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Some of Australia’s best office designs

Australia is considered one of the most innovative countries in the world when it comes to workplace innovations (we did invent Wi-Fi, after all). No matter their location or size, Australian companies are always looking for ways to create inspiring and functional workspace designs that keep teams efficient and productive.

The 2016 Australian Interior Design Awards showcased some remarkable designs, from a rustic warehouse-turned-office in a Brisbane suburb, to a chic law firm overlooking the Sydney CBD. It inspired us to look at other Australian brands, to see how they are using interior design to grow their business.

Creating a home away from home

As the lines between work and play blur, companies are finding innovative ways to keep employees engaged throughout the day. Google’s headquarters in Sydney offer hammocks, a tyre swing, Lego room, napping pods and rock climbing, so employees can relax and enjoy their time at work. In Westpac’s new digs at Barangaroo, there’s a wellness centre for massages and other spa treatments, a medical centre, library, prayer room and concierge service.

Google Sydney office
Google’s Sydney HQ, made for nesting [Photo: Google]
The kitchen is now considered the heart of the workplace, with many interior designs in Australia focused on keeping employees well fed and healthy. Google features an American-style diner in its office, while Westpac offers an expansive kitchen and barbeque area where cooking lessons are held. Some interior designers have even placed breakout areas at the front of the office, so clients can relax with a coffee while waiting for their appointment.

Boosting creativity and collaboration

Instagram’s Sydney office was designed to make employees feel comfortable working from anywhere, whether it’s on an outdoor balcony or in a lounge area overlooking the city. A range of casual spaces and formal meeting rooms are used to bring teams together to develop new and innovative ideas for the social media platform.

Instagram office Sydney

Instagram Offices in Sydney, Australia [Photo: MyDomaine]
The new KPMG office at Barangaroo was also designed with teamwork in mind, featuring dedicated zones for concentrated work, casual areas to engage informally, collaborative zones for teams and mixed areas for sharing information. Everyone has access to all levels of the organisation, which fosters a sense of belonging among the teams.

Of course, collaboration doesn’t have to be boring. Located in Melbourne, the Moose Toys Headquarters use a Jack and the Beanstalk cubby house for meeting rooms, with whiteboard walls so employees can scribble down their ideas. During lunch and breaks, staff are encouraged to mingle with other colleagues, play table tennis or shoot some hoops on the basketball court outside.

Bringing the outdoors inside

Companies are starting to take sustainability seriously, designing energy-efficient office spaces that reduce costs while increasing employee satisfaction.

The winner of the 2016 Sustainable Building Awards for Office and Retail Fitout was St George Barangaroo, which is now Australia’s first 6-Star Green Star (interiors rating) retail project. Sustainable elements of the project include the use of building materials with a reduced environmental impact over their entire lifecycle: reduced internal air pollutants, reduced water and energy consumption via energy-efficient lighting selection and programmable controls, and innovative options for community usage of the space.

St George sustainable office
St George Barangaroo, 6-Star Green Star (interiors rating) office [Photo: Sustainability Awards]
Nature is also being used in the colours and textures of office interior designs in Australia, from timber furnishings to stone surfaces. Hewlett Packard hung a two-storey high photo of eucalyptus trees in its office, while in Birkenstock’s Melbourne headquarters plants are used as air purifiers and periscope skylights filter natural light onto desks. Many companies also offer Wi-Fi in outdoor areas, to encourage staff to take the laptop outdoors and get a healthy dose of Vitamin D.

Improving accessibility

A great workplace design team should make sure they reflect their client’s corporate values and brand personality. The ANZ Bank’s focus on transparency and accessibility inspired an atrium in its Melbourne office that extends upwards through the building, with a café on the ground floor with views up into the heart of the building. The bank’s Sydney office is similar, using glass to help people navigate around the building more easily and see what colleagues are working on.

Our team are always looking for innovative ways to help our clients engage their employees and customers through their workplaces. Check out our recent projects, or get in touch to discover how we can help.

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The rise of activity based working
Activity Based Working (ABW) is a style of office interior design that allows employees to customise their environment to their individual working style. Rather than giving employees one place to complete their work, such as an office desk, they are provided with a choice of environments that are designed to support different activities. These may include conference rooms for formal meetings, quiet areas for focused work, open-plan areas for teamwork and casual areas for impromptu conversations.