The new FEI Headquarters Building is called the HM King Hussein I Building, in tribute to the FEI President’s late father, a leader committed to peace and democracy and an avid sportsman. Khuan Chew, founder and design principal of London-based architectural firm KCA International Ltd, worked in close collaboration with Swiss-based architect Hervé de Rham and interior designer Siavosh Adeli to transform a building dating from the late 1960s by redesigning the façade and totally reconstructing the interior. Speaking of the project, Chew explained that the FEI “was very receptive to my creativity in introducing ideas and features not normally entertained in a corporate environment.”
The new FEI Headquarters are built in accordance with the specifications of Swiss MINERGIE®, a construction standard for environmental responsibility which is in line with the FEI’s constant efforts to ensure that the environment is respected at equestrian event venues. Minergie buildings reduce energy consumption by 25 per cent and fossil energy by 50 per cent. “The team was challenged to build an environmentally friendly building, but with glamour and style to boot,” said Chew.
Visitors entering the building are greeted with an atrium – a central hall that soars upwards through the four floors occupied by the FEI – with an open staircase and a multi-cubed lighting installation suspended from the high ceiling. “We had to make the entry experience very unusual and give a real element of surprise to all who walk into it,” said Chew. She also aimed to provide the FEI Family with a building they could identify with, so subtle equestrian references are omnipresent. The entrance lobby boasts a feature wall resembling timber Jumping hurdles, which then develops into an atrium wall of timber slats, intermixed with light slots. The reception desk is clad with leather belts inspired from reins and in the cafeteria, horse hair upholstery lining has been used on some of the cupboards.
Chew strived to bring the outdoors into the building by using natural materials. In some cases, this has been taken very literally: in the cafeteria, for example, the tables are tree trunk slabs, and slate cladding adorns the entrance porch and landscaping features. “More and more, quality of life in the work place is an important consideration,” said Chew. “It is likely that we spend most of our waking hours at work. Therefore, one has to first love what one does and secondly, hopefully, love the place one works in. I sincerely hope we have done just that for the employees of the FEI.”
The new HQ is a true place of leadership for equestrian sport, which will enable the FEI to bring multiple committees, members and stakeholder epresentatives together. Visitors attending meetings at the FEI will be installed in one of the four conference rooms, each geared towards creating a different atmosphere.
FEI Executive Director of Finance, Administration, HR and IT Neerja Tannan had the mammoth task of liaising between all the parties involved and making key decisions. “The new FEI Headquarters have provided us with a privileged working environment, which is a daily reminder that, in order to deserve it, we should constantly strive to meet the standards of service we owe to our stakeholders.”
HM King Hussein I Building
Chemin des Délices 9