A dynamic workspace for Australia’s leading energy infrastructure company.

Capturing the progressive nature of APA and their ethos of “always poweringahead” this modern, agile workplace embodies their connection to people andthe land that connects them. Strongly influenced by the textures and hues of theAustralian landscape this workplace delivers a productive haven for theirpeople.

The Task

Within impending lease expiries and a national focus on elevating the standard of their workspaces, APA sought to consolidate their multiple offices across Brisbane into their new premises.  A 4,400sqm tenancy, across two floors in a prominent CBD building.

Employing a national workplace strategy with a local flavour, the project was underpinned by the organisations core drivers of

  • flexibility,
  • shared expertise,
  • Employee wellbeing and satisfaction,
  • technology uplift,
  • brand and identity.

The workplace strategy teams engagement with the business, provided a detailed outline of the various workplace zones and activities required of the workspace, the detailed technical requirements of various functional spaces along with the proposed shared desking strategy of 10 workpoints to every 21 employees.

Our brief was to translate their desired working model into a modern, agile workplace that reflected their brand essence at scale, adopting spaces to support the following work modalities;

  • Focus
  • Collaborate
  • Meet
  • Connect + Wellbeing
  • Welcome

The Inspiration

The workplace expresses the relationships between the three design pillars underpinning the project;

  1. CONNECTION; of infrastructure, of networks of people and to the land.
  2. SPEED & MOVEMENT – their brand ethos of “on the move” and “powering forward”,
  3. WORKING WITH THE LAND; renewable energy’s, working with the landscape rather than against it.

Building on the strategic brief we categorised spaces into work style zones that captured collaborative, general and quite work styles and developed a brand aesthetic that reflected their affinity to the land and embraced their corporate values and behaviours.

The material palette was inspired by the Australian landscapes and appropriated to the zones to guide behaviour – rust red in the active zones signally collaboration and communication, and eucalyptus greens in the quite zones, encouraging reflection and tranquillity.

The Solution

This workplace takes the project from aesthetic delivery of an environment where people perform work, to an environment that enables performance. 

The conscious planning of the space supports the various cognitive and social functions required by employees in the performance of work.  With a core focus on bringing people together whilst embracing a high desk sharing ratio amongst employees, it was critical to ensure that the workplace created a sense of belonging and community amongst employees, whilst supporting a wide range of tasks and activities, whilst in the workplace.

Positioning key client facing spaces adjacent the lift core whilst optimising external views to the CBD and the river.  A large business lounge greets visitors and welcomes them to enjoy a selfserve coffee from the BrewHub and to relax overlooking the CBD or utilise the work corals to finish off those last few emails.  The video wall loops with imagery of APA pipelines and employees, providing context and connection, whilst a vast array of greenery brings life to the rust tones.

This workplace enables and activates the businesses organisation structure and brand experience, by embedding the essence of these objectives into the planning and spatial form of the environment.

Employees transition through café spaces creating buzz and energy on entering the space.

The internal stair connects the two floors from the café and town hall space through to the smaller cafe and informal work area on the floor above.  The stair is a further nod to the industrialised materiality of APA’s pipe network.

The journey that the employee takes in moving through the space, the zones that they transition through and the material and colour palette of each zone, provide subconscious cues as to the desired behaviours, social interactions, communication styles and work functions to be performed within each zone.  These cues provide employees with a seamless user experience that is clear and easily interpreted from the sensory cues it provides.

This blending of disciplines of organisational psychology, behaviour science and design are the next evolution of workplace design.

The Detail

Infusing the inspiration of the Australian landscape into the space was critical in all material and design decisions. 

The cork flooring was selected not only for its acoustic properties, easy maintenance and sustainable sourcing, but also for its texture, reflective of rammed earth and the pitted walls of carved canyons.

The wave of the timber battens that adorn the ceilings in the entry and business lounge embody the contour lines of the landscape.

Custom designed carpet harmoniously reflects the dabbled and muted transitions of the red earth at the heart of our land.

Whilst the materiality and colour pallet bring life and joy to the space, the detail in the planning is what underpins the projects success.

Maximising  the natural light and external views was a high priority from the outset, due to the deep floor plate and side core of the tenancy.  Forming three main linear corridors, we created a built zone, a work zone, and a collaboration zone.  Each of these zones collocates similar tasks and activities, enabling intuitive behaviour from the occupants.

With the tenancy spread across two floors, uniformity was critical in ensuring ease of behaviour. On each floor the northwestern corner is dedicated to quite concentrative work with an array of workpoint settings ranging from enclosed quiet rooms, relaxation rooms, open work booths, corrals, quiet pods, workstations, and singular high back lounges.  This variety ensures that each individual is empowered to choose a workpoint setting that suits their preferred workstyle, task and objectives.

The Brisbane office is also home to APA’s national 24/7 operations control centre.  The added complexity of this space came not only from its highly bespoke design specifications but also the complex technology infrastructure that was required to be incorporated from video walls, to circadian rhythm lighting design.

The Result

9 months after moving into the space APA invited feedback from their people on the change.  This is what they had to say…