onOffice Editor Helen Parton: creative flare and good journalism keep magazine at the top.
Awarded Best Non-Weekly Magazine by the Independent Building Press Awards, onOffice is the UK’s leading publication for the commercial architect and design community, part of Media 10's porfolio.
Each month, the talented editorial team carefully sources a fantastic selection of projects in locations ranging from Silicon Valley to the former Eastern bloc, analysing what makes these spaces great for the people who work in them, and what helps to drive productivity for the organisations those people work for.
It comprehensively investigates issues such as sitting being the new smoking, and coworking spaces where SMEs can grow, months, if not years, ahead of direct competition and the mainstream press. onOffice delivers exclusives such as the first look at Architecture 00’s award-winning Foundry project in Southwark. Another scoop was Michele de Lucchi, a seminal Italian architect, appearing on the cover first when he came to promoting his installation at the Milan Furniture Fair.
Underpinning the content is how the magazine looks. From the very first issue, a benchmark was set in terms of art direction, to make workplace design look and feel sexy: there are always commissions for original photography or illustration for the front covers and rigorous selection of similarly high quality imagery that is supplied to the publication. Onoffice’s design combines readability with a lifestyle-magazine flourish, meeting the demands of their incredibly visually-led audience like no other title in the marketplace.
Finally, onOffice has, and always will have, a sense of fun. We spoke to talented Editor Helen Parton who showed us her passionate creative flare, love for roof terraces and a distinct cold shoulder to certain PR’s requests...
Media 10: What is the best part of your job as the Editor of award-winning onOffice?
Helen: Probably finding the perfect news hook to put someone on the cover you've admired for a long time. And then asking the right questions to get them to open up about an aspect of their work or themselves that you haven't heard about before - that's when you know you've hit journalistic pay dirt, when you can imagine what they're saying as a pull quote.
Media 10: And the most challenging?
Helen: PRs asking for copy approval. Nope, we don't do it. Not even for your client. Oh and people still not understanding what a high res image in this day and age. And the occasional diarising nightmare for a high profile cover star.
Media 10: What was the most memorable story you have published?
Helen: Without a doubt, our 100th issue cover story. I can't believe it's nearly a year now. I knew we needed to do something really special and that's why we enlisted the skills of paper cut artist Hattie Newman to produce the visual for our gatefold cover, only the second gatefold in the magazine's history. The entire editorial team spent a day in her studio refining the concept. After that, I'll admit it wasn't an entirely easy process to get to the finished result but it was well worth it in the end. The cover story featured a number of designers and architects who had graced our covers previously so it was nice to reconnect with old friends of the OnOffice family and find out how being our cover star had had impact on what they did next.
Media 10: Tell us about the best space/architecture you have ever seen?
Helen: One that springs to mind is the Ogilvy headquarters at Sea Containers on the South Bank by BDG, which appeared on our March cover. We'd been tracking this project for months, if not years. The sheer scale of the building is immense and all the different typologies of work settings make it a real landmark office. I'd love to work there! BDG beat some much bigger practices to win the job and their pride in showing us around was palpable. There are a couple of showstopping staircases that add to the drama. I'm a bit of a sucker for a roof terrace too, particularly in London, it's fab being able to have a terrific view of the city. And the Sea Containers building has one of those too, it was amazing being one of the first if not the first magazine to get up there, hard hats and everything!
Media 10: What did you want to be growing up?
Helen: I always wanted to be a fashion designer when I was really little, but I can't really draw and never had the patience to learn to sew properly so that was out. At school I remember the machine in the careers department that used various unfathomable algorithms to determine what you job you should have came up with 'music manager' and that would have been nice. Anyone who knows me, knows I am completely obsessed with bands and live music but maybe it would have taken some of the magic and enjoyment away if I actually did it for a living. But really, seriously, I've only ever wanted to be a journalist.
Media 10: Kale or Kettle chips?
Helen: I once had some kale crisps and they were revolting. I go through phases of liking kale (with lashings of butter and garlic so probably not all that healthy) but honestly it'd have to be the crisps. I love salt and pepper Kettle Chips, especially with guacamole, but when it comes down to it, I'm more of a Hula Hoops or Scampi Fries kinda girl.