Hall Chadwick needed to develop a strategic vision for their business’s new workspace that embraced their heritage within the context of an exciting future. In 2016, with their lease expiry imminent, Hall Chadwick’s existing workspace was problematic. 15 years of business growth had spread the staff across two separate and disparate floors, resulting in an unsuitable fit out and a siloed culture. Hall Chadwick engaged COMUNiTI, led by Managing Director Melissa Marsden, to strategically guide their leasing and fit-out approach, overseeing the fit out through to completion.
“The brief was to reinforce Hall Chadwick’s culture, provide a workspace that was flexible enough to support their evolving operational needs, and a space that their clients felt comfortable visiting, that wasn’t ostentatious.”
More about the client…
With around 80 staff, the Brisbane branch of Hall Chadwick is an accounting and business advisory operating in the SME space with a portfolio of clients in the agricultural and associated industries. The foundational business, Williams, was established in Longreach, Western Queensland, 40 years ago and while the business has grown significantly, many of their original clients still work with the company today.
The COMUNiTI team conducted in-depth research to gain an understanding of the business, and to clarify Hall Chadwick’s needs and values.
“We created a Workplace Strategy Report, consolidating data from our research, to guide Hall Chadwick’s leasing strategy.”
The report identified and made recommendations on Hall Chadwick’s broad range of business requirements, both spatial and cultural. Through imaginative workspace design, COMUNiTI proposed to unify Hall Chadwick’s culture by reflecting the company’s Western Queensland heritage and client base, and to embrace the technological future by creating a more modern, efficient and dynamic business.
COMUNiTI’s research suggested that the business’s organisational and cultural requirements could be addressed across two contiguous floor plates, if a central staircase was provided and the floor plates were a minimum of 800sqm. Hall Chadwick took up a new tenancy on levels 4 & 5 of a building on the corner of Queen and Edward Streets, right in the heart of Brisbane’s CBD. Previously a bank, the leased floors of the building were intended to be stripped out and refurbished by Brookfield.
COMUNiTI recommended the tenancy be taken on as a cold shell to provide greater flexibility and funding for Hall Chadwick to execute their unique vision for the space.
This simple decision created substantial savings for Hall Chadwick, enabling a large offset of the fit-out cost, which enhanced the design outcome without financial impact. Just over a year later, the fit out is complete and the refined yet rustic space is exceptional.
“The space subtly reflects rural Queensland through the colours, material selections, textures and architectural forms,” explains project lead, Melissa Marsden.
Stepping out of the lift into the entry foyer, the Hall Chadwick story immediately starts to unfold. Considered materials and a warm colour palette are indeed reminiscent of Western Queensland, including reddish timbers, charcoal colorbond vertical panels, warm greys, and rust. And what rural Queensland space would be complete without a cow hide rug! Moving from the foyer through a narrowing entry into the reception area, the desk is clad with sage tiles inspired by corrugated sheets.
The space opens up into a casual client waiting lounge with a 4.8 m high ceiling. Wrapping around the waiting lounge are client meeting rooms, a boardroom and a training room.
Floor tiles in a basket weave pattern provide wayfinding reminiscent of red dirt.
The ‘red dirt’ path traverses the waiting lounge to the boardroom and training room, with their heavy barn-style, sliding doors.
The boardroom, with its handsome pitched barn roof, has been designed to be like a rural “building” within the space.
VJ boards nod to traditional Queenslander architectural vernacular, however the view of neighbouring highrise buildings and the office furniture clearly position the “barn” within the Brisbane CBD. The impressive timber truss ceiling extends out into the client waiting lounge, creating engaging interior views and continuity within the larger workspace.
Beyond the client waiting lounge, the staircase forms a transition point between the client space and the staff café.
Centrally located, the staircase encourages movement between the floors drawn by the café and client-facing spaces on level 3.
The café’s large perimeter windows offer views down bustling Queen Street and flood the space with natural light. Solid timber furniture, refined upholstered seating featuring horse bit buckles, staggered pendant lights, and a stone top kitchen bar create a relaxed, modern restaurant vibe suitable for a broad range of uses: a relaxing alternative work space for staff, a casual meeting place with clients, a function space for events, and of course, Friday drinks.
Climbing the industrial-style staircase to level 4 you are welcomed into the heart of the working floor.
Here a communal centre provides staff with collaboration spaces, a utility/print area and tea points, encouraging activity and informal communicative opportunities.
Playful placement of a breezeblock wall separates the main corridor from the utility space, simultaneously enabling visual connection across the office.
It is hard not to love the breezeblock – their distinct Australian outdoor style proffers nostalgic, mid-century modern appeal. Widely used in Western Queensland, in turn they are used to great effect in Hall Chadwick’s new workspace.
“The space creates a feeling of openness and expanse that is then scaled back to feel intimate and personal – it’s homely yet professional in a way that is atypical of a corporate office,” explains Melissa Marsden of COMUNiTI.
Collaborative spaces extend off the communal centre.
Their positioning in public areas encourage knowledge sharing between departments and informal contributions from passing staff. The workstations are fanned around the curved perimeter of the building, with offices stacked back off windows so natural light can penetrate deep into the floor plate without obstruction.
Work stations are all electronically height adjustable and media spaces at the end of workstations offer progressive technology, empowering teams to come together to view, share and discuss spreadsheets on a larger screen.
Finally, a quiet library space sits behind the stair void, its rustic tones and textures offering a peaceful work environment away from the desk with views up Queen Street. The triangulated timber ceiling echoes the entry foyer on Level 3, bringing the Hall Chadwick workplace story full circle. The refined yet relaxed results clearly resonate:
“Melissa brought creativity, flair and functionality to the design which gives a nod to our history, yet still provides a practical workspace for today,” says Director of Business Services, Dugald Warby.