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Moving from a fragmented office environment, this IT company has rationalised its work space to better reflect its internal culture and its approach to business


Companies that expand rapidly in their first few years of operation often find their office space also grows, but it can be haphazard. Additional floor space is leased as needed, resulting in a fragmented and inefficient work environment that doesn't meet staff needs.

Faced with such a problem, IT company Keycorp commissioned HBO + EMTB to design the fitout for the company's new premises. Designer Roberta Cooke says Keycorp's existing premises were spread over a series of whole and half floor plates, and had become inefficient and fragmented over time.

"Our company's brief identified that the space could be rationalised and reduced from 3500m2 to about 2500m2 through the adoption of new workplace practices," she says.

Jennifer Shaddock, Keycorp facilities manager, says the company was keen to engender a cultural change with the move to an open-plan office.

"It was important to provide an environment where staff could share ideas and work together as a team," she says. "We also wanted to introduce lots of colour, with a focus on corporate branding. This was a way to provide a greater sense of who we are. Colour also creates a more vibrant, fun work environment, which in turn generates more energy."


The bright colours, the illuminated images and the graphics have been taken from Keycorp's marketing brochures. The company specialises in the provision of secure electronic funds transfer solutions and the graphics featuring terminals and numbers reinforce this identity.

HBO + EMTB managing director Kevin Fitzgerald says the sandblasted graphics on glass partitions provide a more sophisticated look for the reception area. Here, also, the circle motif on the flooring first appears – defining the visitor seating area. Bright circles also help to break up the flooring in the main offices and serve as way-finding devices, he says.

Meeting rooms of various sizes, breakout rooms, storage and utility areas are centralised in the core of each floor.

"This added greatly to the planning efficiency and allowed the economy of space to be achieved," says Fitzgerald.

Workstations are positioned on the perimeter of the floors to take advantage of the natural light and views. In keeping with the open, consultative nature of the company, senior staff members also work in the open-plan environment.

A staff café provides further opportunity for informal interaction. Operable doors allow the café and boardroom to be linked for entertaining purposes.

First published date: 23 March 2004

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Credit List

Location Keycorp Tower, Level 4 and 5 (Sydney)
Design team HBO + EMTB (NSW)
Main contractor Avnir Group
Flooring Building Block and Colour Box carpet tiles from Interface; vinyl from Amtico and Forbo
Paints Dulux; Bristol
Blinds Hugh Meagher & Associates
Reception armchairs Plus from Formway Furniture Australia
Reception coffee table Eeni from Corporate Culture
Reception and breakout area joinery Corian
Colour-back glass Grosvenor; Graphic Glazing
Bar stools Basil & Evans from Interstudio
Workstations Neo Workstation System from Desking Systems
Workstation screen fabric Woven Image
Workstation tops Laminex laminate
Boardroom chairs Zenith from Camatic Seating
Boardroom table Confair in Macassar Ebony from Wilkhahn Asia Pacific