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letter from the editor issue 49, 2012

We are rapidly approaching the 50th edition of Indesign, which adds up to about 13 years of publication. In that time, the core mission of Indesign magazine – although, as I constantly need to remind people, by no means the only preoccupation – has been to showcase and analyse the very best work places. Effectively, this has meant that we have tracked the most innovative era ever in Australian workplace design. This amounts to just over a decade (since BVN’s MLC North Sydney Campus in 2000). In this time, Australia has been at the leading edge of workplace innovation – if not leading the way, then certainly up there with international best practice. The period since 2000 really has seen a revolution in the way we work. It may not be a revolution which has yet penetrated the entire economy, but it has been one led by some very high profile companies, some of them (such as banks) not the kinds of organisations we would naturally think of as embracing transparency, flexibility, workplace autonomy and wireless and paperless environments. It has also taken some time for people to realise that this is not just another fashion, but a fundamental change in approach. For example, it is not about a choice between open plan and an enclosed office, but about what best facilitates the processes and objectives of a particular organisation. It is about getting away from the one-size-fits-all approach, and embracing an inside-out, customised solution. Likewise, Activity Based Working (ABW) is not just another form of hot desking, as some people mistakenly believe. And, despite its surging popularity, it may not be for everyone. But its core principles will inform the way everyone works in the future – workplace design driven by the variety of tasks which staff carry out every day, by the diverse kinds of people who work there and their individual ways of working, by a recognition of the importance of creativity in achieving competitive advantage, by acknowledging the need to attract and retain the very best staff and, most significantly, by embracing the potential of the new wireless technology. This is a revolution which has implications for the whole future of cities. So, in this issue we take an in-depth look at Commonwealth Bank Place (page 70), which, like the ANZ headquarters in Melbourne (Indesign #43), is in every sense an integrated project. It is as much concerned with its place in the fabric of the city as it is with own internal operations. paul mcgillick – editor Above Editor, Paul McGillick with Deputy Editor, Mandi Keighran

In discussion the key players IN THE commonwealth bank place project TALK ABOUT THEIR INNOVATION AND VISION Davenport Campbell was brought on for the Commonwealth Bank Place project by E.G.O. Group, and the two worked collaboratively on the workplace interiors. Director, Neill Johanson, talks to Paul McGillick about their approach.


his building is actually the end game for an accommodation strategy that the CBA has had in place for about seven years, which is all about how to use their property more effectively and how to line up operations and culture with their buildings so that they all, basically, hum. The initial brief was really to follow well established workplace principles and to accomodate as many people as we could into as few buildings as possible. We commenced a process of designing and documenting Commonwealth Bank Place based on similar lines to Olympic Park. Everybody had a seat. We had gone a long way in the process of documenting a 55,000m2 job, basically to tender stage. Then came the visits to Interpolis and Microsoft and the discovery of ABW Initially, the idea of not owning a desk was confronting. But, at Microsoft’s head office at Schipol it all fell into place. If you take away the concerns around ‘I don’t own a desk’ and look at the benefits of this kind of environment, it all makes sense. Microsoft wanted to re energise and realise efficiencies and productivity gains, which CBA was also interested in.

Richard Francis Jones led the FJMT team for the design of the base buildings. Here he talks with Philip Drew about the process.


he project was collaborative in nature, with a dedicated team of designers working closely with the development and construction team at Lend Lease and also the team at the Sydney Harbour Foreshore Authority. A key challenge was how to place a large office building adjacent to one of Sydney’s most loved parks. Our approach was to develop a building which, through its geometry, its form and its materials had a soft presence that could give definition to the open space, while also creating connections back into the city. The building is about the same size as a medium office building tower laid on its side and moulded into a form that de fines streets, open spaces, and parkland. You can move out of the building into the public domain, get a coffee, meet infor mally. You are in a pedestrian precinct, in a true campus environment. We lifted the forms in order to be able to develop the ground plane as a series of

defined open spaces. People move into the building through relatively modest lobbies up escalators and arrive at the floor of the atrium. Using the two different heights of the building forms we created the sweeping canopy that joins them, allowing sun light in in an asymmetric way. The roof is a series of vaults having leaf like timber forms which introduce daylight in a very controlled way, adding life and character. Our strategy for the building was to create an architectural form comprised of pairs of linear work platforms with generous natural light and access to views. Each pair of these work platforms is connected via a central collaboration atrium which allows natural light to pen etrate deep into the floors. These separate but connected work space volumes allow the scaling of the interior spaces into manageable and flex ible spaces, and were integral to creating an architectural form that could create

