extent the period fittings but incorporating the latest lighting and technology. Original features of value were sympathetically restored by the Select Interiors Ltd team’’

C.P. Brown Managing Director

On the project, the reception desk above is a bespoke design with a sleek black top and 100 x 200mm tiled finish, storage, tops for fax and mobile metal pedestal which cost less than half an equivalent off the shelf product. The attention paid to the reception and cafe area shows that same design values have been carried throughout all the communal spaces saving costs with innovative design solutions. 

The corridor areas were formerly dank, poorly lit with the obligatory cheap charcoal contract cord carpeting are now vibrant spaces that has been brought to life. New hygienic ceilings utilising the existing grid to save costs, lighting flush Led panels with low key pin spot Emergency fittings, switched on passive sensors. The new ceilings are wipe-able, reflect the natural light, the passive sensors save on power when not is use the lighting is not on and maintenance costs. Each economical LED panel. New textured Oak contract flooring has been installed, bespoke brand graphics, furniture and accessories complete the picture. 

Kate Yates director of Territory Interiors: “We did a comprehensive audit to select what was worth keeping so there was a slight editing of what went in. Ultimately it’s about reducing waste & savings to refurbish as much as possible within the budget. What’s the point in spending loads of money to replace features and fittings that still work?”

Select Interiors re-used areas of original flooring, ceiling grids, over-tiling in WCs to save demolition and plastering costs. Completing bespoke joinery items on site as well in their workshop to achieve cost savings without compromising the quality of the end product

Since the fit out the client has fully let all the empty spaces thus justifying the expendature. Estate Manger Shelly gave Select Interiors Ltd great feedback about what a fantastic job Select Interiors Ltd did and how helful and polite the Select Interior site team were

Select Interiors are currently on site in Wimbledon in London and Gateshead and have just been awarded a prestigeous project in Basingstoke for the same client. Scope includes refurbishment of reception areas, communal spaces, atriums, staircases, kitchens and WCs to inlcude electrical, LED lighting, data, bespoke joinery, decoration & flooring

See above a short film illustrating another recently completed project by Select Interiors Ltd Office Fitter for O’Connell East Architects at The Old Post Office in Manchester’s trendy Northern Quarter.

The Old Post Office – From disused store to a slick new office!












Strategic People Tower 12 Office Fit Out



Design and fit out including demolition, electrical, data, AV equipment, bespoke joinery, neon signage, desks, storage, vintage furniture, decoration and bespoke graphics. The project had a short -lead time and a 2 week programme. Project on the 5th floor of Tower 12, Bridge St on the edge of the Spinningfields Estate

Just wanted to say a massive thank you and congratulations to you and the team for NAILING the new office

I will write you a blog/testimonial at some point in the next few weeks, but just wanted to say a personal thank you. It was wonderful to see the vision come to life, the staff love it and the whole environment is built for success.

Well done!

Email above from Nicola client Strategic People’s Project Manager

Brunel Office Fit Out Manchester 

The project above for global Dutch owned Recruitment company had a short lead and fit out time, 2 weeks from start to completions. Scope of works included demolition, plaster finishing, partitioning, seamless glass partition, electrical, data, floor repairs, steam cleaning and bespoke graphics.


Completion images for a full set please follow the link

We at Select Interiors Office Design & Fit Out Company judge the success of the buildings and places we design by the way people use and enjoy them – the clients who commission them, the people who inhabit them. Good design is about helping clients meet their needs and objectives. It is also about the way people feel when they experience it, a sense of meaning, connection and belonging

Talk to the experts about how an engaging fit out can improve productivity and wellbeing to help attract & retain motivated staff call the Select Interiors design team on 0161 445 4040

Company brand slogans abound – over several corridors and in the reception areas

The keyword in 11.04’s design approach is ‘appropriating’. It’s about giving people the opportunity to appropriate the space, creating room for their ideas, while designing a framework that can easily be reappropriated by another company, or this one, should things change.

“We feel less sense of permanence and less preciousness is part of the cultural zeitgeist, and results in people using the surfaces to communicate and share knowledge.”

This shows best in the meeting room areas. There are nine in total and 11.04 decided to paint the walls of a few of them with blackboard paint. The chalk diagrams that soon appeared are proof of how these walls are used for brainstorming.

