Shortlisted Winner - Y & R Group, Sydney, Australia, by The Bold Collective

The Bold Collective

Category: Small Medium Business
Project: Young & Rubicam Group, Sydney
Country of Design: Australia

The Challenge:

The Young & Rubicam (Y&R) project was predominantly a refurbishment and a cosmetic upgrade, in order to enable a transition towards activity-based working for the existing space at Levels 14, 15 and 16, 35 Clarence Street, Sydney. The space was occupied by a number of agencies under the Y&R Group umbrella, and the brief was to inject the workplace with the personality of each brand, while keeping a consistent aesthetic that would tie the three floors together and reflect its Sydney locality. Challenges included re-using as much of the existing furniture and structure as possible, to keep the budget realistic and the environmental footprint small.

The Process

In order to provide a range of work settings that would support an activity-based workplace, we strove to achieve better efficiencies in the workstation layout. The client was open to a paperless workspace, willing to reduce the traditional workstation increments in order to gain additional, varied workplace settings. With this in mind, we were able to retain all existing workstation components and build seamless new worktops that would support an additional two people per cluster. Re-using workstation components allowed us to reduce waste, while also extending the budget we could then allocate to the new, alternative work settings, breakout areas and aesthetic revamp.

The Design

Our client was keen to explore an aesthetic that drew on the historic Australian pub and in this way reflected the history of the company roots in Australia. Meeting and hush rooms were named accordingly and we developed a palette of finishes that included handmade subway tiles, reclaimed timbers, worn leather, rusted paint, ropes, chalkboards, neon signage, gooseneck wall lights, chain suspended indoor plants and black detailing.

Each workplace setting took on its own distinct identity within the overall branding platform of the historic Australian pub aesthetic Y&R were keen to explore. Level 16, which is the top floor of the building and which hosts a large outdoor area, was free from workstations and was to be used for client pitches, staff breakout areas and events. We covered the existing flooring in AstroTurf, which wrapped up around some large tiered seating. We worked with what already existed and developed a light-filled, tropical space filled with colourful detailing, plants, driftwood wall paneling and a large, informal boardroom table that can be reconfigured as needed.

The Result

The result is a reinvigorated, agile workspace that accommodates the function of the companies housed within the three floors, and also inspires and encourages cross-pollination between the different agencies through the variety of work settings and breakout areas.

By referencing an Australian pub concept, the new workspace appeals to a new generation of employees who enjoy its playful expression and an aesthetic that embodies the concept of engaging freely. This conceptual approach has allowed for individual companies to retain their own, unique branding and identity within a unified environment, achieving an inspiring and agile workplace that enables a range of agencies and companies to come together and work anywhere within the precinct.