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Redefining industry standards: What sets Mercury’s innovative design process apart

“At the end of a project when you can take a step back and look at the finished result, the sense of accomplishment and reward that you feel is unbeatable.” This is how Irene Alonso, Design Manager with Mercury’s Data Centre and Building Services Business Unit, describes the most fulfilling element of her role.

Since joining the company four years ago she has played a pivotal part in leading her team to provide enhanced design solutions on data centre projects in Madrid and Barcelona. Irene comments that the work differs to her previous experience as an architect, but she was drawn to Mercury by the chance to “develop my skills in the constantly growing data centre market, which was a new area for me but a challenge I was ready for.”

After graduating as an architect in her native Spain, Irene moved from her hometown near Madrid to London and began working on several residential and mixed-use high-rise developments in the U.K capital. She also gained experience on some of the firm’s projects in India, Mexico, and the United States.

She notes that a crucial difference in her work as Business Unit Design Manager compared to her experience as an architect is “having full visibility of the entire project and coordinating with several other teams every day.” She expands, “collaboration is really encouraged at Mercury, and it benefits the end results.”

Delivering powerful designs

As Business Unit Design Manager, the University of Alcalá alum oversees the design workflow, currently on two large scale data centre projects. The design process on such complex projects involves multiple steps and commences pre-construction, usually working alongside Mercury’s Central Engineering Team to review an initial Stage 3 conceptual design for the project submitted by the client. After highlighting any queries or changes necessary, Irene and her team are largely responsible for design works on the project from Stage 4 of the process. “This involves working with our trusted design partners to develop a technical design package which will include detailed drawings and specifications.” Before a final design package is settled on, there are further reviews and collaboration with both the client and Mercury’s in-house Central Engineering team who are involved in projects across Europe.

As the construction phase draws nearer, the different kinds of work on the project are divided into “specialist packages” or sections which may encompass Architectural, Irene and her team then collaborate with Mercury’s subcontractors, Planners, and Package Leads to coordinate the full, detailed design drawings for each package, which will inform the construction of the data centre.

Transcending industry norms

Irene is adamant that Mercury’s approach to design work is singular and innovative. She notes the unique appeal of utilising a project-based design team who are on the ground daily, as well as an experienced Central Engineering Team, who have worked across several European data centre projects for some of the biggest companies. The approach ultimately “provides the best expertise and value for our clients, ensuring our project designs are thoroughly reviewed and include optimal details, in order to make the construction process as smooth as possible.”

When asked what skills are needed to excel in data centre design, Irene remarks that the fast-paced schedules of such projects mean that attention to detail and problem solving “are essential.” She also comments on the value of “maintaining perspective and being able to zoom out from minute details.” As well as working with the team on site in Madrid, she also oversees design work on another data centre project in Barcelona which involves further teamwork and collaboration. She relishes the variety in her role, commenting that “no two days are ever the same.”

Reflecting on the past four years, Irene is quietly proud, having returned to her home country by fulfilling an ambition in “becoming an expert in an entirely new area of work.” She’s also experienced satisfaction in playing a role on a project from pre-construction and getting to see the designs “come to reality.” Irene observes this journey would not have been possible without Mercury’s support in empowering her.  This is exemplified in the company’s “commitment to delivering the best results through innovative approaches, never leaving a stone unturned.”


Mercury is the European leader in construction solutions. We build and manage complex engineering & construction projects for the world’s leading corporations. Our solutions help deliver technologies that connect people, communities, and businesses, giving them the power to achieve incredible things. Our people have the courage to be innovative. Their determination and sharp focus enable us to deliver with certainty, time and time again.  

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