Zenith at Kirstall Forge

Ardmac delivered the prestigious Cat B fit-out of Number One, Kirkstall Forge on behalf of Zenith Vehicle Contracts, the leading independent leasing, vehicle outsourcing and fleet management provider.

The 4 floor office creates an inspiring, agile working environment and reflects the area’s historical fortitude whilst also bringing the most modern technologies in workspace solutions.

The project incorporated the installation of high quality bespoke joinery, custom made lighting, feature flooring and ceilings and the development of a roof level meeting room suite.

M&E systems were remodelled and enhances to promote the Wellbeing philosophy of working environment. Areas of focus included Zen space, filtered water in various locations, advanced fresh air systems, orientation and placemaking, and sound control attenuation.

Zenith Vehicle Contracts showcases the flagship office development at Kirkstall Forge in Leeds, lauded as a benchmark in design, quality, flexibility and efficiency in commercial workspace in the North West. The area is transformed from a derelict site to a community with sustainability at its heart, accompanied by high quality commercial properties, new homes and a wealth of complementary facilities. Formerly the epicentre of industrial importance since the 12th century, Zenith at Kirkstall Forge celebrates the next exciting chapter of the area’s history. The new railway station, opened in 2016, connects to Leeds in minutes, providing the catalyst that kick-started work on the office building.

The new development re-establishes Kirkstall Forge as an integral part of the city. The partnership with CEG, Fox Lloyd Jones, SpaceInvader Design, BSAP and Ardmac optimised project design, offered solutions to design-related challenges whilst providing the expertise to enhance building systems – giving Zenith an innovative home that embodies a workspace that engages, inspires  and will stand the test of time.

Challenges & Successes

In order to improve on Zenith’s current operational model, the layout of the office was a key consideration and challenge. Moving from an old converted mill which offered limited flexibility and team integration, meant that a solution was required for the new workplace to encourage the cross pollination and communication between teams in a very intuitive way. The project team also had to deliver this complex project over four floors, with a progressive brief in a very limited timeframe. The success of this was to track the natural flow of information through the business. The ‘Journey of a Car’ concept was key to the business and by supporting the sharing and delivery of this information along its journey, natural collaboration between departments began to form. Agile working was a new concept for the business to adopt and presented challenges throughout the design process as staff where introduced with new ways of working that would push them out of their comfort zones. The design needed to recognise the different levels of flexibility within each department and introduce a soft transition to this new workplace mentality whilst also offering a solution that supported the anticipated growth of company over the next 5 years, whereby the agile working concept will be fully integrated into the Zenith culture.


The functional attributes of the open office areas are based upon a desire to move towards a Smart Working environment – as such the key ingredients of the design are that of a variety of responses to flexibility, future proofing, acoustic quality and lighting comfort.

A dynamic, bold conceptual language & visual interpretation has been woven throughout the design and are manifested through a clever use of feature lighting. Dynamic angled light details are a consistent thread that give a sense of movement through the space as a navigation tool, whilst uniting the neighbourhood workspaces to key destination points and facilities on each floorplate. These features portray the fluidity, pace and energy of the business. Within the 6th floor client reception area the lighting concept further grounds the design with a state of the art formed GRG recessed ceiling detail. Leading visitors through the main entrance doors into the space, this impressive design feature helps to define the open plan client suite whilst framing the striking vistas from the top floor destination. Created to make a lasting impression on those who visit, this lighting offers a warm glow with a softer, more subtle interpretation of the notion of speed and leaves a lasting impression to visitors of the space.


Client: Zenith

Location: Leeds, UK

Size: 77,164 sq ft

Duration: 33 weeks


“Ardmac worked very professionally and diligently throughout the evolution of the project and we have been impressed with their proactiveness in managing the evolution of the design, inherent strong client communication skills and efficient work ethic to ensure that the scheme was delivered on time and on budget.”

Chris Stone BSc (Hons) MSc MRICS, Fox Lloyd Jones