Wellcome Trust

Reception Desk Alterations and the manufacture and installation of a new science gallery reception desk.


An existing Head office corporate reception desk was comprehensively re-built and adapted, and a new gallery reception desk with matching security check-in desk were supplied. Office reception design services included a full ergonomic and workplace design assessment.

Ergonomic Alteration to Existing Corporate Reception Desk

The existing limestone and maple corporate reception desk is a well-known feature of the Gibbs Building. The ergonomics of the desk were proving to be problematic with receptionists reporting various neck and shoulder strain concerns. Alongside this the reception desk needed better organisation as it was cluttered.

An in-depth ergonomic assessment using a variable mock-up of the original desk was carried out. Various alterations to the dimensions were trialled with users ranging from 5' to 6' 3". The results were to shorten the main desk top and raise it by 50mm. Monitors were raised and also recessed to maintain adjustable visual distance.

In order to preserve an acceptable ergonomic working position the floor under the desk was raised for the foot rest area. This also allowed underfloor heating to be added, combating the inevitable coldness of a stone reception in winter.

Organisational improvements included a unique pedestal solution to store visitor passes with lanyards. Special printer cupboards were designed and made in matching maple to hide printers which had previously been visible. Lastly the changed woodwork was machined and re-polished whilst temporary tops were put in place. The new office reception design has been a very successful improvement.

New Gallery Reception Desk And Security Check-In Desk

Wellcome Trust are enhancing the Science Gallery to allow for greatly increasing visitor numbers. A new Information Point reception desk was supplied as part of the office reception design review for this well known London building. Along with a matching check-in security desk the reception alterations included relocating a very large information panel housed within a joinery surround.

The gallery entrance has space for a large reception desk, almost 5m long. The design has a mirrored modesty enclosure to lighten the substantial piece of furniture. This mirror design slices through the main surface creating an upstand which hides the working are including a cash till.

Storage and cable management enclosure is finished in a contrasting bright green, whilst the main desk is built in 2mm thick oregon pine which has a straight, consistent, grain detail.

The bag-check security desk has the same combination of oregon pine and green, with a corian top to withstand the heavy wear and tear. The desk was designed to wheel into a lift car so that the space is able to be cleared if needed. Discreet wheels are hidden in two of the legs to allow the desk to be wheeled rather than lifted, avoiding the risk of scratching the limestone floor.

During the design development a full size 1:1 mock up was built in correx for the staff to check the ergonomics and layout, and for the gallery management to gauge the size and proportion of the desk. The original design had been set at 1400mm deep. The reception desk mock up revealed this to be too far for visitors to communicate with the information staff, and the desk was reduced to 1200mm. The benefit of a mock up has been proven on 3 different reception projects and is well worth the small cost involved. The overall impact of this company reception design process has been a popular upgrade to reception point catering to over 500,000 visitors per year.

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