Macquarie Bank provides personal financial services, and property advisory and investment banking services to a broad clientele in both Australia and New Zealand. It has been described as ‘an odd mix, a bank with an entrepreneurial flair’. With this in mind, the bank wanted its new workplace to be ‘seriously fun’ and to have a ‘wow factor’.
During workshops held to clarify the brief and the direction for the design process, a number of key words emerged. These included: diversity, contrast, individuality, and sophistication.
From the start, the intention was to achieve a very open feeling, creating a culture in which both the staff and the clients could readily share. However, this presented certain challenges since an investment bank is, by its very nature, somewhere that requires a high degree of privacy. The answer was what became known as ‘Chinese walls’, a system that ensures no sounds can be transmitted through the partitions between departments. The use of acoustic panels and vinyl further inhibits sound transmission.
In contrast, corridor connections run right through the building, allowing natural light to flood into the central core space and opening up views across the width of the building, creating a sense of place within the city.
The reception area plays on an Aotearoa theme. Visitors have the feeling of walking onto a long white cloud, with harbour views and a floor of white marble, contrasted with the striking black meeting pods, layered and textured to represent the ancient stone of the landscape. Accentuating the cloud effect is a six metre-long ‘illuminated jewel’ desk. The desk is based on the structural form of a bridge, playing on the idea of strength between Macquarie and its clients.
Vivacious graphics on glass walls and doors are undoubtedly one of the strongest parts of the fit-out. A stylised version of the Macquarie ‘holey dollar’ logo was designed by Warren and Mahoney and printed onto vinyl for vertical glass partitions. The swirling fuchsia pink and black lines give a sense of visual connection, movement and fun to the space, allowing light to travel while still protecting privacy.
Because of the stringent separation of departments within the business, the social spaces for the staff were particularly important. These not only allow staff who work long hours to have somewhere to relax, but also provide areas where people from different departments can happily mix and mingle in a ‘safe zone’. The space is also used after hours for staff social events.
Chairman of the Board, Principal and Executive Director
This site does not display as intended on some browsers like Internet Explorer 6. Please update your browser.