Well Connected

The comprehensive fit-out for the new Perth headquarters of a national construction company reflects interior design values of interaction, engagement and connectivity.

Casual social interactions between staff and a high level of transparency to clients have become important concepts in contemporary office design. A central circulation element is one way forward.

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When national property group Charter Hall first began the development of WorkZone, on the fringe of the Perth CBD, Hassell was asked to undertake the interiors, says interior designer David Rey. The construction company that delivered WorkZone was Broad Construction Services. Relocating any multifaceted company to a single address brings the opportunity to use the building form and interior design to actively promote teamwork, says Rey.

“A key objective of this project was to celebrate the potential of enhanced people and client engagement. In addition, we wanted the interiors to have a high level of transparency and to achieve a 5 Star Green Star rating. “This was an integrated fit-out and we worked with the building architect, Fitzpatrick+Partners, to tweak the plans before construction got under way,” says Rey. Changes included removing internal walls at ground level so visitors to reception could look across and through adjacent hubs and informal spaces – setting up the feeling of openness that continues on the floors above.

Another change was the introduction of a wide staircase void to connect ground floor through to top floor of the building. This central element provides vertical vistas from one level through to the next, encouraging staff movement between floors.The resulting connectivity promotes the office as one facility, rather than as a set of separate floors. Glass elevators add to the open aesthetic, while setting services towards the core and the choice of low desking ensure views right across each floor.

Building on the idea of connection, social hubs,serving casual drinks and cold food, are located beside the stairwell and there are also informal meeting zones in the same proximity. The hubs on each floor have their own individual aesthetic and also act as wayfinders in a building where the interiors floor-to-floor look quite similar.

With the reception and building services at ground level, floors one to five are a combination of open-plan desking, executive and managerial offices, and meeting rooms. The sixth floor is intended for client engagement, with meeting rooms, executive spaces and training facilities. All three training rooms have operable walls that pull back to create one large event space.

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The other side of this level is for staff socialisation and dining facilities. All hot food and dining options for staff are on this top level, encouraging staff to gravitate towards this space, says the designer.“The decor also facilitates individual disciplines coming together.

A motif of joining and interlocking runs through the offices, seen for example as the geometric forms on the conference rooms – much like a 3D puzzle – and in the plank composition of the joinery on all levels.” Repeating the blade ceilings and a consistent use of eco-friendly eucalyptus veneer add to the sense of connection between floors.

To achieve the coveted 5 Star Green Star rating, Hassell addressed everything from indoor light quality – including setting workspaces to the perimeter – to specifying low-VOC surfaces. In addition, a high material efficiency was achieved, in part by constructing most joinery off site. Other green aspects are super-efficient chilled beam air conditioning, energy-efficient whitegoods, low-flow tapware and the designer’s choice of Geca-accredited furniture.

WorkZone, Perth

Developer: Charter Hall

Architects: Fitzpatrick+Partners

Interior designer: Hassell, Perth

Construction company: Broad Construction Services

Mechanical and electrical engineer: Aecom and Norman, Disney & Young

Quantity surveyor: Turner & Townsend

Fire consultant: Wood & Grieve Engineers

Window and door joinery: Sapphire Aluminium Wideline System

Hardware: Madinoz door handles, Raven door seals

Blinds: Originals 982 by Verosol, Mikor blind pelmet

Tiling: Classic Roman Vein cut travertine from Attica Stone

Flooring: Striation and Monochrome carpet tile from Interface Floor

Ceiling: Slot decorative acoustic ceiling panels and timber slatted ceiling, both by Ultraflex

Veneers: Eucalyptus veneer on all joinery, from George Fethers & Co

Paints: Dulux

Lighting: Thorn, Tom Dixon, Halo, Zumtobel, Luma Lighting

Workstations: Custom desks by Zenith Interiors; storage by Castledex

Office chairs: Scope task chair by Burgtec

Furniture: Style Craft, Table & Chair, Living Edge, Design Farm, Zenith

Kitchen equipment: Fisher & Paykel, Smeg, Clark, Simply Stainless

Story by Charles Moxham. Photography by Robert Frith.

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