Remote Control

Technological advancements have undoubtedly changed the way we work. Now, as exemplified by Accenture Australia's new Brisbane premises, their influence over office design is growing ever stronger

floor plan of the Accenture Australia Office area, design, elevation, floor plan, land lot, line, mixed use, neighbourhood, plan, real estate, residential area, suburb, urban design, yellow, white
floor plan of the Accenture Australia Office

First impressions have always been a key consideration for designers planning office fit-outs hence the emphasis given to reception design. This is traditionally where a company can show its colours, its professionalism and its culture.

But changes are afoot. With the huge advances in communication technology, for some companies the need for a conventional reception area is reduced. This evolution in design is highlighted by the approach taken by peckvonhartel for the new Accenture Australia office interior. While the fit-out reinforces the professional and progressive nature of the company's management consulting and advisory business, it does away with two traditional features the receptionist and the reception desk.

peckvonhartel designer Rachel Luchetti says the interior was designed for a company that communicates with clients electronically, or meets with them on their own premises.

"A lot of the staff work remotely, and this is reflected in the design," she says. "The nominal reception area, for example, is actually the lift lobby. This is the meet-and-greet space, with a touch-screen computer that will automatically dial a staff extension as required."

The lift lobby reflects the company's corporate colours, which are mainly silver and white. The touch screen sits on a silver wall, midway between two glazed sections that feature a semi-translucent film coating.

"These floor-to-ceiling strips have an ethereal quality yet there is a shadowy glimpse of the working office beyond," says Luchetti. "The film also incorporates radiating lines that represent the flow and exchange of knowledge, while the fluidity of the panels are reminiscent of the body of information contained within."

view of the private meeting rooms, carpet flooring, ceiling, glass, interior design, office, public toilet, gray
view of the private meeting rooms, carpet flooring, frosted glass floor to ceiling glazing

A colourful, laminated patchwork panel is another highlight of the lobby. The colours reflect the corporate branding of Accenture's different departments, and are representative of the many varied aspects of the company's work.

Beyond the lobby there is an internal reception area for the company's Business Service Centre, which is manned by two permanent staff.

"This is behind a glass panel, and was established for the internal management of the company and the booking of meeting rooms, rather than external visitors," says Luchetti.

Not surprisingly, the internal office design also acknowledges the remote nature of the company's work, with a design that breaks down the traditional office hierarchy.

"The company used to operate within a more traditional work space, but it wasn't effective," says Luchetti. "Many workstations were crammed together, filling the available space, while other staff had large, allocated offices that were under utilised. In moving to these new premises in an office park near the river, the company took the opportunity to explore better ways of working."

As a consequence, there are hot-desking facilities for staff, and touch-down spaces where workers can come in for a short time and plug in their laptops to connect to servers.

view of the lobby to the new Accenture ceiling, floor, interior design, real estate, room, white
view of the lobby to the new Accenture Aurstalia office area

"The company has also embraced the hotelling system," says Luchetti. "Staff book meeting rooms and larger work spaces when they are needed, which is the most efficient use of resources."

Another concept adopted by the company is the Just-in-time (JIT) philosophy. Desks are grouped together as needed for teams working on specific projects.

"It's a very flexible working environment one that is also designed to promote staff interaction," says Luchetti. "In the company's former office, there were large workstations and high screens. Here, the workstations are more compact and the screens lower, which helps shift the focus away from a cubicle environment."

Luchetti says the design also allows more space for breakout areas, which are a significant feature of the new office. Facilities such as the boardroom and meeting rooms are centralised so they are more connected to the office environment. The arrangement means each space can be closed by operable doors, or opened for functions.

Large leather sofas and white tables and chairs enhance the cool, minimalist look of the staff breakout area. As throughout the fit-out, company colours have been incorporated, with inset carpets helping to define the different seating areas. These feature directional line markings, again reminiscent of the flow of information between the company and its clients.

Credit list

designer Rachel Luchetti, peckvonhartel (Sydney)
fit-out Alliance Interiors
Operable walls
Spatial Concepts
Barcode from Godfrey Hirst
Feature lighting
Light 2
Office chairs
Conference chairs
Leisure pad chair from Furniture Classics
Just-in-time desking
Freeway from Stylecraft
Strata from King Furniture
Stools in breakout area
Bombo from ECC Living
engineer Norman Disney & Young
B&C Shopfitters
Classic Ceramics
wallpaper Maharam
Haworth Xone
Custom made by Fuse Furniture
Meeting room chairs
Hoop Parri from Stylecraft
Just-in-time chairs
Light from Chairbiz
Chairs in breakout area
Atlanta from Café Culture
Graphic design
Etc Graphic Design

Story by: Trendsideas

22 Dec, 2006