Employee wellbeing was at the centre of the recent makeover of CSR’s Victoria head office in Yarraville, with the brief achieved through a combination of great design and a carefully curated selection of building materials from the CSR range.
Premium CSR building products and internal lining solutions were used to create amazing new facilities that include work and breakout spaces, communal areas and a wellness room.
Teaming with commercial fitout partner Workspace 360, the brief was based on employee wellbeing and creating a modern and functional environment that would entice people back to the office post-pandemic. Workspace 360 undertook the design, construction and operations of the new fitout, completely transforming the 1300m² space into a thriving open-plan hub across two floors.
“The space was previously a rabbit warren set-up, lots of closed-off rooms with fluorescent lighting and a segregation of departments that wasn’t conducive to CSR’s modern outlook,” says Luke Pochec, commercial segment manager at CSR. “The new design brief facilitated a shift for us, in the sense that we brought the walls down both physically and culturally, encouraging more collaboration within our brands and enabling our staff better opportunities to connect at work.”
Acoustic consideration was key to creating a comfortable experience and a number of market-leading CSR products were specified for both their aesthetic and performance capabilities. “Sound absorption is one of the most important design characteristics of an open plan office environment and is key to creating healthy and comfortable spaces,” says Jaden Crick, projects director at Workspace 360.
A striking black ceiling is a strong feature within the space, created with CSR Himmel’s OWA mineral fibre ceiling tile in Sinfonia Black. The Sinfonia range combines high acoustic performance with premium aesthetics, making them an ideal option for open plan offices. “The ceiling is one of the largest elements in the space so we had an opportunity to create something different, the black finish makes a very dynamic statement in a typical office environment,” says Jaden.
Aesthetically Workspace 360 worked towards a palette suggestive of natural finishes such as concrete and timber set against the versatile appeal of green, which works towards a biophilic intent. CSR Martini’s dECO Quiet Panel punctuates throughout the new layout, selected in a green tone to help break up spaces. Engineered for high noise absorption, it was a great choice to increase acoustic properties without compromising the aesthetic vision. “The visual appeal of this product was the key element as well as subduing as much sound as possible,” says Jaden. “It is the first time we had used Martini dECO products but have used them on several projects since; it looked really effective with incredible acoustic properties and was easy to install.”
The fitout encompasses an expansive open plan base with breakout spaces including chat rooms, smaller meeting rooms, a multi-use room, which can be set up for training, meetings and demonstrations as well as a large boardroom. The majority of the seating area is based on permanent seats with hot desks. A key feature is the central lunch room, which serves as a communal space where employees can come together to socialise and recharge. Amenities such as coffee, tea and appliances have been deliberately limited to this one area to further encourage walking breaks and staff connection between both floors. As a testament to CSR’s commitment to employee wellbeing, a dedicated wellness room features on the lower floor adjacent to a prayer room.
CSR Himmel’s market-leading Troldtekt product in natural wood was selected as a ceiling lining for the multi-use room and boardroom – the combination of wood and cement creates unique sound absorbing properties resulting in a perfect balance for these more private and quieter rooms. Additionally in these rooms, and to great effect, CSR Cemintel’s Territory range in the Urban Grey design was featured on some of the internal walls, complementing the natural and earthy colour palette. “We were extremely happy with the application of this structural product,” says Jaden. “It fitted perfectly with the design brief and was capable of handling the demands of the heavy technical equipment that was fitted onto it directly.”
A way of the future, the new fitout had to have a modern look and feel and be able to reference and showcase some of the company’s key building materials. “This was an opportunity to not only improve our office environment and create a space for people to enjoy and to boost employee engagement, but also a fantastic opportunity to showcase some of our key products,” says Luke. “Architects, designers, builders and specifiers are now able to experience the products first hand all in one suite.”
Further products specified from the CSR range include CSR Himmel Aluminium SOHO and aluminium partitioning. The SOHO series is a lightweight, cost-effective alternative to traditional glazing and provides designers with the option to retrofit windows and doors. It has been applied to the boardroom windows in various angles adding a contemporary appeal to the fitout. CSR Himmel aluminium skirting in black adds to the contemporary dynamic appeal of the new office. Engineered to meet the highest standards across a broad range of performance requirements, CSR Gyprock EC08 Complete plasterboard was used throughout the project, delivering the perfect background for the more striking elements of the new space.
“We were thrilled to be appointed to design and build the new office fitout for CSR,” says Jaden. “Our clients wanted to invest in a space that would assist in fostering collaboration and enhance the physical and mental health of its workers by providing state-of-the-art facilities in a bright and open layout. The result is remarkable and we were able to deliver the project ahead of schedule – we’re very proud of the outcome.”