For CBA, the main reason for ABW was to shift the culture of the organisa tion. It was about CBA wanting to pres ent as a market leader, the employer of choice, attracting fantastic people and keeping them, of creating a culture of self leadership and trust. All those val ues are reinforced and communicated in a positive way through this kind of envi ronment, much more effectively than we could have in a conventional, static one. With ongoing positive feedback from a pilot site, we continued to spend time researching the technology aspect of ABW. If you’re going to say you don’t own a seat, you’ve got to be able to provide people with places to sit to suit different activities. Veldhoen became involved and helped us determine that. It is not a case of saying you can turn up to work and sit wherever you like. We developed a home zone concept, so people belong to a particular area and business groups. Then we worked through the metrics to determine how big those home zones should be. We continued getting feed back from the pilot, whilst engaging with the various business groups until the project had been fully developed.

a transition from the central city to park edge. The lower curved forms to the park relate to the human scale of these spaces and height of the tree canopy, while the built form to Harbour Street is more elevated, rising towards the city. This concept was developed by using a differ ent material quality to face the park; high transparency glass and a veil of timber louvres to filter and control the daylight. The predominant material in this project is natural timber. Through the contemporary detailed expression of this eternal and sustainable material the architecture is given warmth and a life.

The E.G.O. Group design team, Robert Gazzola, Karen Plant and Carlo Poli talk about leading the design of the interiors.


.G.O. Group embarked on establishing the design process necessary for ABW’s practical adaption within the workplace of CBA. Customisation is essential as ABW dis cards conventional models of reference and all areas of expertise are inherently meshed together. This research devel oped an approach which became known as ‘CBA unplugged’. This provided us with a canvas on which to implement our creative, almost theatrical approach to workplace design within the context of pure functional ity. Essential to achieving a stimulating, collaborative environment is the amal gamation of technology with design innovation. The project motto ‘space is ours to share, not mine to own’ com bined with modern wireless technology indulged us with free space. Thus, space became organic and free form. This allowed us to create visually exciting spaces with energising use of colour and textures. The spaces are flexible, dynamic and stimulating and above all functional. We analysed the activities carried out every day to de sign furniture concepts and prototypes that functionally support these actions. Each ‘club house’ provides a dynamic arrangement of sculptural furniture with a stimulating and exciting kaleido scope of colours, textures and forms. The philosophy of ABW complements our commitment to sustainable design. It is the largest reducer of the corporate carbon footprint because of the reduced build and associated energy savings. The flexibility inherent to ABW minimises churn, giving the fit out longevity. We worked collaboratively with Green Star consultants to ensure a rating of 6. In achieving this nothing was exempt. This rating recognises Commonwealth Bank Place as a World Leader in sustainable and environmental performance.


Lend Lease were developer and project manager for the project. Here, Rod McCoy, Executive Project Manager, Strategic Projects, Commercial Project Management & Construction, Stephen Brookes, Project Director, Development, and Bernadette Keating, Senior Project Manager, talk about their role.


ver a period of ten years we went from solving a single floor for the CBA to solving how you work in a whole building. We went on this huge, fantastic journey with them as they grew in sophistica tion about their workplace. What we brought to the table is what we call ‘the glue’ we brought everyone together. To try to make the right deci sions at the right time, and to make sure that the decisions being made were to the brief and the expectations of the Bank. For us it is exciting to know that we were integral to getting it there and mak ing sure it worked and that the detailing is consistent with the base building. It actually got there on time and on budget. It was all about facilitating that process. The pivotal thing was that we were half way through when Jennifer Saiz said “We haven’t solved mobility yet”, because we had just started designing it as a static design, a standard workplace, working off the same template that we had established at Olympic Park. When we decided we needed to look into this quickly, the Lend Lease global network was pivotal in organising the

