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Bringing them out of their Shell with our bespoke sustainable glass partitions

After completing the Shell London project, we reflect upon the challenges we successfully overcame. And as a result, the reasons that the project exceeded expectations in the delivery of creative and sustainable solution.


South Bank, London

Perkins + Will

Overbury Plc

Sustainable glass partitions at the Shell Centre Tower

A successful collaboration with all stakeholders saw the transformation of London’s South Bank Shell Centre Tower. In short, the area includes a mixture of offices, homes and retail space, along with open and public areas. This encouraged sustainable development for the area. Further to this, new pedestrian routes will connect nearby Waterloo Station with the South Bank of the River Thames. The area is a beautiful place to live and work in the cultural heart of the most exciting city in the world. The project takes an area in need of redevelopment and revitalises it with a new mixed-use development, utilising sustainable glass partitions, of which London can be truly proud. Graham van’t Hoff, chairman, Shell UK, said: “We’re excited about our future here on the South Bank”. 

At the heart of the development is the existing 1960’s built Shell Centre Tower. The whole building has been refurbished to the same high standard on virtually every floor using the same design. Our part of the project provides beautiful glass office partitions, doors, and tech panels.  Our innovative logistics for the glass office partitions have seen the project not only contribute sustainable solutions here but also for other projects in the future.

Acoustic privacy

The specification required a high level of acoustic privacy for a series of meeting rooms and private offices on each floor.  To achieve this we used Revolution 100 double glazed partitions and Edge Affinity doors.  We housed the room booking systems in our innovative tech panels.  In the cafe area where fire ratings were essential, we used our Technishield 65 glazed partitions and doors and provided a bespoke fire-rated balustrade. 

The logistical challenges

The interior fit-out of the Shell Centre Tower is now complete. However, the site certainly presented some logistical challenges that posed the question of how to ensure a sustainable development. The team at Optima designed the transport and delivery solutions which are a sustainable route for the future. The new delivery methods will benefit other projects as well as benefiting the environment in many different ways.

New trolleys were created to maximise the load and ensure fewer journeys. Each trolley, which is 800 mm in width,  can hold 5 doors allowing 3 trolleys to be accommodated across a lorry bed .i.e. 15 doors. This compares to 2 wooden pallets each that take 4 doors .i.e. 8 doors; a 188% efficiency gain. This also gives a lower carbon transport emission, causes less congestion in London and requires less manual handling.

The trolley is made of steel making it a far more sustainable option than the two wooden pallets it replaces. Although purpose built these trolleys are now certified by LOLER (Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations) for use on other projects.

The trolleys now hold 45 doors instead of the original 24. This means less transport is required making it more environmentally friendly. This also gives a lower carbon transport emission, causes less congestion in London and requires less manual handling.

Specialist glass office partition fire screens required a different approach. They were too tall for the door trolley and required an extension. Lifting these was complex but successful, requiring a crane to carefully position the load on the correct floor, safely and multiple times.


92% of waste on this site was recycled. We left an innovative Recycling Bag on site with all deliveries. All protection and packaging was bagged and taken back to our manufacturing facility where it was reused or recycled wherever possible.


From the outset, this project achieves its environmental goals of BREEAM and LEED (Silver)  accreditation.  Optima’s contribution to these schemes includes high acoustic performance; high daylight transmittance performance; low environmental impact performance and certified responsible sourcing of component materials.  We minimise wastage of products, packaging and protection materials and encourage the reuse of all, either on-site or off-site

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