Fort Dunlop

One of M Moser's office designsOK, while we’re on the subject of the trials and tribulations of media organisations, you may be aware that the Post & Mail management team recently departed.

Before they went on their way, they emailed us an update on Fort Dunlop, which I thought I’d share here:

We confirmed last week that the departments based in the Birmingham office in Weaman Street will relocate next summer to the Fort Dunlop development.

You will have seen I am sure some of the coverage in our own titles, and wish to know more about the move and its implications for you and your colleaguesWe have signed the lease on the entire top floor, some 53,000 sq. ft. of open plan office space, which at an acre is the largest single open plan office in the country outside of London.

The design is incredibly modern and comes with 24-hour access, security, on-site parking and a bus service. This is a free, dedicated Fort Dunlop service that will pick up and drop off at stations and other main locations in Birmingham city centre.

You will probably have seen the 100 bedroom hotel let to Travelodge, on the side of the main building when passing. On the ground are a Daily Grind Coffee coffee house, Vinappris Wine Bar, The Flower Room florist and a Funky Monkeys kids activity centre. It also boasts a 150m roof garden expanding the length of the building. Coming soon to Fort Dunlop will be a Select convenience store, a gym and a nursery.

We have agreed with the developer, Urban Splash, that staff can be shown around our floor in small groups prior to the time of moving. However, now that building works have begun to prepare our floor for habitation, visits will commence in the New Year.

You can of course visit the building in your own time when you will be able to see and access the ground floor facilities mentioned above.

Design Consultants, M Moser Associates, will be working with us helping us make the most of our new space in terms of the environment, personal space and furniture requirements.We know that there are lots of questions to be answered about workspace, shifts, equipment and not least, travel, transport and parking.

We will, over the coming weeks and months, address everything you want and need to know. We do, however, ask you to be patient if we don’t have all the answers until further into the planning stages and nearer the time of the move.

We are very excited about Fort Dunlop and we are sure you will be too, especially when you have visited the building. On seeing the space we will occupy and the enormous opportunity it creates for a change in atmosphere and culture of an office, we hope you will be encouraged by the significant benefits of this move.

So… there you go. Thoughts?

Answers: Roger Cook

Argh! In a stroke of major misfortune, I am stuck at home with a stinking cold for most of today and so, to my great disappointment, was unable to meet Roger in person. Gutted.

I did, however, have a very interesting chat with him over the phone. He has a very dry sense of humour.

On calling his hotel room:

Me: Hello, is that Roger Cook?
RC: No, it’s the bogeyman. Of course it’s Roger Cook, who else is it going to be? 

And that’s how it started. It is also how it continued, with me occasionally being chided for my lack of wit. (A fair and just accusation.) 

It cheered me up, which is no mean feat when I’m under the weather. (Usually I get stupidly maudlin. A bout of flu once had me weeping at an episode of Pet Rescue.)

I will use a lot of the interview for a 600-word piece for the Media & Marketing page on Monday.

However, to answer Bounder’s question:

RC: It’s a bit of an accolade to be parodied. In total I have been parodied 23 times – yes I have counted them.  The first time was on Not the Nine O’Clock News by Mel Smith. It was hysterical.

I was also parodied by Spitting Image three times. Two of the times they weren’t very funny – one had two puppets of me and I was beating myself up. That’s just ridiculous as I never beat anybody up on The Cook Report. They also gave me a terrible brash Australian accent.

The third was really good. It was me doorstopping God, accusing him of selling the Holy Land as a timeshare to the Muslims and the Jews. That was very funny, but I think with Spitting Image most of the talent was in making the puppets, not in the writing.


Any Qs: Michael Wolff

Michael Wolff[Answers are here]

Date: Friday, October 19.

Michael Wolff, co-founder of design and brand agency Wolff Olins will be speaking at the PLUS International Design Festival at the Wild Building in Birmingham.

The event is free, but if you can’t make it and have a burning question, let me know!

Mr Wolff is considered one of the creators of brand identity and has worked with a number of high-profile companies to help shape their public image.

Although he left Wolff Olins in 1983, he has also shown strong public support for the infamous Olympic 2012 logo, which the company reportedly created at a cost of £400,000.

At the moment I’m planning to ask him about the process of creating trust through a brand identity. He was responsible for the so-called “greening” of BP and the aligning of its brand with renewable energy production. Also, how easy is it to rebuild trust in a brand after a crisis (such as Northern Rock, perhaps)?

Of course, they’ll be the inevitable question about the 2012 logo too, I’m sure.

Any Questions?

Right. I think I have found another use for this blog. Tell me what you think:

Very often in journalism you have interviews booked in the diary in advance.

Now, before you go and talk to these people, obviously it’s a good idea to do your research and try and understand what they are about and what things your potential readers might want to know about them.

So why not, as part of that research, actually ask your potential readers?

So, from now on, if I have an interview in the diary I will try and post information about it on the blog in advance. That way if anyone thinks there is something they would particularly like to know about, they can put their question forward.

Now, I can’t make any promises that I’ll be able to ask them all, but it might contribute to a better informed interviewer and interview.

This week I’ve got two quite interesting subjects to write about, so I think I’ll use the next two posts to give some background on them…