Basking in panoramic views of Richmond, in the notable heritage icon, the Australian Knitting Mill, Thinkerbell HQ is housed. A unique fit-out, delivery was in collaboration with the tenants, Thinkerbell creative agency. Enhanced with quirky installations, the new office injects colour and life into the heritage building.
Thinkerbell was designed and driven by the notion of ‘Measured Magic’ – a combination of scientific enquiry and hardcore creativity. Finding a balance between celebrating original details like the spotted gum timber floors, and integrating Thinkerbell’s corporate colours of hot pink and acid green has been the ultimate challenge and has contributed to the unique design outcome. Capitalising on the natural sunlight bathing the office throughout the day, the design was centred around an open, functional and whimsical fit-out, so another challenge was the structural limitations of the heritage building, achieving integration of column elements proved to tricky but not impossible.
The Thinkerbell office is imbued with elements of its own collaborative ethos. Outside of providing a variety of workspaces, the design integrates the social and cultural aspect of the company into the floorplan, creating moments which encourage productivity and social interaction. Brainstorming booths are seemingly suspended from the ceiling, a faceted mirror wall creates an optical illusion and custom decal graphics identify spaces pictorially. All of these eclectic, yet curated design decisions are housed within a heritage space, utilising its inherent passive design elements capitalising on the thermal mass and enhancing cross ventilation, creating a healthier building and workplace.
The Thinkerbell HQ design embraces the culture of the company; integrating quirky splashes of colour and spaces that encourage social interaction and collaboration. The customised brainstorming booths and open plan kitchen / bar area, elements that have drawn inspiration from the company culture to craft a space which fosters openness and engagement and supports those relationships the team has built. Beyond this, the design maximises on the benefits of a heritage building, utilising the natural light and thermal mass of the building, an adaptive re-use of a special and historical space, paying tribute to its origins through the design.
There are several key features that stand out as part of Thinkerbells’ quirky brief, making this project truly unique. The vast reception desk turned kitchen/bar benchtop formed in hot pink resin by artist Tina Alesi supports the companys’ existing, dynamic and friendly social culture where the team regularly get together and hang out. The reception is located at the end closest to the entry and then the rest of the bench space plays host to daily team lunches but also special celebrations and casual meetings. Another key focal point is the colourful wool installation by Peter King Studio suspended in the entry and through the main spine lined with the (ironic) ‘office grey’ carpet. The branding references have also been cleverly devised and incorporated in various ways, one of which being the brave utility of their company colours in large block areas, the use of decals and graphic lights including a neon light in the form of their logo (an amalgamation of ‘The Thinker’ by Augustine Rodin and Peter pan story character fairy ‘Tinkerbell’). These features all contribute to the uber creative vibe of the workplace.