There is a shining jewel in the corporate crown of the country’s capital city. Located in Centurion, the new headquarters of mining giant Exxaro forms part of the second phase of Growthpoint’s Lakeside development. Recently completed, the development has garnered plenty of attention, both locally and abroad for its undeniable presence, and game-changing interior design and planning.
In addition to the impressive overall development of both Lakeside and Exxaro’s office, the inner workings of the project are looking to set a trend locally that will in all likelihood define the future design planning of most corporate developments. The office which can accommodate 1000 staff members in its 5 storey structure, naturally has complex work environment considerations. Adele van Zyl, Director at dhk thinkspace, a leading local interior architecture firm, said that their approach to the project was multi-faceted, but the underlying goal was to shift Exxaro’s work environment to an innovation inspiring, collaborative hub. “By factoring in activity based working into our design, we purposefully shifted the company towards a modern and collaborative environment, removing any friction and encouraging communication at every level in the organisation.”
The design and structure of the public spaces within the building, which serve as a central feature for visitors and staff, was a key focus area for the dhk thinkspace team. “The primary concept was to connect people in the common areas before they continue with their daily tasks, allowing them to share ideas and discuss what they are working on. This approach promotes collaboration, innovation and communication between Exxaro divisions that otherwise might have been isolated from each other”, said van Zyl. While great in concept, it was vital that Exxaro bought into the vision and embraced this approach. Suffice to say, they have since taken to it like a duck to water, working towards discovering the short- and long-term benefits of this new way of working. For van Zyl, the commitment to creating activity-based working from Exxaro was a pivotal aspect of the project. “The approach we took, which forms part of a growing international workspace trend, involves designing each area of each company function according to their unique needs and activities.” In essence, Activity Based Working (ABW), dispels ideas of the traditional workspace in favour of an agile and flexible environment which allows staff to work, interact, and collaborate in a way that best suits them and their needs.
Adding to this modern workplace environment, dhk thinkspace adopted the ideologies of the client, and brought the identity of the mining giant to life through their surroundings. Exxaro’s sectors of focus, namely water, energy, agriculture and coal formed the foundation of the underlying creative concept for the project. “These sectors and their symbolism formed an integral part of our design and the identity for the project,” says van Zyl.
While Exxaro is an undeniable presence in the area, it doesn’t mean it isn’t energy efficient and has in fact achieved a Green Star SA Design rating. This verification was a very important factor in this design, and with the building itself having a 5-star Green Star SA Design certification from the Green Building Council of South Africa, it was vital that all interior materials used also had to adhere to the strict requirements. Worth also noting, the vast majority of materials, furniture and fittings used were sourced locally. Adding to the cutting edge design and innovation in the building, a waterless urinal for females features in the office. While widely used Europe and in the U.S it is still new to our market.
Exxaro’s Headquarters has truly set the precedent for office build and design in the country, and is a shining example of what can be achieved through modern, well planned exterior and interior architecture. A focus on fostering and nurturing a collaborative culture within the organisation through space planning and activity-based working, will no doubt become the standard approach for future corporate office builds.
To see how Exxaro is utilising their new office and ABW visit https://www.exxaro.com/workplace