At BVN it has always been about design, diversity and innovation. So it’s no surprise that these core values were openly celebrated in the recent refurbishment of its Sydney office.
But it was more than just a refurbishment. It was a complete overhaul of the way BVN does business. A total re-think about what its future practice may look like, supporting new ways of working and addressing the need for agility, flexibility and digital interaction. And of course, keeping it human.
So the entire design process was about understanding the way people want to work, through a series of staff workshops, giving the entire team a direct stake in the design. In discovering what they wanted, BVN made major changes to its traditional model of fixed workstations, storage and team desks arranged in clusters to create pathways for movement.
Unleashing the power of teams to drive the business was a key objective. Now, teams (and individuals) can self-organise based on how they want to work. All furniture is on wheels and teams can select from a kit of parts to tailor their space. Users can then unplug from one cluster, roll their desk across the studio and join a new team, all in a matter of minutes.
“The BVN studio is an incubator for innovation through continual research projects, data collection, and new ways of working,” Ninotschka Titchkosky, BVN Co-CEO, says.
A platform for experimentation and learning was another outcome of the studio-wide workshops, to increase exposure to new technologies, develop new skills and create spaces that encouraged sharing and collaboration. The new studio is now equipped with a dedicated digital fabrication workshop area (accommodating 3D printers, a desktop 3D carving machine and physical model making space), a virtual reality space and video conferencing. To enable teams to rely on high-speed data, a system was invented where power and data is delivered across the floor plate via a retractable cable, called a Data Boom, which is fixed to the ceiling soffit. This solution is the first of its kind and has a patent pending as a new ceiling system.
“The outcome is a dynamic floor plan in a continual state of change,” BVN comments. Of course the choice of material palette to achieve this end had to be fit for purpose.
The whole refurbishment involved retaining existing elements that worked well and removing parts that didn’t support how BVN wanted to work. Any new elements had to tie in with the existing materiality and provide a contemporary lift that contributed to a new energy within the space. So, new materials needed to be robust and fun. Take, for instance, the Verde Scuro Terrazzo. This material was perfect for this purpose, so was used on a large bar in the studio’s new forum space. “The confident nature of the terrazzo and the versatility of how it can be applied allowed us to set the backdrop for a social heart that will contribute to many years of collaboration, creativity and enjoyment amongst our team and our clients,” Sally Campbell, Senior Practice Director, BVN, comments.
Not surprisingly, BVN received the Workplace Design Award at the 2019 Australian Interior Design Awards, for its agile and future-focused design. The jury’s telling comments say the project, “exhibits powerful thinking and offers a genuine attempt to remake the office environment to suit BVN Sydney Studio’s creative workflow… The designers had a clear strategy to understand how people work and while it would have been easy for them to take a straightforward workstation approach (which a lot of design and architecture firms do), they took a risk and chose not to.” BVN and its entire team are to be congratulated on such an outstanding result, and will no doubt enjoy the fruits of their innovative thinking for many years to come.
Product: Verde Scuro Terrazzo, honed finish
Photographer: Brett Boardman