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

Westpac Perth Head Office [DRAFT]

Image Credit : Joel Barbitta (D-Max Photography)



Project Overview

Embracing the manifesto to ‘think big don’t act big’, the design moves beyond the aesthetic to become an instigator for cultural change, providing a foundation for Westpac’s workplace to be adaptable, resilient and connected.

A genuine commitment to build on Westpac Barangaroo and Kent Street is evidenced in the breadth and depth of the design team collaborating with an ergonomist, nutritionist, wellbeing consultant, landscaper, diversity team and local community partners.

This approach created an elevated design outcome; an enjoyable, inspiring and comfortable space that is truly a place for Westpac’s people and community.

The project provided opportunities for new and unique space typologies derived from evidence-based rather than trend-based design decisions. This challenged both traditional and early adoptive ABW workplaces, interpreting and building upon these learnings.

The outcome is a flagbearer in the Perth market, instilling confidence and pride in the business and extending Westpac’s community reach.

Project Commissioner


Project Creator



Kim Thornton-Smith , Suang Ng, Angela Saatchi , Stephen McDonnell Roberto Rivera, Edwin Wang.

Project Brief

The aspirational brief was to create a uniquely Perth workplace enabling the dynamic and energised workforce to be more connected, innovative and nimble, providing the settings and space for more genuine conversations with colleagues, clients, visitors and the wider Perth community.

In addition to being a platform for Westpac’s culture and brand, the workplace also needed to provide for success and wellbeing, diversity, choice and mobility. Furthermore, it aimed to cater for transparency, openness and connectivity, underpinned by the aspiration to better Barangaroo.

The new head office amalgamates two static workplaces into a consolidated, agile workplace across three levels. A diversity of settings is offered across each work floor, providing flexibility and choice for people to work where they can be most effective; via places to collaborate and exchange ideas, to concentrate and focus and to reflect and recharge.

Strong physical and visual connectivity is provided through a central stair, providing a pivotal point around which social hubs and working villages are nestled, fostering conversation and interaction.

The design presents a compelling narrative for Westpac, embracing a relaxed tone driven by Perth’s local character. Spaces are carefully choreographed to reflect Western Australia’s unique characteristics; its relaxed, coastal lifestyle, casual vernacular and human spirit.

A timeless vernacular that embraces hospitality overtones delivers a place where people feel connected to a vibrant local community galvanised around a commitment to each other and the wider community.

Project Innovation/Need

Integral to the design strategy was the development of an evocative Perth overlay. Poetic excerpts were derived from Tim Winton’s literature, drawing on notions of wide blue skies, clear, long-sighted landscapes and a sharp quality of light to create a localised and familiar sensibility that gives the workplace a greater sense of purpose.

Domestic references, including a suburban breezeblock wall and framed pergola canopy, impart a casual familiarity for staff, attracting them to congregate, socialise and dwell.

A rhythmic array of sculptural light features enlivens the work floor, representing blackened Grass Trees dotted across a vast landscape. A number of bespoke ‘rain screens’ constructed from transparent blue-tinted acrylic float delicately between work areas, an ode to the cool, soothing rain after bushfire.

Subtle textural and tonal shifts in floor finishes reflect earthy landscapes while demarcating zones and anchoring work points.

Custom lighting employs a circadian rhythm, where the light hue and intensity gradually transition to reflect the natural movement of the sun throughout the day, promoting health and vitality in the interior.

A striking multi-coloured LED textile produces an ever-changing symphony of colour, movement, texture and light inspired by Perth's city, sea and sky, acting as an abstracted representation and beacon of WA.

Multi-use spaces with capacity to host functions of 150+ guests enable Westpac to engage WA’s community in major events and facilitate partnerships with organisations such as TED, allowing the broader community to experience the service, expertise, and innovation of the Westpac Group.

Design Challenge

With a tight program, the team utilised an agile and collaborative process of concept ideation to develop a design narrative and strategy for the space which drove the design, technical documentation and delivery of the project. This approach also achieved streamlined client approvals across the local project representatives and group head sponsors.

Brookfield Tower 2 presented planning challenges with a central service core inflicting narrow core to perimeter dimensions. Built zones have been centralised to maintain sightlines across the work floor, while generous circulation paths and universal sense of spaciousness have been accommodated to create a sense of calmness and comfort.

Additional challenges lay in consideration of workplace security while enabling agile work practices and community engagement within an open and transparent environment.


The design sought to achieve an ambitious 6-star Green Star Interiors rating in line with the following targets:

- At least 95% of all internally applied paints, adhesives, sealants and carpets must meet stipulated ‘Total VOC Limits’.
- At least 95% of all engineered wood products must meet stipulated formaldehyde limits.
- 100% electronic sit stand workstations, inclusive of client & workplace concierge.
- Perth Westpac specified Ergonomist approved furniture from Barangaroo Westpac
- 95% by cost of all timber used in the fitout and construction works is certified by a forest certification scheme that meets the GBCA’s Essential criteria, or is from a reused source.
- 90% by cost of cables, pipes, floors and blinds costs either do not contain PVC and have an Environmental Product Declaration (EPD) OR meet best practice guidelines for PVC.

The materials enhance Westpac’s community strategy with consideration to sustainability. The workplace draws on repurposed, local Jarrah timber (scheduled to be wood chipped), suburban brick, breezeblock and soft, sun-bleached tones inspired by WA’s landscape. The design language is confident, legible, warm and approachable with a sense of presence and longevity.

Automated lighting for daylight harvesting, cradle-to-grave recycling schemes, WELL Silver rated hydraulic fixtures and highly efficient services design have been successfully employed in the workplace.

The interior promotes wellbeing by maximising natural light, increasing planting, encouraging movement and promoting socialisation by delivering attractive hub spaces on each level.

A Health and Wellness awareness program initiated by Westpac further promotes wellbeing in terms of mental & physical health, nutrition and hygiene.

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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