Taking a drab space and giving it a spec makeover
“The main aim of engaging fitout companies to do spec fitouts is to make it easier for tenants to make a decision, as they find it hard to envisage the end product, and to reduce let up period. We engaged with Axiom to do a spec fitout after inspecting their premises on Level 17, 6 O’Connell Street because it was absolutely amazing – every detail was so well thought-out and executed to the highest standard.”The main aim of engaging fitout companies to do spec fitouts is to make it easier for tenants to make a decision. Click To Tweet
Dean Bracken, Director, Office Leasing, Colliers International
After experiencing a frustrating let up period on a 382m2 Sydney CBD office space, Investa and building agents – Colliers International and Cushman & Wakefield – turned to Axiom to help realise a spec fitout to attract potential tenants.
The space on Level 2, 6 O’Connell Street in Sydney’s CBD presented a substantial challenge for the Axiom design team. Situated on the second floor – relatively low to the ground and dominated by the towering buildings around it – the space was almost constantly in shadow. This absence of natural light meant this floor exuded a dark, almost gloomy, atmosphere; not to mention the old tenancy was cluttered, which presented yet another design roadblock to navigate.
Given their expertise in real estate, Investa and the building agents anticipated the problems they would encounter attempting to lease out this space. Having seen what Axiom had created several floors up on level 17 in the exact same building, welcomed the opportunity to commission Axiom to undertake a spec fitout of the second floor space, with the specific aim of enticing a new pool of potential tenants.
The biggest challenge was getting natural light into the space and transforming it into a warm, welcoming and happy place without using too much overt colour that could clash with a company’s brand.
“Axiom’s design was what got us enthused and excited,” admits Dean Bracken. “It really bought out the best in a suite, which was not the ideal configuration to start with. By the end of this process, it was like the suite had been configured to suit the fitout.”
“We needed a spec fitout that made the space flow better,” continues Dean. “The suite also had a balcony so we needed to take this into consideration when planning the layout, as a balcony is a big selling point in Sydney’s CBD market.”
A feature of the previous layout was a large boardroom, which monopolised the entire window frontage and all of the available natural light. Recognising the organisational trend of flatter management structures and fewer hierarchies, Axiom restructured the walls and layout to direct natural light as deeply into the floor plan as possible, subsequently opening up the space to everybody.
The boardroom area was replaced with a shared/breakout space to capitalise on the morning sun, specifically. Built spaces were positioned in spots that weren’t hogging the natural light.
In terms of the wider, overarching concept, the seasons (spring, summer, winter and autumn), as experienced in the city, informed the overall aesthetic of the space. In particular, the winter concept – Winter in the City – really appealed to the people of Colliers because of its introduction of shards of yellow in subtle, sophisticated ways.
The Axiom design team constructed the winter palette from beautiful, neutral tones and elegant bronze details (in tapware, joinery, etc.) to evoke the feeling of cold Sydney streets in winter when, without warning, a brilliant streak of sunshine will shatter through the built environment, creating a moment of connection to nature. For just a second, you’re reminded there are, indeed, wonderful elements to winter in the city.
These little injections of yellow throughout the space – in concert with soft greys, whites, off-whites and accents of black in feature paints, cushions and pots – help elevate level two from its former miserable self into a vibrant and appealing space.
Dean was impressed by many ways in which Axiom understood Colliers limitations: “When doing a spec fitout in this market, the budget is critical given the level of incentives that are currently being offered. We provided a budget to Axiom, which they adhered to, and delivered a high quality fitout.”
“Axiom really understood the initial brief and provided a layout that exceeded our expectations,” he concludes. “They think outside the box, and use angles and lines that really accentuate a fitout. Once Axiom delivered the spec fitout, we secured a tenant within the first month of it being completed.”
At a glance:
- Reconfigured layout to maximise the availability of natural light, and improved integration and energy flow.
- Realised a design aesthetic based on the four seasons to inspire a reconnection with the natural environment.
- Created a warmer, friendlier, more inviting space that appeals to a wide range of businesses.
- Completed the project on time and in budget.
- Succeeded in helping the client secure a new tenant within weeks.