Finding potential in the impossible.
“Given the limited supply of space in the CBD of Sydney, tenants can’t afford to wait to secure their ideal office spaces so they are starting to create their own instead. Axiom is an example of those who have taken on the fitout themselves to create a workspace to their own standards.”
– Dean Bracken, Colliers International
As one of central Sydney’s older hi-rise buildings, but without any heritage appeal, 6 O’Connell Street was considered a B-grade space, offering tenants very little in terms of design and modernity. Yet, with unfettered views of Sydney’s iconic Harbour Bridge, the building’s location is one of the best in the world, which simply cannot be ignored.
The uninspiring interiors of 6 O’Connell Street did not deter Axiom. As a progressive workplace transformation company, the team saw this building as a blank slate that opened up a plethora of possibilities for creating a work environment in Axiom’s own vision – to walk the talk, as the saying goes.
Axiom was eager to use this move to showcase the company’s approach to workplace design. The fitout would act as a functional example of the more futuristic elements of office transformation that are now implementable and available internationally, as well as demonstrating to clients what can be realistically achieved, even within restrictions.
As Shane Hales, Managing Director of Axiom, admits, “Similar to our clients, moving office was a huge undertaking for us and we wanted to seize every opportunity that a move like this presented. This meant not only walking in the shoes of our clients and solving their problems via our own experiences but also putting into practice the kind of workplace transformation that we can proudly say is ours.”
The three tenets of brand, wellness/wellbeing and the attraction/retention of staff are fundamental to today’s workplaces. Accordingly, the implementation of design features that honour these motivating tenets underpin every aspect of Axiom’s fitout at the new O’Connell Street headquarters.
The new Axiom brand was launched simultaneously as the new office, revealing a compass motif that visually and directionally reflects Axiom’s positioning as ‘change navigators’. Consequently, the updated office fitout physically emulates a compass in its structure and in the way that ‘people traffic’ flows around the floor. Circles feature prominently in the design – even the incorporation of a gong – with a Hub and Virtual Reality Display as the anchor in the centre of this compass.
Other design embellishments include exposed ceilings, concrete treated flooring and terracotta plant boxes that frame entrances and windows and sit overhead, as a way of introducing a soothing aspect of green into the work environment without causing any obstruction.
The Hub is an enclosed workspace that offers seclusion and integrated technology solutions for collaboration but sits at the very centre of the Axiom ‘compass’. A touch screen desk allows for the placing of multiple ideas and can also send images to the screen on the wall for discussion. Glass set into the walls turns opaque at the flick of a switch to give occupants privacy from prying eyes and security to pursue brainstorming and idea-generation.
“We designed the Hub so it has two separate entries,” explains Shane Hales. “Occupants sit around a semi-circular table in bench-style seating, which we feel facilitates interaction. It is a very dynamic space. It’s really the perfect hub for closed-door collaboration sessions where everyone can feel comfortable in developing and discussing concepts, and really letting the creativity flow.”
Axiom uses the Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) Display as a planning tool so clients can see into spaces that have yet to be created before costly choices are made.
“Elements such as seating, furniture coverings, wall treatments, lighting and furniture arrangements can all be brought into sharp focus, as if they’ve already been completed,” continues Shane Hales. “This is especially useful for clients who have trouble visualising what we are explaining to them. It’s useful for both us and for them because it enables us all to be on the same page before moving ahead with anything.”
Far from being reserved exclusively for internal staff, the Axiom team is forthcoming in inviting clients and interested parties into their new space to experience the future of workspace design.
As Shane Hales concludes, “We’re very happy with what we’ve managed to achieve. And we cannot encourage others to follow our lead unless they experience it for themselves. So pay us a visit.”
At a glance…
- Fit-for-purpose creative fitout of a B-grade space
- Designed to visually reflect company brand
- Technologically appointed central Hub for closed-door collaboration
- VR/AR Display to enable tactile experiences for clients
- Comfort and green elements at the fore