tour. We were on the phone to London saying “What’s the hottest and greatest things out there?”. Being able to get into buildings that you would not normally get into was important. One of the key things to come out of the trip was not see ing what worked, but what didn’t work. Darling Quarter is on public land owned by the Sydney Harbour Fore shore Authority. So, it was important that we created a successful public realm, which is why we spent as much time on the playground and the retail interface as we did on the buildings. We were concerned about the poten tial for being seen as big greedy develop ers pushing the city into public space. The design of the two buildings was gauged against that. On one side, where it faces the public domain, it has been crafted to respect the playground and bring a softer element, with a low scaled timber awning. On the CBD side, it is all glass and aluminium. The brief to FJMT required a building that changed scale and came down to Tumbalong Park and built up to the city skyline behind it. Lend Lease was keen to actuate the playground. We thought it would be a great idea to provide a water zone that becomes a piece of play equipment for children. There is a view in Europe that is starting to be accepted in Australia that removing risk from playgrounds deprives children of the opportunity to learn about risk and risk taking. The wa ter play area is unique and is less about risk than it is about interaction. They can create pools and dams, divert the water flows in a safe environment. Our aim with the project was to make Darling Quarter a magical precinct.

Jennifer Saiz, Head 0f Property Strategy and Delivery for the Commonwealth Bank of Australia, talks to Paul McGillick about the importance of change management in adopting Activity Based Working.


e hadn’t known about Activity Based Working at the time Sydney Olympic Park occurred and from a technology perspective we would not have been able to support it. But with each building we continued to evolve and improve on our operating model. The original design we had on the table was an improvement on Sydney Olympic Park. But it wasn’t a steep change and we wanted to test the global environment to see: Are organisa tions doing anything better? Can we optimise our workplaces and our work environments through that? Then we went overseas and went to Interpolis, met Veldhoen + Company and discovered ABW. They unpacked the concept for us. We also saw examples of ABW in the Netherlands. We came back to Australia and did a pilot for over 200 people at 48 Martin Place applying those concepts. It was a huge success with 95% of the people saying they wouldn’t want to go back to the old way of working. With that endorsement and the endorse ments of the leaders of the businesses that were moving into the building we made the decision to proceed with ABW. For us this was a significant change program, so we had the head of HR and Change within one of our business groups, Anna Sparkes, lead that. We had a focussed and detailed change man agement program for each one of our businesses. That covered things such as: What are the appropriate leadership

behaviours from our leaders who were going to have to focus on outcomes instead of the presence of other people. You needed to have a sense of trust and teamwork for working in this way. There was also change management in terms of an individual working here who is not a leader. How are they going to work here? What does this mean to me as a member of a team? So, there was a series of learning modules, training and activities that would unpack this for people and make it real before they moved into the building. From a change management point of view the technology is a significant shift. There was a lot of training on moving to a laptop that has soft phone and video phone features, moving much more to an electronic means of sharing informa tion. That was also a big portion of our change management. Reinforcement is also a significant part of our program and it doesn’t have an ending. It’s constantly reinforcing what the appropriate leadership behav iours are. When people move here, the first three months are just getting used to it. We have engagement sessions with our businesses in a joint form so that people can learn from each other, but also challenge each other. It is a case of: ‘OK, we’re doing that well, what’s the next thing? Where else can I stretch my self? What am I not comfortable with? What can I focus on?’ So, those open forums are actually quite helpful.


portfolioindesign 107

words Paul McGillick photography Christopher Frederick Jones architect Geyer location Brisbane | AUS Project Rio Tinto Brisbane Regional Centre

Community Building Geyer’s fit-out for Rio Tinto’s Brisbane Regional Centre is all about making connections io Tinto is one of Australia’s biggest mining companies, but its operations in Brisbane had been spread over six locations, and lacked a single, signature building that could embody the brand and clearly position the company as part of the wider community. This building at 123 Albert Street in Brisbane’s CBD proved to be the solution. It offers Rio Tinto roughly 31,000m2 (from a building total of 38,000m 2) enabling it to consolidate a significant majority of its loca tions into the Rio Tinto Brisbane Regional Centre. An additional two buildings will house the remaining Rio Tinto teams, in close proximity to 123 Albert Street. Although not the sole tenant, Rio Tinto occupies all but six floors of the building, accommodating a large part of their 2,500 Brisbane employees. It also has naming rights with a branded foyer and concierge desk at street level, establishing a clear public identity for the company. The foyer and concierge plus state of the art check in and site induction facilitate an easy transition as people make their way to visitor floors Level 2, used predominately for smaller meetings with


super market

Landini associates have been given free rein to turn a Canadian icon into a world-class superstore

