The Not So Humble Office- A 20:20 Vision Re-cap


11 April 2018

Meinhardt: Meinhardt hosts its first 20:20 Vision event for the year 'Offices - Inside, Outside, Up and Down' in Melbourne.

Home, office, home, sleep and repeat. With the demise of the 9-5 working day and the ever increasing interconnectedness of the 21st century- something’s got to give. According to our expert panel at last week’s 20:20 Vision, that something is the humble office.

The office sits at the centre of both our working and personal lives. It impacts how we perform at work and also how we balance our work with home life, social life and recreation. Of late, office layouts have seen massive transformation. From the traditional, old, isolating and boring to the bright, collaborative, interactive and disruptive spaces we see today. We can attribute some of this inspiration to Silicon Valley and their start-up model offices (think Google, LinkedIn, Facebook, SnapChat). Then there’s the evolution of tech- constantly evolving and requiring the spaces and infrastructure around it, to be ever evolving too. Enough said on that. We also have the rise of the entrepreneur and the changing workforce, where traditional roles are but a thing of the past. Oh and did I mention the lack of availability for space within CBD’s?

For engineers, developers, architects, designers and employees, the humble office therefore leaves us asking- where to and what to next?

A Designer’s Perspective- Heidi Smith, Partner at Gray Puksand

“We are moving from an economy and a society built on the logical, linear, computer like capabilities of the Information Age to an economy and a society built on the inventive, empathic, big-picture capabilities of what’s rising in its place, the Conceptual Age.” – Daniel Pink, A Whole New Mind

My key takeaways from Heidi’s presentation:

A Developer’s Perspective- Lucy Simms, Development Manager at Perri Projects

“We [the developers] are seeing changes in how businesses are shaping and customising their workplaces and we really just want to provide an interesting platform for them to plug in their own ideas, their own culture and their own way of working”

My key takeaways from Lucy’s presentation:

A Researcher’s Perspective- Dr. Agustin Chevez, Senior Researcher at Hassell and Adjunct Professor at Swinburne University

“THE OFFICE IS AN INVENTION, the moment we realise this, we open ourselves to new and exciting opportunities. What is more, the circumstances that gave us the office, have for the most part, ceased to be relevant”

My key takeaways from Gus’s presentation:

A Commercial Agent’s Perspective- Tom Ryan, Associate Director Commercial Sales at Knight Frank

“Reposition your space, or stay vacant”

My key takeaways from Tom’s presentation:

A Market Disruptor’s Perspective (AKA the WeWork Perspective)- Jonathan Kearins, Senior Director of Real Estate Au & NZ at WeWork

“We’re social animals for a reason and we thrive when we belong”

My key takeaways from Jonathan’s presentation:

Whilst I think there will always be a place for traditional lease- collaboration isn’t just between people of the same company but also between the companies themselves.

So all in all, there does seem to be some sort of key to nailing the perfect office but it’s not the architects, or the engineers or the developers or the designers who hold this key- it’s the tenant. Yes, we can create nice spaces and surround them with facilities and fill them with natural light. But, if the tenant can’t culturally align to a space, then how can the office really fulfil it’s potential?




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