28 Jan 2020 • Work
A company uses its hospitality-minded workspace to connect with its clients
‘“Everything you need to know about a person you can read on their LinkedIn” said no one ever’, reads a cheeky line of copy on Australian build company Cobild Design’s website. It nods to the disparity that can exist between one’s online and real-life persona. Increasingly, companies like Cobild want to get to know their clients in real time, to believe in their vision and match with their priorities before committing to a project – face-to-face exchange is how Cobild gets deep with clients. To set the stage for such interaction, local studio Mim Design incorporated elements of hospitality design in Cobild’s workspace.
The move from the cubicle offices of yesteryear to the hospitality-inspired workspaces of today suggest several cultural shifts. First, employers – and their employees – want their workspaces to feel more like a comfortable extension of home. This makes sense, considering that studies have shown that the happier the employee, the higher their productivity. Secondly, if a company’s ambition is to deepen interpersonal connection between company and client, the workspace is established as an important venue for exchange. Think of the difference between doing business in a beige boardroom versus in a thoughtfully-designed, sunny atrium.
To achieve a welcoming interior, Mim placed priority on material and craft. From a hand-stitched leather wall at the office entrance to stone islands in the kitchen, the spaces showcase the beauty of natural materials. An unconventional console choice rests off of the office entrance: a table-top supported by lacquered cylindrical legs.
In the workspaces, concrete columns sit on oversized pedestals with built-in planters. Work stations are aligned perpendicular to mesh-clad floor-to-ceiling windows. The building’s mesh cladding is a feature designed by Melbourne-based architecture studio Fieldwork – when Mim Design pierced a central atrium through the office’s two floor, the designers used a similar material to build the staircase. The resultant stair communicates a sense of ‘transparency’ – at least physically – and allows natural light to flood through the skylight to the floors below.
With its natural light, greenery and lounge spaces, Mim’s hospitality-minded interior for Cobild is as much of an employee amenity as it is a tool to cultivate client-company exchange.