2018 Sydney Design Awards

spaces, objects, visual, graphic, digital & experience design, design champion, best studio & best start-up, plus over 40 specialist categories

accelerate transformation, celebrate courage, growing demand for design

Image Credit : Toby Peet Photography

Project Overview

Siren was appointed by Visa to help them to transform not only their physical workplace but also support them in facilitating the strategic transformation and cultural growth of the business and their operation through their people. Driven by the need for increased productivity and collaboration, our design solution integrated a diverse range of open, multi-functional, breakout spaces as well as activity zones specifically created in response to the growing requirement and differing work nature of team vs individual.

Project Commissioner

Visa Inc

Project Creator

Siren Design

Project Brief

Looking for an activity-based design that would compliment their cultural shift towards a more collaborative approach to work, while addressing a desire for increased productivity and innovation, Siren created a multi-purposed space centred around the idea of flexibility encouraged through inclusive, connective working environments which are balanced with collaboration and quiet meeting spaces. An emphasis on health and wellness was introduced through meditation and quiet spaces, sit-to-stand desks and a natural fresh aesthetic used to inspire a creative and interactive approach to problem solving.
Siren embraced the company’s core values, reinterpreting them in a dynamic and refined manner to invigorate, energise and excite staff. The design solution opened up the building, maximising natural light throughout and concentrating the built environment around the core with workspaces around the perimeter. The palette supported light, vibrancy and an energetic feel, while incorporating special features such as a recycled timber green wall, neon lighting and indoor/outdoor features. The warmth that is felt within the space invites both employees and visitors to make themselves at home and enjoy their stay.
The use of greenery and planting coupled with organic finishes and natural timbers was a revelation to the once somewhat lifeless space and invites a more natural ambiance into health and wellbeing that focused far more on the human-centric direction of the business, with the design ultimately allowing for clear concentration and an eased connection between the employees and the space.

Project Innovation/Need

Classic corporate floor plan tends to follow a design flow where the space allocation is based on the group and their activities at hand but Visa’s vision for their space differed in an exciting, new form of group spacing. Moving away from the norm meant Siren needed to reimagine the nature of collaboration and the ways in which teams utilise their spaces, ultimately finding a method of design that would take on the elements of activity based working and make them for functional for the team. Siren adapted the idea of a collaborative workspace to conceptualise a new form of hybrid “living office” through tri-zoning spaces based upon the nature of work, level of noise and interaction the different groups required. This new division of space ultimately created the opportunity for micro offices and projected a greater ability for cooperative working; the exact direction the team at Visa was striving for.

Design Challenge

The greatest challenge of this project was within utilising the design and interiors to transform the company’s overall culture and approach to cross-team collaboration so that it aligned with the global brand. This aspect of aligning work processes on a global level naturally brought with it further challenges due to the multiple layers of approvals and communication channels. The ideal layout for the client was a brave shift from their structured past and one that was conducive of creativity and collaboration through multifaceted uses for workspaces while also maintaining a sense of belonging to team and space for the individual so to not enforce too much of a drastic change, too soon. Siren perfectly employed this notion despite an incredibly restrictive timeline of 6 weeks alongside an aggressive approvals process imposed within the Barangaroo precinct through multi-use workspaces and creative “nature” themed zoning that were all designed to be conducive of clear concentration and creativity and create a connection for each employee to the calming nature of the outdoors. A late decision was made nearly half way through the project to aim to achieve a high Green Star rating which in turn imposed further restrictions on the lay out and finishes of the design.


The Visa build achieved a level of World Excellence through gaining 6 stars by the Green Building Council Australia. Siren, alongside a Green Star consultant, constructed new ways to gain the maximum level of sustainability outside the physical touch and finishes of the space, helping the client to save money, create a healthy place of wellbeing for the employees, minimise their environmental footprint and in turn build a better future for not only the company and its people but for all.

The strict and highly considered design of the floorplan resulted in the consolidation of services, allowing for a lower overall energy consumption and emission. Keeping in line with the already sustainable Barangaroo precinct, Siren ensured Visa employed up to five levels of waste management streams, with a focus on recycling.

This award celebrates innovative and creative building interiors, with consideration given to space creation and planning, furnishings, finishes, aesthetic presentation and functionality. Consideration also given to space allocation, traffic flow, building services, lighting, fixtures, flooring, colours, furnishings and surface finishes.
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