Though they might have once been rigid, utilitarian and sparse environments, tech company HQ’s are today a source of much intrigue. After all, this is the industry which first brought us the ‘office slide‘.
While we’re not covering Silicon Valley just yet, one eye-catching example a little closer to home is the Yahoo7 offices in Sydney. Housing almost 200 staff across 2,000-square-metres, the interiors were completed in September last year, lead by international architecture/design/planning/consulting powerhouse Gensler.
The vision for the project was to create a more open environment that would drive more effective sharing of space, tools and ideas. ‘We conducted a visioning session with the client team and from that emerged a planning and design approach centred around the concept of “sharing” – sharing space, sharing stories, and sharing in (celebrating) success,’ explains lead interior designer on the project Anya McClelland.
The move to a new office at Australian Technology Park in Eveleigh also presented an opportunity for Yahoo7 to assess existing workplace practices, and to explore new ways of working to encourage community. Given the office’s long floorplan, Anya and her design team have incorporated several collaboration ‘neighbourhoods’, each defined by a distinctly vibrant colour signature.
The resulting zones include a mix of flexible seating and writing surfaces (spot the locally-made Dowel Jones: Bradley Hooper, Simon Says, and Hurdle lines!), and of course oodles of integrated AV, to foster team interaction and co-creation throughout the day. ‘The layout further ensures that an abundance of natural light reaches all corners of the space, and touches of greenery add a sense of freshness and calm,’ details Anya.
A highlight for the interior designer, along with the project’s design manager Tom Owens and project architect/sustainability specialist Nermine Zahran, was that they were able to exceed the Green Star target of the project, by using materials and finishes from the local market. In addition to sourcing Australian-made furniture, they reused many of their existing pieces. Initially aiming for 4 Star Green Star certification, the project received the 5 Star rating, in what was a first for New South Wales!
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‘Tailored to the needs and brand of the client,’ tells project lead Anya McClelland. ‘And a place employees are proud of.’