Woods Bagot Studio

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  • 2018

  • Architectural Design
    Interior Design

Designed By:

  • Woods Bagot

Commissioned By:

Brookfield Properties

Designed In:

Australia

The iconic Palace Hotel has been transformed into a flexible and agile work environment that supports new modes of work through unallocated seating. The new studio provides freedom of movement and choice with an eclectic mix of hip hop aesthetics in a nod to its original function.


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  • We inherited a site that had a history of being held dear to the local community. Designing your own environment presents both a great opportunity to demonstrate what we believe in, but the anxiety of ‘getting it right’. Perth was the first studio to consider adopting agile working methodologies – a significant cultural challenge. Creating a 21st century workplace within the fabric of an 1890’s building relied on being overt in the contemporary installations that complemented rather than competed in a balanced juxtaposition. We wanted this opportunity to demonstrate the harmonious relationship between physical (space), behavior (culture) and virtual (technology).

  • Being our own client, we had a deep understanding of the aspirational and functional brief requirements. The opportunity lay in exploring new ideas, demonstrating our thought leadership, the blurring of lifestyle sector and using the workplace as a tool for cultural change. The project became a catalyst to challenge the status quo of what working, focus, meeting, collaboration and workshop spaces can be, using a mix of low fi, sophisticated and analogue technologies for a diverse experience in every space. Despite relocating into a similar size tenancy, the new workspace has a 60% growth strategy inherently built into it.

  • Free-seating desks, stand-up work settings, lounge areas and semi-enclosed meeting spaces introduce autonomy to the workspace; providing a place of convergence to socialise, meet, eat and unite. By embracing agility, the studio can accommodate 20% growth without change to the physical environment, through compression. Applying share ratios achieves another 20%. A rigorous growth strategy to the space planning enables manipulation of the existing environment by a further 20% growth. The provision of standing work bars, centralised waste and recycling bins and the choice of heritage stair over the lift, means people movement is promoted as part of the wellbeing strategy.

  • Respecting the original architecture through the restoration process ensured the history of the site remained. By responding to the heritage shell, the need to construct new spaces was minimised and the need for new materials reduced. Original timber floors, plaster mouldings and pressed metal ceilings in the heritage core were retained. The conservation and restoration of the original balcony doors, dressers, lounge chairs, ledgers and artefacts also help complement this preservation process. With specialist lighting throughout, it is a space that responds to the visual elements a human needs with zero uniformity. Workstations have shared dimmable integrated up/down task lighting, and individual task lamps. Purposeful application of ambient, accent and task lighting creates the right conditions for focus and teamwork, transition spaces and highlighting architectural features. Each space features unique plant life contributing to improved indoor air quality and happiness – satisfying the human need to connect with nature. Through investment in the right technology, agile working and laptops, we have reduced paper, and can connect with other studios globally from Perth, minimising our travel footprint.