Located in Pier 8/9 in the Walsh Bay Arts Precinct, the new Clemenger BBDO Sydney office acts as a blank canvas. Its central spine, ‘bleacher’ forum, graphic nature and flexible work settings insert modernity into the pier’s dark timber architecture and create the fluidity required to support agility and creativity.
The design for the new Clemenger BBDO Sydney office represents a singular, bold idea: to create a flexible space that speaks loudly of modernity and contrasts heavily against its heritage base building surrounds. The new office co-locates several Clemenger agencies over three levels in Pier 8/9, a repurposed historic wharf in Sydney’s thriving Walsh Bay Arts Precinct. Its design gives the business—Australia’s largest end-to-end marketing and communications company—a canvas on which they can stamp their identity.
For the concept, we imagined rolling out a large sheet of white butcher’s paper through the centre of the space. We translated this concept via a central spine that is saturated with large scale white and monochromatic elements. The spine’s graphic nature and its variety of work settings insert modernity into the pier’s dark timber and red iron architecture and create the flexibility required to support fluidity and change.
At the entrance of the office sits the ‘bleacher,’ a set of open steps that conceals the main meeting room and doubles as library shelving and as a stairwell to level two, moderating the floorplate’s scale. Most importantly, the bleacher serves as a central open forum where all staff can come together and generate ideas.
Clemenger tasked our team with eliminating hierarchy from their workspace so that their different agencies can seamlessly combine. Our design accomplishes this by programming the bleacher, a large staff café and shared workspaces as central to the spine. The blank canvas concept is also somewhat atypical; we usually design spaces with elements that directly reflect a client’s brand and business model. At Clemenger, however, the design forgoes brand specificity (for example, incorporating Clemenger red) in order to generate autonomy and fluidity through its white palette.
Designing for creative workers requires giving them spaces that will continuously stimulate ideas. Facilitating that environment necessitates rigorously planning workspaces that will support agility and ingenuity. This balance at Clemenger has been struck, and its flexibility and visual appeal will future proof its ability to inspire and engage the agency’s creative minds.