Project Name: National Australia Bank (NAB) Village Customer Innovation Centre, Melbourne
Location: 700 Bourke Street, Docklands
Architect: Woods Bagot
Completion date: November 2013
Sustainability: Designed for 5 Star Green Star
Product: Tretford Carpet Tiles
Q. What was the overall outline of the brief from your clients? Was the intent to create a community feel amongst the organisation with the use of communal areas – and is this challenging in such a large open plan space?
A. The brief was to create a collaborative, innovative and creative meeting and working environment connecting NAB customers to its community and people.
The Village connects NAB to its community, complementing the other offerings within the NAB’s buildings along Bourke Street, and facilitating the NAB ethos of ‘helping people achieve their goals and realise their potential’. The centre provides a destination for users and NAB customers to meet, collaborate, share ideas and connect in a space that is relaxed and informal.
We wanted to have fun with the design of these spaces, encouraging group collaboration and creativity for NAB’s customers and community. Transformable spaces, a mix of furniture, graphics and artwork were all part of the design strategy to draw people in and experience co-working.
An integral part of The Village experience is the opportunity to access the experience, knowledge and talent of community members and business specialists. Workspaces are broken up into a range of meeting pavilions designed to provide the user with a choice of space type – private to open – depending on task or purpose.
Q. When communicating your design to a large –private enterprise – do you feel you have more or less control over the design submission with these types of projects?
A. Woods Bagot had full autonomy of the aesthetics and visual outcomes of the space. Working closely with the client, NAB, the focus was on creating a highly functional space tailored to the needs of the business. Aesthetically, we wanted to highlight that The Village was an authentic experience.
It was a business experiment and we loved working with NAB to develop a new space typology where we were bringing together the business and the community in a creative and innovative space where they can interact with their clients.
Sitting within the wider NAB business at 700 Bourke Street, also designed by Woods Bagot, the building form dictated the overall aesthetic result of The Village. A unique triangular site, urban-style interiors comprising refined raw materials and exposed, natural finishes was used to ensure the design solution was authentic and not overly polished.
Q. How important was the colour and texture to the flooring decisions you made throughout the individual spaces?
A. The materials used were authentic for their purpose. Rawness is evident in what we left out – no ceilings and exposed services, plywood panels and natural products. Planting was featured extensively throughout.
Colour and texture were highly important and integral to the way The Village sits within the project as a whole. The palette within The Village was chosen to fit into the kaleidoscope of colour adopted for the building’s exterior and interior colour scheme and Tretford carpets offered the range of colours we hoped to use.
Tretford tiles were used to create definition between open workspaces and more specialised areas like meeting rooms and project spaces, not wholly throughout the building.
Q. Given the open plan layout of this particular project, does increasing the sound absorption play a large part in your choice to use soft flooring in many of the private meeting areas?
A. In conjunction with other devices, carpet was selected to manage sound for its absorption properties compared to hard surfaces. A sound masking or white noise system has been installed to balance acoustics in open plan workspaces.