“The heart of this project is about providing a state-of-art-office for a 21st century tech company in a historically significant heritage building in Melbourne, the Maltstore,” according to Breathe Architecture. 

“It is the intersection between a distinct past and an exciting future, where the digital, industrial and fabricated meets the natural, crafted and personal.”

The Malstore building has layers of character; built in 1904 for the Carlton United Brewery, it represents a point of technical innovation. Housing Slack in this building is a reflection on the times changing – its distinct past with technology as its future.

The design approach is focussed upon intersections. Its conceptual intersections such as; time, space, electronics, data and old-school craftsmanship.

“Slack’s values of empathy, playfulness, thriving and solidarity represent an intersection between technology and humanity where the digital, industrial and fabricated meets the natural, crafted and personal.”

The fit-out embraces quality and characteristics that existing the building’s fabric. By expressing the three original silos, it approaches the pre-existing functionality and character of the Maltstore’s past life.

With new breakout spaces – one, a quiet lounge retreat that blocks out the outer workspace, and the other, one of several meeting rooms – a series of new spaces are created, “spaces that are manifestations of Slack’s core values.”

Spatially, there are two distinct sides that are linked by a timber boardwalk and surrounded by an abundance of lavish greenery with “one side is for work and the other, for play.”

Nestled amongst this concentrated forest at the centre of intersection sits a series of meeting rooms.

The work area encompasses egalitarian style workstations and a series of private ‘phone booths’. “Designed with no private offices, a cooperative, thriving work environment is encouraged.”

“The play occurs in the kitchen, café and event space, where everybody comes together. They provide informal workspaces and contribute to the collaborative and vibrant work environment.”

Scattered amidst the work area is a series of smaller breakout spaces that are a passers-by afterthought of pausing. Throughout, the greenery stays consistent anticipating a thematic congruence throughout the original concept of work and play.

“Careful consideration and preservation of the existing building fabric was important, as was the longevity and lifespan of the fit-out. To enhance its longevity, each element is designed to be easily removable and re-usable where possible.”

“The materials that were used throughout the design are environmentally sustainable and sourced locally wherever possible. Recycled Tasmanian oak floorboards are locally sourced and nailed rather than glue to ensure future re-use. Meeting room and kitchen tables are made from Australian Messmate, whilst decking detailing throughout utilises Australian BlackButt timber sources from sustainably managed forests.”

“The workstation desktops and benchtops use Marmoleum. Meeting room and phone booth walls and ceilings are lined with Autex acoustic panelling, made from 85% recycled PET. Slack’s Melbourne fit-out is more than just an office, it is an energetic and vibrant work environment that inspires and facilitates its workers. It’s open and egalitarian style workspace encourages social interaction and collaborative work – core to Slack’s values.”