The brief from PwC to Futurespace was to design an extraordinary experience for their clients – one that had never been seen before. PwC wanted to take the best ‘out of industry’ aspects (from hotels, retail, airlines, restaurants, education spaces) to create an unexpected, purpose-led experience for PwC’s clients that differentiated them from their competitors.
In the last 20 years, Australian workplace design has been revolutionary. Many businesses in Australia have workspaces that are flexible, tech enabled, provide a great deal of choice to cater for individual needs and preferences, have collaborative and concentrative spaces, are sustainable, and focus on health and wellbeing. This level of amenity however has only ever been available to the staff of an organisation. Innovation when it comes to customer engagement and providing client spaces with the same level of amenity has not evolved in parallel.
Futurespace has designed approximately 9,000sqm of client collaboration floors for PwC Melbourne, creating a client experience that is memorable and geared towards innovation and collaboration. This project reimagines how an established global professional services firm could get ahead of disruption in business and work with clients in revolutionary, innovative ways.
Clients now have a huge range of choice in when and how they engage and collaborate with PwC, beyond a traditional boardroom meeting. They can meet in more open environments, more hospitality-style environments, or more technology-led environments to collaborate in ways they’ve never been able to before; or if they want to, they can still meet in the more traditional closed meeting space. This project recognises that our world is 24/7, that the 1950s notion of a boardroom is losing relevance, and that clients require unique, bespoke experiences to achieve their outcomes – not a cookie cutter one-size-fits-all approach.
A number of main themes underpin the design: new ways of working; technology (which is used throughout to enhance the experience); analogue interactions (co-creation, collaboration, hackathons, sandpits and other types of analogue interactions are supported by flexible, reconfigurable furniture and accessories); the stair (an interactive device creating a ‘bump’ factor for serendipitous interactions); inclusion and diversity (meeting room pods can be accessed by all); and a bold, Melbourne-centric aesthetic.
PwC has seen tangible business benefits: an increase in client visits, high user satisfaction, increased innovation and better staff attraction and retention. PwC has set the benchmark for how big business will collaborate and innovate well into the future – placing the client at the centre of the experience. We live in a fast moving, high tech, uncertain and constantly disrupted world and for businesses to remain one step ahead, the physical environment must support agility and innovation.
Photography: Nicole England