Can Design Guide Organisation into the Future?

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It’s not often you get a chance as a designer to create something that has the potential to transform the way an organisation works.” We met Co Principle at Davenport Campbell Neill Johanson to discuss his approach for the new Mirvac HQ, within Sydney’s newest office tower 200 George..

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INTERFACE: What was the overall design objective and brief for the Mirvac HQ Project?

 NEILL JOHANSON: Mirvac’s objectives for the interior design of the workplace needed to reflect the shift in the business to an agile working culture. The company had a vision for its new workplace to attract the best talent as an industry leader and allow them to flourish, productively and emotively.

The designers were also challenged to communicate the Mirvac’s four core values in their new workplace. Those values were:

  • Inspiring & engaging
  • Connected & collaborative
  • Sustainable & livable
  • High performance

The Mirvac HQ project presented the a once in life time opportunity for Mirvac to demonstrate their industry leadership in creating innovative commercial and residential developments, and create an environment that transforms the way employees work and stimulates a more connected culture that typifies a new Mirvac way of working.

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INTERFACE: Once you received the brief from Mirvac, how did you approach this design?

NEILL JOHANSON: It’s not often you get a chance as a designer to create something that has the potential to remarkable transform the way an organisation works. Our initial approach was to discover the why that sat behind all the information that was being gathered so that we could really understand Mirvac’s vision for the future so we could truly help them realise their goals through their new workplace.

We chose to work with Interface to provide the carpet for 200 George Street due to the company’s commitment to sustainability, and its carpet recycling initiative. As part of our ‘This Changes Everything’ strategy we have a number of sustainability targets we are aiming to reach, and Interface has allowed us to get one step closer by using carpet that has come from recycled material.

The pattern and colour of the carpet – Walk The Plank, Net Effect B701, OnLine. were chosen to suit the colour scheme of the building and create an inviting workplace environment for the tenants.

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INTERFACE: So, what was the process – how did you guide the company through the shift?

NEILL JOHANSON: The first thing we did was to develop a Living Lab or pilot space. This experiment, if you like, of putting people into a mini version of the HQ project was an effective way of testing new ideas, prior to whole heartily committing the next step.

We observed how people used the space for different types and modes of work; from detailed, problem solving work, to huddles and creative play or brainstorming. We watched introverts and extroverts and discovered where they worked best.

Mirvac had never experienced dynamic working before so we couldn’t just assume they’d adapt positively to a new and innovative ways of working. It was essential we created a place that made everyone ‘feel at home’ at work. We created a relaxed work environment and conducive to breaking down barriers and stimulating creative thought and emotive interactions.

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