Neal’s Yard Remedies – refurbishment with conscience

Neal's Yard Remedies

When Neal’s Yard Remedies decided it needed to extend and refurbish its existing factory HQ in Dorset, it was down to award-winning architects Boon Brown to ensure the company’s green ethics were woven throughout the project. Craig Jones, Architectural Director at Boon Brown takes us through the project.


Neal’s Yard Remedies (NYR) is a natural organic health and beauty product manufacturer and retailer, whose commitment to sustainable sourcing, eco-friendly manufacture and social responsibility is the keystone of its existence. So when demand for its products necessitated an expansion of its existing factory, the £4m upgrade and expansion project had to reflect that ethos. Boon Brown’s design created a practical and handsome structure, sensitive to its semi-rural setting and with sustainability, resource efficiency and wellbeing centre stage.


As well as upgrading the existing facilities, the project included the construction of three new extensions, together incorporating manufacturing and packaging, warehousing, laboratories, offices, staff welfare facilities and a retail outlet.


The original monopitch roof had 350m2 of conventional photovoltaic panelling. Boon Brown added a further 470sqm (97.9kWp) array, doubling coverage, on both the existing and new south-facing roofs. The electricity generated is sufficient on average to power the main office area, with electricity supply to the remainder of the manufacturing site on a 100 percent renewable energy tariff.


Conceived as a strong design feature at the entrance to the site, a new single-storey extension contains a conventional rectangular 65m2 retail outlet, together with 145m2 of attached new offices that use a unique honeycomb-inspired layout. The extension is timber-framed, with the frames being manufactured off-site, and has exposed glulam beams, local and FSC certified. One wall is white render to give a clean backdrop to the NYR logo signage, whilst a scented, mixed flower ‘living’ wall features to one side of the retail outlet. The rest is clad in PEFC-certified timber.


A direct expression of the company’s beliefs can be seen in the inclusion of two living walls – one, an ambitious three-storey ivy wall, the other mixed flowering. The warehouse’s three storey high living wall uses the Mobilane LivePanel and WallPlanter systems, installed by Hedera Screens. The second, LivePanel living wall contains a more complex mix of robust and sun-loving plants that have been carefully selected to create a visually attractive, aromatic and practical feature.


Continues Craig Jones of Boon Brown: “Living walls are being used in an increasing number of developments, beyond residential and offices, into public realm, transportation and healthcare. They are particularly helpful in combating increased micron particulate pollutions (PM10s), as well as reducing greenhouse gases, while also improving the aesthetics of a building.”


Helen Cooper, Managing Director of Neal’s Yard Remedies, concludes: “We now have a beautiful and distinctive building, where people are really happy to come to work. It sits very nicely in the landscape and has a calming feel to it. It is so uniquely designed that no other brand would fit so easily into it – in fact, it’s a perfect expression of everything that Neal’s Yard Remedies stands for.”


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