This Melbourne Spec Suite Shows Off the Benefits of Flexible Work

The designers played on the city’s “laneway culture” and the rise of flexible work to attract tenants.

flexible work
Image courtesy of Technē Architecture + Interior Design.

It is frequently reported that flexible workspaces are the “new norm” in today’s modern workplace. Not only are employees being offered more flexible arrangements around their working hours (with a focus on outcomes rather than hours), but where and how they perform these tasks is also changing.

German investment giant Deka Immobilien and asset manager CBRE recently engaged Technē Architecture + Interior Design with the intent to attract new tenants to a Melbourne tower amidst the competitive commercial rental market. The 20-story tower sits on the corner of William and Collins Streets within vicinity of the Rialto Towers and other landmark Melbourne buildings.

Designed in collaboration with workplace experts Schiavello, our team set out to showcase an agile workspace for a 700 square meters tenancy.

We needed to prove that despite the building’s age, we could create a space that would be aesthetically pleasing, with the functionality required for contemporary working life. The building is currently host to a wide range of businesses and industries, from engineering firms to accountants and call centers. The result needed to suit a broad range of prospective tenants.

We needed to prove that despite the building’s age, we could create a space that would be aesthetically pleasing, with the functionality required for contemporary working life.

Whilst a consistent design language is apparent throughout, we divided the space into two distinct tenancy aesthetics in order to attract varying potential tenants.

The sophisticated and refined aesthetic of the south side is designed to appeal to a more corporate tenant, while the north side is designed with a creative tenant in mind.

The project saw the 700 square meter office space on level seven transformed into series of “zones”, allowing users to choose where and how they conduct their work.

flexible work

flexible work

flexible work
Images courtesy of Technē Architecture + Interior Design.

Each zone represents a different style of working to support staff who enjoy working individually and those who thrive in more collaborative environments.

Schiavello’s Climate, a user-centred, malleable workstation solution for the creative area enables organizations, teams, and individuals to shape their work environment to suit their specific needs, and remold it when their needs change.

“Focus booths” create a visually shielded area. Demonstrating a “room within a room” concept, these booths enable privacy by absorbing the disruptive sounds of their surrounding environment, and allowing users to work individually or in pairs.

flexible work
Image courtesy of Technē Architecture + Interior Design.

The Krossi workstations located within the creative and corporate areas enable sit to stand modules to be dispersed across the landscape. The users are presented with a “different world” which is intuitive and user-friendly. This fluidity of movement is further supported by the placement of wireless devices.

While commercial and hospitality design may seem worlds apart, we discovered similar concepts can and should be used the workplace to enhance the human experience, foster a sense of collaboration between employees, and support varying work models.

Also evident in this project is the positive influence of hospitality design principles on commercial projects. We were conscious of workplaces evolving to be more flexible and collaborative. Our consideration of hospitality design principles cultivates that connectivity and fluidity within a commercial design context.

While commercial and hospitality design may seem worlds apart, we discovered similar concepts can and should be used the workplace to enhance the human experience, foster a sense of collaboration between employees, and support varying work models.

Our team’s experience designing for Melbourne’s world-class hospitality sector (The Prahran Hotel, Tonka, Movida are three of our studio’s most notable hospitality projects) inspired this project and ultimately allowed it to become a success. After all, we see dining as a vehicle for connection, which is what the modern office is striving for.

flexible work
Image courtesy of Technē Architecture + Interior Design.

The brief was clear with strong design aspirations for the space. Our challenge was how to interpret the literal request for a replication of what is intrinsically Melbourne – a city that’s famous for its laneways, graffiti, cafes, and raw environments.

The north side of the building in particular is representative of the city’s unique look and feel, with an interior palette selected to showcase a modern and creative environment within a corporate setting.

The materiality is largely industrial, integrating exposed concrete and timber with bold and bright colour accents. The use of steel mesh not only responds to this industrial aesthetic, but also serves as screening device to divide the space. Vertical gardens and planter boxes provide respite, while also helping to improve air quality in the building.

flexible work
Image courtesy of Technē Architecture + Interior Design.

Red brickwork was introduced as an anchoring device within the creative workspace, providing a canvas for murals by Dan Wenn of 90Degrees Graffiti. The murals bring Melbourne’s famed laneways into the space, adding to the industrial aesthetic and providing further depth of colour to the red brickwork.

All of these elements were considered for their role in enhancing the user experience and increasing business productivity. The result is a unique workplace that captures the essence of Melbourne’s hospitality scene and laneway culture for companies to embrace.

We believe that by integrating hospitality principles into the space, we’ve been able to foster greater collaboration and connectivity in a commercial environment. We see this model as “future proofing” the workplace, minimizing capital expenditure associated with the further evolution of the commercial sector.

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