Previous Pages

The dramatic lit staircase Right The ‘town square’ features curvaceous custom seating and Iron Bark timber cladding Below The ground floor is open 24 hours a day Bottom Natural light increases the feeling of being outside

pread over three levels, the Giblin Eunson Library was previously a series of classrooms and computer laboratories for Melbourne University students. Now a combined library for the university’s Business and Economics Faculty and the Graduate School of Education, the spaces around 5,000m2 , or half the building have been completely opened up by HASSELL. “Libraries are no longer simply depositories for books,” says Scott Walker, Head of Interiors for HASSELL. “The active spaces are as important as the more enclosed nooks. Libraries are now places where students collaborate.” Although HASSELL did not alter the base building designed six years ago by architects Metier 3 they did create a new lobby with a double height volume. From the point of entry, it is clear this is not a traditional library. Instead of the usual reception/loans desk at ground level, there are two organically shaped tables, with staff perched on bench seats. The signage, reading ‘Help Desk’, attracts students seeking assistance. “We approached the design as being somewhere between a club, a workspace and a library,” says Walker. “There’s also an element of the hospitality industry coming through in our design.” Although there is not a strict hierarchy to the layout of the Giblin Eunson Library, there are degrees of public and private spaces. For example, the ground floor can be accessed by students 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and has, says Walker, been designed to take traffic. Included on this level are training rooms, as well as high backed lounges from Vitra. Also at ground level are the reserve bookshelves, with study nooks dispersed in between. “We were mindful of security, particularly as this area is open all night,” says Walker. “There had to be a level of transparency throughout each floor.” The library building’s first floor offers another opportunity for students to meet informally. At the top of the stairs, framed by red Iron Bark timber walls and ceiling, is a whimsical seating arrangement. Custom designed by HASSELL, the curvaceous tiered seating is referred to by Walker as a ‘town square’. “It is not dissimilar to a traditional outdoor amphitheatre where students congregate,” he says. In addition, the sense of the outdoors has been accentuated here through the use of planter boxes, complete with grow lights to ensure healthy plants.


“ It is definitely a place for learning but in a much broader context” Scott Walker, HASSELL

Creative An old uniform factory in Berlin has been adopted by a creative

Previous Page Marc

Newson in Sydney

Below Pentax ‘K-01’ (2012) Bottom ‘Endless Rainbow’

logo for Sydney’s 2011-12 New Year’s Eve celebrations Opposite Top ‘Kyoto’ for Dom Perignon (2012) Lower Right ‘Spaceplane’ (2007) Photo: Richard Harbas

rowing up in Sydney during the 1970s, Marc Newson wasn’t interested in being a designer. “I didn’t even know the word ‘design’ existed when I was growing up,” he says. Instead, he wanted to be “all the boring things, like being an astronaut”. While he might not have achieved that dream, he got somewhat close when he designed the Astrium ‘Spaceplane’ in 2007. It’s just one of the myriad projects in Newson’s vastly diverse portfolio. Today, as Australia’s biggest design export, Newson hardly needs introduction. Ever since designing the curvaceous, metal plated ‘Lockheed Lounge’ in 1986 while still a student at Sydney College of the Arts, he has been part of the Australian design lexicon. Newson believes that design as an occupation is still evolving which means that for the entrepreneurial designer there are no limits to what he can design. His talents have been applied to an array of projects across


a variety of disciplines from furniture and household accessories to boats and rockets. Most recently, he has launched a new camera for Pentax and a cast iron champagne cooler for Dom Perignon. In addition, he has founded several successful companies, including an aerospace design consultancy. It is testament to the longevity and growing popularity of his work that the ‘Lockheed Lounge’, one of the first pieces he designed, has set three consecutive world records at auction. His achievements were recognised earlier this year when he was awarded a CBE (Commander of the Order of the British Empire) in the Queen’s New Year’s Honours list. Despite leaving Australia in 1987 for Tokyo, followed by Paris and London where he is now based Newson remains influenced by his home country. “I simply wouldn’t be me if I hadn’t grown up in Australia,” he says. He means this not in a nationalistic sense and gets frustrated when

Previous The NAB

immersion lab set up as a domestic environment

Clockwise from Left

Colourul environmental graphics in the centre; The centre is set up to inspire creative thought and activity; The NAB immersion lab set up as a commercial enviornment; The centre mimics a number of real world environments; The immersion lab – here set up as a train station –allows full immersion in an environment, facilitating creative thinking

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All in the Process?

