Activity based work, office design breaks down communication barriers and stimulates productivity
Story by Charles Moxham
Photography by Nicole England
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Sydney property management firm Savills reflects leading edge thinking in work and staff culture in its office fit-out by Futurespace
When visitors wander through Savills' new Sydney inner-city offices they experience an informal, unstructured environment that would be equally at home in a high-end hospitality venue.
The fit-out for the Australian offices of the global property management firm by interior and architecture design firm Futurespace is relaxed and welcoming. However, its look is informed by the latest best practices in modern office design.
Founder and director of Futurespace architect Stephen Minnett says people come to Savills to find the best solutions for their property needs, so the team had to design a contemporary workplace that would reflect and enhance this reputation.
"We did this in part by thinking about how the space can underpin the business through flexible and agile solutions – essentially creating an activity based workplace that supports the employees."
The Savills Sydney office comprises a full floor with reception, open-plan work spaces and kitchen, with further work spaces on the half floor below.
Design director at Futurespace Gavin Harris says both floors are largely open-plan, with workdesks, high tables, stools and casual seating arrangements set up for a variety of work task needs. And, importantly, to be used by any staff members as specific work needs dictate.
"So, instead of Savills' employees thinking about ‘my desk, or my office', this approach creates a team-based, egalitarian community, breaking down communication barriers and stimulating productivity.
Further to this relaxed, activity-based workplace approach, both floors have been stripped back to allow for ease of movement and to achieve a visibly connected workplace.
"We also introduced a large internal staircase, offering a strong visual link as well as a circulation link between floors," Harris says.
"Fluid staff movement was an important part of the design, in terms of collaboration, incidental exercise, and socialising. And the open spaces, broad corridors and large staircase facilitate this."
Every part of the design works hard to contribute to a multi-use environment. The large reception with views out to the Sydney Harbour Bridge is part of this and is located adjacent to a variety of conversational, desking and standing areas. All of these are designed so they can be swept to one side to create a large, dynamic town hall environment.
So there are no barriers within the office except a few dedicated meeting rooms, and in most cases the areas of use are subtly and simply indicated by dropped ceilings or even area carpet rugs. Both of these elements also help deaden noise and so bring a degree of privacy within the open-plan volumes.
Warm, reassuring tones on the carpets and wood ceilings are offset by groupings of colourful furniture, which can be swapped in or out to change the look. The eye-catching iridescent blue on the stairwell changes with the play of light – highlighting this all-important social circulatory feature.
First published date: 07 December 2017
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|Project||Savills, Governor Phillip Tower, Sydney|
|Fit-out company and project engineer||Buildcorp|
|Project engineer||Peter Hawkings, Futurespace|
|Partitioning||Plasterboard and stud partitioning|
|Hardware||Barben Architectural Hardware|
|Flooring||Interface, Tretford, Aspire Rock, Polyflor|
|Wallcoverings||Vescom Tonga wallcovering from Eurowalls; Pleat wallcovering from Kvadrat Maharam|
|Lighting||Woodmark by Luxmy, Stylecraft, ELS, HGFS, Luxxbox, Euroluce, Koda|
|Workstations||Isatelliti from UniFor|
|Workstation task chairs||Gesture Task Chair in Liquorice from Cognet Connect|
|Reception furniture||CULT, Own World, Living Edge|
|Additional furniture||Jardan, Schiavello, HGFS, Stylecraft, Zenith, Designer Rugs|