Studio Tate has aligned the vision for a new landmark co-working space in North Melbourne with the organisation’s core values through intelligent design
Melbourne-based interior architecture practice Studio Tate has completed work on ‘Our Community House’, a new landmark co-working space located in North Melbourne, which is setting a stylish and sustainable example of what the future workplace can look like.
The space is home to a social enterprise that harnesses expertise in data science to support likeminded organisations, uniting design and data to amplify the work of some of Australia’s leading socially minded groups and individuals.
Conceived as a physical manifestation of Our Community Group’s digital footprint, the former National Union of Workers headquarters is now home to the group’s 60 employees, with a further 180 co-working desks available by application for not-for-profit organisations, government, philanthropic and corporate grant-makers, and other businesses.
Including a mix of private offices, open-plan workstations and breakout settings, each of the building’s four co-working zones allows for a customisable offering dependent on the requirements of each tenant.
“Transformation was the central theme of our design narrative,” says Studio Tate principal interior designer Alex Hopkins. “We sought to create a space that provided a framework for the not-for-profit sector to evolve and grow, and drew inspiration from the transformative nature of art, colour, light and nature.
With limited resources, not-for-profits and social start-ups often work in less than desirable conditions, so the ‘house’ was an opportunity to demonstrate how intelligent design can positively impact communication, productivity and wellbeing in this sector,” adds Hopkins.
As well as building a community of likeminded, socially motivated groups, tenants enjoy ‘workplace of the future’ amenities, including parent and milk-expressing rooms, gender-inclusive bathrooms, solar heating and cooling efficiencies, ergonomic sit-to-stand desks, a comprehensive recycling and waste management system, an independently run onsite café, and even a rocket scientist.
Harnessing the power of data science for social good is at the heart of Our Community’s ethos. Permanent staff of three data scientists – astro-physicist, neuro and mathematics – run free workshops for tenants, while also undertaking five socially-minded projects every year. All findings and outcomes will be made available online, continuing the group’s charge to empower advancement through information sharing and data driven outcomes.
“While information sharing happens very literally through our digital channels and resources, the vision for Our Community House is to facilitate this organically in the workplace environment, not by chance but by design,” says Denis Moriarty, Our Community Group founder and managing director.
Aiming to access natural light and strategically locate key areas of the space, such as utility and printing stations, as well as storage lockers and end-of-trip facilities for those cycling to work, Our Community House creates a harmonious working environment, which allows users to thrive in the spaces they occupy.
This, Hopkins adds, is crucial because “co-working spaces by their nature must be highly considered and adaptable to accommodate the varying needs of the unique and individual businesses they’re designed to attract,” says Hopkins. “We committed to creating a series of zones that translated the vibrancy and character of Our Community and its employees, drawing on the energy and enthusiasm of the team.”
Thoughtful placement of artificial light in internal built zones was also highly considered, avoiding harsh overhead lighting often found in many office spaces. A feeling of tranquillity is further enhanced with plants used extensively to foster biophilia and create a connection with nature, proven to positively impact employee wellbeing.
Meanwhile, generous breakout spaces, communal areas and a kitchen and dining precinct that seats up to 60 people are complemented by informal meeting rooms, intentionally peppered throughout the interior and designed to encourage impromptu conversation and collaboration. Open lounges and communal tables are mixed with more enclosed acoustic booths, allowing for a variety of needs and personal preferences.
With concrete columns and exposed trusses, Studio Tate added warmth and colour to the industrial-inspired interiors with a comprehensive art collection that embellishes the walls. An expansive mural by local street artist David Lee Pereira makes an unforgettable impression, and notably has already acted as a backdrop for a performance by musician Ben Lee.
Marrying intelligent design with the core values of Our Community House, Studio Tate has created a modern co-working hub that puts the community at the very heart of the space, proving that the era of one-size-fits-all offices is well and truly over.
Our Community House
552 Victoria Street
All images courtesy of Studio Tate