Synergy is re-shaping its corporate direction, organisational culture and market approach as it transforms to be a modern energy retailer in an evolving and rapidly changing market.
Synergy’s new corporate vision has seen a dramatic shift from its current work environment of tall segregating screens and dense peripheral built zones with a high proportion of offices. Synergy wanted to bravely remodel the way it works as an organisation with increased visibility through floor plates and a holistic approach to communication and information sharing.
It also actively sought to reduce its environmental footprint by investing in energy saving devices and construction materials that minimise chemical emissions in the workplace. In occupying an existing building which does not have a green star rating, Synergy has still sought to better the baseline with the intent to achieve a 4-star green star rating from the Green Building Council of Australia.
Synergy wanted to create a flexible open plan workplace that facilitated increased communication and efficiency and was aligned with the company’s corporate direction and environmental sensibilities.
The former RAC Building on Adelaide Terrace provided many design challenges for HASSELL. The original structure was erected in the 1960s with a substantial extension added in the 1970s. The lower ground floor, accessible from the rear of the building, was previously a drive-in mechanical garage. Therefore the upgrade required a significant improvement in engineering services to facilitate the requirements of Synergy.
The upside was that HASSELL had 1300sqm floorplates over four levels to work with which enabled organisational connectivity.
Design principles were developed by the HASSELL team to provide a framework for the design process. These principles were based around the location and positioning of circulation, work areas, active zones, shared facilities including breakout/training rooms, meeting rooms and public interface areas.
HASSELL used 95 percent recyclable task chairs; rubber flooring made from recycled tyres; recyclable upholstery fabrics; and motion sensor lighting in all offices and meeting rooms to reduce energy consumption. The new carpet tiles have are cycled backing and are recycled at the end of their life by the manufacturer in aclosed loop cycle. Products such as the workstations can be disassembled up to 90 percent allowing metal and structural components to be reused long after the desktops are discarded. Materials such as polypropylene and polyester feature heavily in the breakout and meeting spaces as they are durable, easily maintained for long term use and recyclable.
“The design approach enabled a freer application of workplace principles that was supported by the client,” says Caroline Diesner, Principal with HASSELL.“Given the nature of the building it was about providing a sense of place internally, one which didn’t rely on the building architecture itself.
”Caroline says the location and planning of activities was about visual connectivity, and while clear circulation was critical, allowing for movement through the floorplate, with changing views. The design captures Synergy’s aims and aspirations for the project, as well as the hard data of standards, numbers and functional requirements.