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First Look: inside YNAP's 'temple of innovation'

“This is our temple of innovation, our vehicle to the future,” said Federico Marchetti, chief executive of Yoox Net-a-Porter, as he unveiled the company’s new tech hub in West London on 27 June.

The new space, based in White City in West London will house 500 members of staff and is focused on driving technological innovation in the company.

“We are here to revolutionise the luxury industry,” Marchetti told Drapers.

“We’re innovating for the customer, to bring a better and more exciting customer experience.”

The 70,000 sq ft space is part of the company’s strategy to double its business by 2020 and will accelerate innovations in areas such as augmented reality, artificial intelligence and mobile technologies – which is a core focus of the business. The office will act alongside the company’s existing technology team in Bologna, Italy.

Designed by the architect Sir Nicholas Grimshaw, the state of the art office features an open plan design and includes 5 “tea houses” and 2459 plants.

“This is a very human space and we aimed to create a place where people want to work,” explained Grimshaw. “We’ve gone away completely from the regimented office space, and have created an organic place, where ideas can spring up naturally.”

Alongside the launch the company is set to roll IOS devices (iPhone 6S or iPhone 7) to all 3,200 staff in order to make the company mobile first in terms of customers and work ethic.

“I’m a bit obsessed with mobile,” said Marchetti. “Ever since I became CEO, we have been a mobile focused company. Providing the staff with iPhones, mirrors our customer behaviour. It gives us a better understanding of the customer.”

Marchetti also announced a partnership with Imperial College London, aiming to increase the number of girls working in technology by funding students going into local schools to teach skills such as coding.

“We are investing in London,” commented Marchetti. “And we are happy to be doing so”.

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