Case Study

  • universal-commercial-relocation-case-study-icon-duration
  • Duration
  • universal-commercial-relocation-case-study-icon-people-moved
  • People Moved
  • 450
  • universal-commercial-relocation-case-study-icon-buildings
  • Buildings
  • 1
  • universal-commercial-relocation-case-study-icon-crates-used
  • Crates Used
  • universal-commercial-relocation-case-study-icon-entertainment
  • Sector
  • Entertainment

Executive summary

Sony Music’s offices house some of the music industry’s most famous labels such as RCA, Columbia, Epic and Syco. Often featuring in coolest places-to-work lists, and in coffee table books such as “I Wish I worked there: A look inside the most creative spaces in Business,” Sony Music chose to relocate its head office from Putney Bridge to Derry Street, off High Street Kensington. Sony Music’s HQ is home to various records labels’ creative, finance and administrative teams. The Derry Street offices feature bridge links, stairs and walkways connecting the floors and housing meeting rooms, the café and 15 records labels and departments in one coherent space.


The move to a Grade II* listed Art Deco building, originally Derry and Toms’ department store and, latterly in the 70s the home of iconic fashion brand Biba, saw the building being transformed into a 21st-century workplace for 450 people. Moving people into a listed building means that extra care and consideration has to be taken in showing respect for the building and its heritage. A full and thorough site survey before completion of in-depth Risk And Method Statements ensured that at all times the correct protection was available and deployed. As a recipient of many music industry awards, Sony’s fragile and often irreplaceable items had to be carefully export wrapped, whether they be industry awards or gold discs Given the large number of small items moved, Universal also ensured that all items overlooked and left behind by staff were boxed, labelled and held in a storage area for ten days so staff could reclaim. People working in creative departments tend to amass a large number of photos, executive toys and objects that require careful consideration when transporting. The building Sony were moving into also had other occupants including Babylon Restaurant and Kensington Roof Gardens, so access and egress from the building had to consider its multi-purpose use.

How Universal delivered

The client’s teams were working up until 6p.m. on Fridays, so the move largely took place outside office hours, with packing being done during the working day to minimise disruption. Universal provided a permanent banksman to reduce risk and minimize disruption, due to the building’s small car park and regular flow of visitors entering and leaving the building and the car park. As a result of detailed planning Universal was also able to move cabinets midweek to make space for packed crates in tight working conditions. On a weekly basis, Sony was updated through weekly progress meetings between Universal and Sony’s Head of Facilities and Facilities Team.

Results, Return on Investment and Future Plans

Through its close links with a variety of charities, Universal was able to ensure that all unwanted CDs, videos and redundant equipment were collected and recycled or redistributed with Sony’s permission. Use of file trolleys meant that crate hire costs were kept to a minimum when moving items and filing. Where crates were utilised, quick unpacking and recycling kept crate hire cost to a minimum. Innovative use and re-use of packing materials for awards and artwork meant that items were adequately protected whilst reducing the use of bubble-wrap. Universal continues to be proud of working with Sony Music as their sole provider for relocation and churn work on an ongoing basis.