Westpac is Australia’s first bank and oldest company, and today, one of Australia’s top four banking institutions. Westpac’s new workplace at Parramatta Square in Western Sydney delivers a transformative hub centred on the employee proposition. The workplace, totalling 18,000 sqm across eight floors, is designed to foster a strong connection to place with a vibrant cultural overlay.
GroupGSA completed the interior design. The dynamic floorplate features a kaleidoscope of working environments to embrace work hybridity and collaboration. The design places emphasis on functional and adaptive working environments to promote engagement, collaboration, and idea creation.
Workstations are flanked with break-out team bases, neighbourhood huddles and Co+Lab spaces with flexible walls across the work floors. “Unbookable” pods allow for adhoc meets, while one-person focus rooms provide privacy for client consultation.
According to the design team, there was a desire to create a workplace that will fundamentally evolve as a primary collaboration site, rather than a place for ownership of a desk and a chair.
Meeting spaces are fitted with high-level amenity and technology to ensure collaboration is seamless regardless of whether Westpac staff members are in the office or working remotely.
Westpac’s Corporate Projects, Major Corporate Capital Works, Group Property business units were involved in the planning. Each business unit was engaged in a briefing process that considered the holistic ‘macro’ view of the organization in terms of business culture, growth and standard, as well as its ‘micro’ requirements such as storage and desk space.
The project has been designed for diversity. There is a wheelchair friendly reception desk, colour contrast between finishes, clear wayfinding, sit to stand desks and kitchen joinery is designed for DDA compliance.
Another interesting initiative was suppliers had to align with Westpac’s core values of working with First Nations people. Prominence was given to local materiality or, at minimum finishes which had their beginnings in Australia. The project team opted for suppliers with an indigenous arm or access to indigenous resourcing, including Zenith FG, Schiavello and AWM.
Identification of the different spaces is stipulated through finishes. For example, the reflection spaces have curtains and lounging as tech free zones. The space also features transparency between workplace and client areas.
Energetic social hubs are positioned at stair landings to create fluid circulation to destination zones. The floorplate naturally flows from ‘active and loud’ spaces into quiet retreat in decreasing intensity. Each floor has a vast gathering space to encourage congregation and a sense of community and are bounded by collaboration and training spaces. As you move away from the void, the workspaces become quieter until you get to a higher concentration of enclosed spaces. Reflective spaces, like the retreat space, are reserved to the outer reaches of the building, with elevated panoramic views. Wellness and reset zones are designed for Westpac staff to refocus and recalibrate, featuring cushioned rest pods in dark green tones and ceilings drenched in greenery. Reflection rooms feature foot baths and also spaces for mats.
- Builders: Buildcorp
- Furniture: Zenith FG
- Lockers, workstations and loose furniture: Schiavello
- Joinery: AWM and Euroline
- Desks/Joinery: Manteo Joinery
- Lighting and technology: Aston
- Stair: Active Metal
- Custom Carpet: Signature Floors
- Wayfinding: There
Overall Project Results
Change came easily as a result of the pandemic. Flexible working environments and agility were were a key change as fit-out was completed during Covid. This is no longer a space to own a desk and chair. The new workplace unifies Westpac’s existing Concord and Parramatta sites in the heart of Western Sydney.
The overall design takes visual cues from the design concept – ‘a gathering place’. A reimagined arrival experience on Level 29 blurs the lines between client and employee space. A custom artist overlay carpet pays homage to the Paramatta River, bringing energy to the space. The pattern meanders through corridors and around the void. There’s a strong connection to place through organic form and colour.
The theme of the Westpac workplace is a nod to gathering by a campfire, so there’s midnight blues and pops of orange vibrancy throughout. Five-metre-long ‘landmark tables’ embossed with topographic maps of the Parramatta River, by THERE Studio, appear in different colours on each floor arrival in a continuation of theme and subtle level identification. The concierge desk is crafted from ochre red Australian marble – the last of its quarry. The space is softened by blonde timbers, multi-layered textural finishes in black charcoal, earthy greens and burnt auburns.