A future workplace in Melbourne, infused with hospitality-inspired design, finishes and services, provides a purpose-driven environment that empowers employees, effectively enhances collaboration and nurtures client relationships.

Designed as a future workplace that promotes human connection and collaboration, the new office aims to create a purpose-driven environment that empowers employees and strengthens client relationships. The new design projects a positive image of teamwork, respect, and inclusiveness to foster innovation and flexibility, giving the company a competitive edge in attracting talent, while providing a holistic experience that enhances the well-being and productivity of its employees.

The clear intent was to create a space that would improve collaboration for a creative culture, allow for flexible spaces, maximise space efficiencies with well-considered spatial planning and provide a positive working environment with operational efficiency. The team was guided by four key principles that helped to achieve these objectives.

With a unique proposition of creating a boutique hotel experience, the reception is designed to welcome visitors with warmth and hospitality, akin to a concierge and lounge. The space offers a range of functions, including the ability to host pre-event drinks, presentations, and learning opportunities in a less formal setting. Adjacent to the main lounge area are more formal and professional meeting spaces that can be easily accessed from the lounge. The space has been designed to stimulate all the senses, including smell, with a special scent and curated artwork that reflects the company’s culture. The goal is to create an impeccably-serviced space where people can connect and feel welcomed.

Gensler responded to the challenge by creating flexible spaces that enrich the client experience and selectively reusing existing elements to seek a greater sustainable outcome. With a move from large scale seminars to small intimate more personal spaces to build deeper relationships, the focus is on a hosted experience balancing the personal and the digital. The insertion of curtains allows different combinations of scenarios, to open or divide the space to evoke a changing user experience. The Design Studio merges technology, audio visual overlay, enhanced digital experiences and modularity of components.

As a development, it acknowledges the Traditional Owners and Custodians of the land on which this workplace sits, the Peoples of the Kulin Nation, and pays respect to their Elders past, present and emerging. Over 70% of our furniture suppliers are certified Indigenous ownership suppliers through a program called Supply Nation. In the main reception area is a bespoke pendant light – ‘Iuk’ (pronounced ee-ook) – created by a community collective of local First Nation women artists called “Ngardang Girri Kalat Mimini (NGKM)” in collaboration with Koskela. ‘Iuk’ – Woiwurrung for eel – is designed to reflect the significance of the eel trap and its importance to both traditional and artistic Koorie practices. Much more than a light, it is a piece of living art, capturing the strength, ingenuity and beauty of our First Nations peoples.

This refurbishment project focused on adapting and reusing existing elements, with a focus on resilience, sustainability, and materiality. The design retained many of the original features of the 15-year-old fit-out, such as stone floors, aluminium partitioning and glass, the stair structure, mechanical services, and stacked stone walls. The fabric-wrapped sliding doors were recovered, and high-quality furniture was reused and refurbished. All original lighting was replaced with energy-efficient alternatives. The design added new finishes and elements to the existing features, creating a new and distinct experience that challenged the traditional concept of a refurbishment.

This approach challenges the traditional concept of refurbishment and successfully integrates the old and the new, resulting in a dynamic and contemporary workplace. By carefully retaining key, high-impact items, the design is able to create something new and distinct while still honouring the history and character of the original space.

Project: Confidential Professional Service Company
Location: Australia
Design Studio: Gensler
Photo Credit: Gensler / Nicole England
Website: gensler.com