In the competitive retail arena there is an awareness by some businesses of the need to differentiate themselves in the market by providing a richer experience for customers. This demands a solution beyond competition for projects based around percentage of built cost, says Michael Trudgeon, director of Crowd Productions, a trans disciplinary archi tecture and design firm with a special interest in the impact of technology and its ability to change what space can deliver and how it can be experienced. In the financial services sector in particular, the contemporary customer is very focussed on autonomy, control and wanting to be able to quickly get the service or experience that they need. It was the experimental method designed to test change pitched by Crowd Productions that secured them a project to create a new footprint and operational model for NAB branches in 2006. Responding to the client’s aspira tion for revolutionary change, an off line prototype bank was built to trial new space planning, technology and processes with the aim of transforming the banking experience. Testament to NAB’s appetite for innovation was another call to Crowd Productions in 2010. Embarking on the next generation of the bank, NAB wanted a flexible space for prototyping and testing designs for new products, services and spatial engagement across their myriad interfaces with customers. Discussions identified the kinds of problems the client wanted to solve. Crowd Productions’ ensuing design of

the NAB User Experience Prototyping Lab within NAB’s Docklands offices is an architecturally modest fit out of seven zones, both real and virtual, that comprises: entry, central access, out door area, plenary, an immersion lab, break out, and prototyping spaces. Distinguishing the immersion lab is the careful selection of new technology solutions and the fusion of those tech nologies. What is in essence a corporate theatre lab, affords NAB the capability to experiment with new processes in an immersive environment that is easily re arranged to stimulate the creative thinking needed to address all conceiv able real world design challenges. The idea is for brainstorming to occur while physically immersed in the environ ment that NAB will operate in. This facilitates ‘bodystorming’, which takes the mapping of creative ideas (brain storming) into an actual environment, explains Trudgeon. Bodystorming is associated with the automotive and aviation industries and organisations such as NASA. As far as Crowd Productions can establish, their use of this technique as an architectural practice appears to be unique. Under scoring the NAB immersion lab is the concept “that if you test or develop the design of a product as though you are in the real end user environment it will change your ability to design it well.” The NAB User Experience Prototyp ing Lab, he says “draws together the concerns of the market led expectation for product innovation, the challenge of designing new products and services around the significance of the user experience and the singular effective ness of prototyping to test and develop new products and services in a way that maximises learning from the design process while managing the risks.” The groundbreaking solution allows the client to investigate how different end users in various environments might use any NAB product, service or technology in a simulated setting. A screen to one end of the lab projects images to create an array of virtual

environments complete with sound and props. For example, the effectiveness of new mobile phone banking applications can be assessed in a mocked up subur ban home or an ATM interface can be fine tuned pre build. After working with clients in a “de signer as dramaturg” capacity for years, the culmination of Crowd Productions’ knowledge of cinema, retail and theatre empowers NAB with the tools to play that role. Just as the dramaturg studies the script and works with the director and the actors to find the most powerful and coherent outcome, Trudgeon advocates this as a powerful model for designers to solve problems and challenge conventions. “If our job is not simply to dress up the outcome, but in fact to ask the right questions,” says Trudgeon, “that’s turning us into dra maturgs, not set decorators at the end.” Crowd Productions have spent much time researching how designers can create tools that embed design into all aspects of a business to shift design to the centre of a client’s business strategy rather than it being the last thought. “As architects and designers, we’ve become very interested in the use of environ ments and bodystorming, like theatre improvisation, to allow people to be far more experimental and inventive in how they think of new processes or new opportunities for their businesses.” According to Trudgeon, as more sophisticated end users expect design aesthetic to be a given, the future of design will be defined by process not form. Projects like this are ushering in an era where the consumer’s experi ence, not the product, has become the subject of the designer’s problem.

Marg Hearn is a Melbourne based freelance writer. Crowd Productions (61 3) 9663 8375 crowd com au

Photo: C ou r te s y of Dom i n ic E me schajmer

de Sade table ser ies available at

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Indesign 49 preview  

We are rapidly approaching the 50th edition of Indesign, which adds up to about 13 years of publication. In that time, the core mission of I...

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