2015 Dulux Colour Awards Shortlist
2014 Sydney Design Awards Winner of Best Commercial Workplace Interior
Media Agencies, Wunderman and Bienalto were to move from two floors in Darlinghurst into one floor at 35 Clarence Street, where they would exist in the same building as some of the sister companies under the WPP umbrella.
They were after a bright and inspiring new work space that would excite staff and clients alike. They were keen to explore an Activity Based Work setting that responded to changing workplace conditions and that would enhance workplace culture. As an Activity Based Working project, we had to allow for a variety of work settings including seamless partition-less bench style workstations, high bench style project tables, enclosed booths, small quiet rooms, meeting rooms as well as an active work-friendly reception area and large communal breakout that would be able to host large meetings.
The design response was bright and playful. Our aim was to break away from tradition, so we experimented with materiality and colour. Drawing on the colour palette from the company logo, local graffiti artists were engaged to paint the arrival area to an immediate sense of the media agency’s brand for any visitors. A snapshot of the inner working of Wunderman and Bienalto.
Wunderman and Bienalto were forward thinking and keen for us to pursue an Activity Based Workplace. This meant that there would be no assigned seats and the staff would need to be provided with a variety of functional settings to work in. The floor would be highly populated so it would be important to create environments that allowed staff to escape for a private phone call, collaborate with other staff, meet with their clients, and to relax on their lunch break.
In addition to this, the new workspace was to enhance the company culture and bring the two companies who had previously occupied separate floors, together. As a part of this brief, we were to incorporate a number of existing elements iconic to the clients. These included a large purple “W”, rainbow coloured stairs adorned with hand written messages, stencilled table tops, a large perforated portrait of the company founder and a series of purple gnomes to name a few. The client also wanted to be projected as a leading professional agency.
It was important that we moved away from tradition, explored spaces that encouraged activity based working, and focused creating both an exciting place to work and a functional office that would transcend time and welcome external stakeholders.
We invited local street artists to paint the lobby arrival area, equipping them with a palette of corporate colours. The reception desk sits proud of an open work setting consisting of banquette seating, a collaborative work table, and enclosed booths so that staff and visitors alike can utilise. Post-occupancy we have found this to be one of the most successful spaces and it works well to create a “buzz” in the office. A corridor leads you away from reception, along a series of quiet and meeting rooms as well as the operable boardroom, through to a large communal breakout with views toward the Sydney Harbour Bridge. This space hosts large meetings and is littered with loose furniture, a ping pong table and fooseball. The large kitchen services the entire office and has the best view in the fit-out.
“Neighbourhoods” were created to deal with the open workplace division and were translated into power-blade and meeting room graphics.
The project timeframe was very tight. The builders had six weeks to produce the fit out which had large amounts of bespoke joinery that would accommodate the activity based work settings. On top of this, we had to select furniture and finishes that could be delivered under such a tight deadline. It was a great challenge not to compromise the design given the restrictions on the project and we worked hard with the builders to resolve details on site and push suppliers for fast lead times. This would ensure that our client achieved their high density workplace and parent-company requirements with the level of design features that would make the space come to life and inspire staff every day.
As the project was located within a typical office building, we got in early and collaborated with building management to ensure the “make good” was in keeping with the design intent. By doing this we minimised material waste and labour resources. Carpet was laid only where it was needed and ceiling tiles were not applied to the entire floor as our design intent was to remove a large portion of both. We detailed a considerable amount of bespoke joinery to be made by local tradesmen, rather than specifying off the shelf products, and we looked to local suppliers for furniture specifications where possible. A difficult task given the timeframe we were working with.
The majority of the built environment was kept to the core, which allowed the open workspace and breakout areas to utilise the natural light from the glazed building facade. We kept the finishes light and airy and included plant life to bring biofilic quality to the space for the wellbeing of staff. Planting in interior environments eliminated VOC’s, vastly improving the surrounding air quality. This brings direct benefits to the occupants of the space.
“I am very pleased to be able to provide a reference for the work of The Bold Collective.
Ali, Monica and Therese were a joy to work. With their insight, knowledge and skills , we were able to completely design a new office from a blank canvas. The entire process was seamless, organized and fluid with excellent communication at every step and, importantly, patience with a few of our late changes
I am thrilled to have an office that our team absolutely loves and an environment our Clients also want to come and enjoy. Well done!”