Making Melbourne’s laneway culture a part of workspace design
Melbourne’s laneway culture is potentially moving from the city’s streets into its commercial office spaces. Earlier this year German investment company, Deka Immobilien, unveiled a display suite in its William Street tower that draws on Melbourne’s laneway and café culture, and the rise of flexible working models.
Deka Immobilien engaged Melbourne hospitality designer studio, Technē Architecture and Interior Design, along with workplace expert, Schiavello, to create a 700-square metre office on the seventh level of the 20-storey building to demonstrate workplace possibilities.
The tower, which is managed by CBRE, sits in the William and Collins Street junction near The Rialto Towers and other landmark Melbourne buildings.
Technē used its experience across the hospitality sector to compose a space that fosters collaboration between employees and supports varying work models.
Team leader and senior associate Gabriella Gulacsi tells Facility Management that while commercial and hospitality design may seem worlds apart, similar concepts should be used to enhance human experience within the space.
“The suite is around Melbourne’s laneways, so we looked at the key attributes of the laneways in the city,” Gulacsi says.
“There is a direct reference in terms of the laneway graffiti and we have also looked at the steel mesh (of the laneways) – it was about looking at those direct references and bringing them together in a workspace.
“When you look into this space you do forget that you are in a commercial building tower because of a lot of the creative spaces – the ceilings are removed, there are higher volumes of working spaces and there is exposure to polished concrete floors.”
As workplaces are evolving to be more flexible and collaborative, Gulacsi says the commercial design must also evolve to allow people to connect in the same way.
Technē’s design in the Williams Street tower has created an office that encourages all work models. Schiavello’s work settings provide the user with a choice of where and how they can work, supporting fluidity of movement with the placement of wireless devices.
The design draws on accents that are inherently Melbourne, according to Technē.
A refined industrial aesthetic was created for the south side to appeal to a corporate tenant. The north side reflects the needs of a creative tenant, maintaining the laneways aesthetic with underpinning workplace design principles of acoustic comfort, a choice of work settings, and spaces to aid concentration and foster collaboration.
Gulacsi says the overall design also takes into account the green elements of the office building and the use of technology that will accommodate the work model that is required.
“It has been designed as a creative space, but more so as an organic, fluid workspace. One side [of the workspace] might have more of a corporate feel for an accounts team or a law team – so we go back to linear workstations – but the other side would be where people want to work in an agile environment,” Gulacsi explains.
Vertical gardens and planter boxes provide respite, while murals by Dan Wenn of 90 Degrees Graffiti bring Melbourne’s laneways into the office space, adding to the industrial aesthetic and providing further depth of colour to the red brickwork.
Other design features include:
- Climate–a malleable workstation solution for the creative area, enables organisations, teams and individuals to shape the work environment to suit their specific needs and remould it when needs change.
- Visually shielded, Focus booths,Kayt Village Nook and Kayt Quiet are both a room within a room concept, enabling privacy as they help absorb disruptive sounds of the surrounding environment, whether working individually or in a team of two.
- Krossi workstations located within the creative and corporate areas enable sit to stand modules to be dispersed across the landscape. The users are presented with a high- performance task chair ‘Diffrient World’ which is intuitive and user-friendly.