Activity based work, office design breaks down communication barriers and stimulates productivity

Sydney property management firm Savills reflects leading edge thinking in work and staff culture in its office fit-out by Futurespace

The Savills offices hub next to reception includes ceiling, furniture, interior design, table, gray
The Savills offices hub next to reception includes a digital screen displaying the companys worldwide enterprises.

When visitors wander through Savills' new Sydney inner-city offices they experience an informal, unstructured environment that would be equally at home in a high-end hospitality venue.

The fit-out for the Australian offices of the global property management firm by interior and architecture design firm Futurespace is relaxed and welcoming. However, its look is informed by the latest best practices in modern office design.

Founder and director of Futurespace architect Stephen Minnett says people come to Savills to find the best solutions for their property needs, so the team had to design a contemporary workplace that would reflect and enhance this reputation.

"We did this in part by thinking about how the space can underpin the business through flexible and agile solutions essentially creating an activity based workplace that supports the employees."

The Savills Sydney office comprises a full floor with reception, open-plan work spaces and kitchen, with further work spaces on the half floor below.

Warm welcome soft tones, a warm-wood drop ceiling architecture, daylighting, furniture, interior design, lobby, office, gray, white
Warm welcome soft tones, a warm-wood drop ceiling and a variety of seating and standing options all blur the line between reception and workspaces in this visitor and staff friendly fit-out of Savills Sydney office by Futurespace.

Design director at Futurespace Gavin Harris says both floors are largely open-plan, with workdesks, high tables, stools and casual seating arrangements set up for a variety of work task needs. And, importantly, to be used by any staff members as specific work needs dictate.

"So, instead of Savills' employees thinking about my desk, or my office', this approach creates a team-based, egalitarian community, breaking down communication barriers and stimulating productivity.

Further to this relaxed, activity-based workplace approach, both floors have been stripped back to allow for ease of movement and to achieve a visibly connected workplace.

"We also introduced a large internal staircase, offering a strong visual link as well as a circulation link between floors," Harris says.

"Fluid staff movement was an important part of the design, in terms of collaboration, incidental exercise, and socialising. And the open spaces, broad corridors and large staircase facilitate this."

Drop and chat the activity based work layout chair, desk, furniture, interior design, office, product design, table, white
Drop and chat the activity based work layout at Savills includes plenty of opportunity for casual standing or perching meetings.

Every part of the design works hard to contribute to a multi-use environment. The large reception with views out to the Sydney Harbour Bridge is part of this and is located adjacent to a variety of conversational, desking and standing areas. All of these are designed so they can be swept to one side to create a large, dynamic town hall environment.

So there are no barriers within the office except a few dedicated meeting rooms, and in most cases the areas of use are subtly and simply indicated by dropped ceilings or even area carpet rugs. Both of these elements also help deaden noise and so bring a degree of privacy within the open-plan volumes.

Warm, reassuring tones on the carpets and wood ceilings are offset by groupings of colourful furniture, which can be swapped in or out to change the look. The eye-catching iridescent blue on the stairwell changes with the play of light highlighting this all-important social circulatory feature.

Credit list

Savills, Governor Phillip Tower, Sydney
Fit-out company and project engineer
Plasterboard and stud partitioning
Barben Architectural Hardware
Vescom Tonga wallcovering from Eurowalls; Pleat wallcovering from Kvadrat Maharam
Elton Group
Woodmark by Luxmy, Stylecraft, ELS, HGFS, Luxxbox, Euroluce, Koda
Workstation task chairs
Gesture Task Chair in Liquorice from Cognet Connect
Additional furniture
Jardan, Schiavello, HGFS, Stylecraft, Zenith, Designer Rugs
Interior design
Project engineer
Peter Hawkings, Futurespace
Window/door joinery
Interface, Tretford, Aspire Rock, Polyflor
Decor Systems
Dulux, Axolotl
Isatelliti from UniFor
Reception furniture
CULT, Own World, Living Edge

Story by: Charles Moxham

Photography by: Nicole England

07 Dec, 2017

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