GLOBAL hair beauty brand ghd has taken the wraps off its new international headquarters at Bridgewater Place in Leeds.
After months of secrecy the company, established in Ilkley in 2001, has removed the hoardings around the entrance and more than 50 staff have now moved into the premises. Ghd has transformed the first two floors of Bridgewater Place to create office space alongside a ghd Academy and concierge-style retailing.
The entrance draws visitors in through a white halo and features an under-lit catwalk, lined with upholstered seating. Once the sun goes down the building has been designed to emanate a heavenly glow.
Beth Watson, project manager for the development of ghd at Bridgewater Place, and education director at ghd, said: "It has taken two years to plan and develop our new HQ and it is amazing to finally move in.
"We wanted to stay loyal to our Yorkshire heritage as a brand and felt that Leeds was the right location to invest in as we move forward to the next stage of our development. We are confident that employees, stylists and consumers alike will be inspired by the space we have created as it epitomises the fashion style and image at the heart of our brand."
The ghd Academy is a centre of excellence which will provide specialist courses for stylists and consumers, including master classes with hairdressing 'legends'. The facility can also be transformed to host seminars and consumer events with a staging area and seating for up to 90 people. Other features of the new HQ include a Secret Diary Room where visitors can record their thoughts about ghd, and a Trend Library for staff and visitors to stay up-to-date on the world of style and fashion. The 15,600 sq ft project has been completed in conjunction with property experts Overbury, careyjones interiors, project management firm Fox Lloyd Jones and the WSP Group. The new premises will be officially launched tomorrow.
Paul Fox, director of Fox Lloyd Jones, said: "Our client was looking for a world class head office in line with the growing nature of the brand, and was also keen to retain their Yorkshire heritage and show the world how Yorkshire is capable of producing phenomenal brands.
"After a comprehensive search, Bridgewater Place was identified as the optimum choice and we are excited about the pioneering nature of the overall fit out, which is of a standard and quality never before seen in Leeds."
Ghd was launched when a hairdresser friend showed founder Martin Penny some styling irons he'd been sent by a South Korean inventor and suggested he buy the rights.
Ghd's name is now synonymous with ceramic stylers, which kicked off the trend for straightened hair.