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From Victorian prison to 21st Century tech hub

Published on Tuesday, 7th July 2020

Interior design for centre for digital innovation

Leading office design company, Chameleon Business Interiors, has been appointed to transform Northallerton’s former Victorian prison into a Centre for Digital Innovation.

Chameleon Business Interiors is delivering interior design, office fit-out and furnishing services to redevelop the original 1820 prison into a workspace that tells the story of the buildings’ unique history. 

Kevin McIntosh at Chameleon Business Interiors said: “This is certainly an unusual project but one that has enabled us to demonstrate our creativity; we are delighted with how the results are starting to look. We developed designs that sympathetically reflect the prison’s unique past, whilst also incorporating the modern design elements the client was looking for.”

The one-of-a-kind Treadmills project represents a £17 million investment in the site, including the refurbishment of five, 200-year-old buildings in the heart of North Yorkshire by leading Yorkshire Developer Wykeland.

Kevin continued: “We’ve drawn upon previous experience to produce designs that will transform the prison into agile working spaces for start-ups and small businesses. The space will comprise: a reception area; meeting rooms; office spaces; breakout spaces and flexible collaboration areas.

“The nature of the space has certainly been the biggest challenge. It is a Grade II listed building protected by English Heritage. We’ve been careful to maintain as many of the building’s original features as possible, weaving in historical elements through the space.

“We’ve highlighted the existing industrial feel, with concrete flooring and exposed brickwork, beams and conduit lighting featuring throughout. The former cells have been reimagined and are now light, inviting office spaces. There are booths and break out areas now incorporated into the former prison’s corridors. There are core collaboration areas in the central corridor sections and we’ve even retained the original bars on the windows in the communal areas. It’s a really effective design feature.

“The buildings have been derelict since 2013, so it’s great to see work on this significant scheme now underway. Treadmills will be perfect for the region’s community and we look forward to seeing it in use early next year.”

Jonathan Stubbs, development director of Wykeland commented: “This new space will foster creativity and innovation for many local businesses; it’s therefore critical to create a working environment that is agile, collaborative and inspiring. Chameleon understands our vision and having worked with them many times before, we know the new C4DI will have the wow factor that growing, ambitious businesses are looking for.”

Chameleon Business Interiors has more than 20 years’ experience in the industry, specialising in office refurbishments, relocations, redesigns and fit-outs.

The scheme is due to complete by the end of the year.