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Autumn 2015 saw AON, the world’s largest insurance broker, strategically relocate its headquarters from Chicago to London.

The Leadenhall Building, 122 Leadenhall St, London


Overbury Plc

The Space

This calculated move saw the insurance giant occupy the capital’s Leadenhall Building – commonly referred to as “The Cheesegrater” –  in the heart of London’s insurance world. This move was designed to help the company consolidate its UK property portfolio from five London sites into two.

Over 2000 employees were involved in this move and relocated across 11 floors of this iconic building. The key to the success of such a structural upheaval would lie in AON’s staff member’s reaction to their new 191,000 sq ft surroundings.

The Project

Project architect Gensler’s design brief was simple:  to design an area that encourages a collaborative way of working whilst giving employees the choice of where and how they work. This flexibility and unitive requirement would be central to this project, not only to ensure the move to be a success but also to cement Aon’s culture of oneness.

Gensler’s designs maximised staff mobility and agility whilst enhancing the Leadenhall location and impressive views. To help make AON and Gensler’s vision a reality, Optima were commissioned to install all glass systems throughout the insurance giant’s new HQ.

Working on all eleven levels (4-13) in order to fulfil the BIM requirements for this project with AON, Optima produced a 3D model in Revit. This included creating bespoke interface details, such as room booking panels and column abutments. The models were exported into Navisworks to allow us to combine them with other subcontractor models for absolute coordination purposes. We also incorporated essential asset data into the model.

Once this Revit model was approved and assured, throughout the Leadenhall Optima designed, engineered and installed Optima 117 plus single glazing, Revolution 54 double glazed fins, double glazed Edge Symmetry doors in Microflush door frames and bespoke fire rated doors and screens which were wholly custom built and fitted specifically for AON.

The Result

AON’s 2015 move has been a huge success and the exquisite quality of their new office spaces have been heralded as a contributing factor to this success.

Optima helped to achieve a collaborative working environment – a space that encourages flexible working, thereby allowing AON to veer away from a more traditionally rigid way of doing things. What their new headquarters promises is the ability to surpass initial mobility objectives to coordinate with Aon’s future extension programmes.

Working with Optima


Upon project completion, Carl Stowell-Smith, Project Manager at Overbury Plc contractors, commented on the “excellent quality” that was achieved. He continued to explain how Optima “handled BIM extremely well”.  He praised our “flexible” and “pro-active” stance on site which allowed for the seamless, elegant and completely breath-taking space to take shape.

At Optima we are extraordinarily proud of this project; one where we were given the opportunity to work in an iconic building with a powerful brand.  It was an opportunity that stands testament to our product quality, professional service and exemplary on-site performance.



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