A Pod retreat in the woods for Unilever

Following on from the successful installation of our Yoga Retreat Pod for the Hilton Hotel Snowdonia, we were approached by Unilever to develop a scheme for a retreat in the grounds of their UK management centre in Kingston-upon-Thames.

Unilever have a long established commitment to sustainability at their grade II listed management training centre. It is not only a centre for leadership but also a wellness retreat. To complement the facilities of their main house, Unilever wanted to make use of their stunning woodland glade to create a yoga retreat, with views that open up to the gardens and landscape beyond.

Adrian Pagdin, general manager at the Four Acres Leadership Retreat said “I engaged Pod Space to develop a concept for our birch glade. We wanted a space that was flexible and could equally be used for yoga, meeting, mindfulness or workshop.

As a controlled area there were many constraints on materiality and aesthetics; Pod Space worked with us patiently and diligently to develop a winning scheme.”

A Yoga retreat with a view

In collaboration with Adrian, we established the critical aspects of the design which were bespoke to Unilever. Full height glazing was an important feature to take advantage of the surrounding views. In addition, we created a dual pitched roof to reflect the style of the main building. The pitched end elevation has three panels of glazing and the side elevation floods light in via three panel sliding doors. The perfect solution for a yoga retreat in the woods. The exterior materials were carefully chosen for their aesthetic as well as sustainability. With that in mind, we specified a natural charred Siberian larch for the walls and cedar shingles for the roof, both of which are naturally sourced and have great symmetry with the main building.

Full height glazed Pod

To allow for multiple functionality for the users of the Four Acres site, we also installed a kitchen area and accessible shower room in the building. The whole building is designed to be an accessible space with level access from the exterior.

Charred larch Pod

We successfully navigated a number of access challenges to the site, through multiple woodland paths by delivering and installing it in a panel format and building it on site. The finished result is a building which is harmonious with the woodland environment and a peaceful sanctuary retreat for the site users.

We asked Adrian, the general manager to comment on the final result. He said “Now that it is complete, we are delighted and I would recommend Pod Space for their professionalism, flexibility and attention to detail.”

If you have a scheme, or commercial space that you would like to work with us on, please get in touch.

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