Monochrome walls double up as screens for projection purposes in the larger meeting rooms and have also been interpreted by staff as a blank canvas to present briefs. The facilities manager says they change the visuals regularly. “We write on everything now, seeing the whole space as a pinboard. We didn’t do that before!” Roche takes credit: “We left the walls white so they seem more utilitarian and it worked.”

“Less sense of permanence and preciousness is part of the cultural zeitgeist, and results in people using the surfaces to communicate”

Roche is aware that many architects would shy away from reusing uncoordinated old chairs, yet here the meeting rooms show a jumbled up mix of chairs. “That effect of uncoordinated chaos is part of the appeal. We’ve seen how a less uptight room will lead to people feeling less precious about the space. They are more likely to appropriate it – writing on walls, moving furniture around.”

The ‘impact where it counts theme’ is carried on with the lighting. Regular low budget fittings were sourced from a small local manufacturer, Aktiva in Kentish Town. Aktiva were able to modify existing fittings for the brief, while in concentrated areas iGuzzini lights are used to make an impact.

The workstations are new Herman Miller desks from the Sense range. “We sourced them from Workstation, who were remarkably competitive in price,” Roche recalls.

They are juxtaposed with mix-and-match storage units. But apart from the pricing the Miller desks were chosen for another reason. Shirley Gilbert the office manager raves about how easy the desks are to disassemble. “They’re brilliant storagewise, you can quickly flatpack and store them away and then bring them out again once we grow. That kind of uncomplicated flexibility is ideal in these times.”

Making the right decision in terms of specifying furniture to fit the budget is one thing, but what makes 11.04 stand out among firms working on this scale and lifts this project onto the pages of our design magazine, is the level of invention when it comes to cost effective design solutions.

On top of that the ecological advantage of recycling and reusing as much as possible proves that cheap doesn’t have to ‘cost the earth’. And ecological decisions don’t always mean specifying the latest green product, for 11.04 it’s more about a holistic approach – taking into account how people will use the space. “

It’s more sustainable to reuse products and fittings than specify an expensive product with top green credentials when it later gets stripped out and thrown away.” Other decisions like not installing air-conditioning also have a massive environmental impact.

“There already was air-con on one floor and the client had initially wanted it to be added to the other. But the building is a classic shallow plan 60s build so as soon as we took the internal partitioning walls out, the cross ventilation came in to effect and it wasn’t needed.” The old dismounted glass partitions from the predecessors are being reused in another part of the building.

So if Digitas’ office is an example of the short-term future of workplace design, what is the long-term outlook?

Roche: “Nobody can anticipate the scale, size, depth and severity of this recession, but it’s clear that in future architects need to provide strategies for companies not just to expand but also to contract. Storage is an important consideration, so space can be appropriated easily. In a way there are parallels between the way a company uses space and people. Space doesn’t become redundant; change is an opportunity to re-appropriate, I predict a similar approach to employees.”

In recent year’s trends like glass meeting rooms emerged to create an impression of transparency, clarity and lack of secrecy. Now in these sensitive times, Roche sees that privacy being sought again for sensitive economic and HR-related meetings. Workplace designers need to reassert the purpose of a meeting room, which is to screen-off a conversation, acoustically and visually. A glass partitioning system can’t offer that.

“In future we require a fundamental change in the way business operates. If you want to meaningfully engage with the transparent culture of workplace (open plan, glass etc) then we need to accept a degree of compromise, curb the desire to retain privacy of economic information. Maybe workplace design evolved quicker than workplace culture.”

Roche is clearly an architect who likes to be controversial and fights convention. He even categorises his company as a B-movie firm among architects, saying the A-movie guys could never come up with these cost-saving ideas because they wouldn’t know where to start. “Their reputation prevents them from taking on low budget projects,” he says.

But when you think about it, it’s so much easier to fit out an office by throwing money at it, so maybe the B-list is the way forward, the way to creativity in the workplace despite, or possibly thanks to, the economic downturn.

Talk to the experts about how an engaging fit out can improve productivity, happiness and wellbeing

Call the Select Interiors design team on 0161 445 4040

Or email

Please click the link for further images of Select Interiors projects

Signed the Select Team

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