Curtis + Whitfeld were the ‘Small Office’ winner in the Australia-wide, Shaw Contract Group ‘Design Is’ 2015 competition.

Liberty International Underwriters is a global insurance underwriting company (LIU). Curtis + Whitfeld have been responsible for their office accommodation design for the past 14 years throughout Australia.

With their continued growth, coupled with the significant changes in workplace practices in this time, LIU are now embarking (with Curtis + Whitfeld’s encouragement) on subtle changes to their accommodation needs specific to each state they operate in.

The Location

The relocation of the Brisbane office to a new location on Eagle Street in the heart of Brisbane’s CBD, was the impetus to initiate some significant workplace changes in an effort to re-invigorate the Brisbane team and provide a more inspiring and varied environment to work in.

The Design

One of the driving factors behind the changes was to provide a more collaborative and engaging workplace with plenty of colour and access to natural light.

Elements of the ‘Activity based workplace’ practices (AWB) were to be employed in more of a hybrid form, in an effort to make the necessary changes more palatable.

Using Queensland’s sunny climate and fresh attitude to life as a trigger, Curtis + Whitfeld devised a scheme quite different to anything LIU had accepted in their offices nationwide previously.

The significant reduction of individual offices to just one, together with the move to a more streamlined desk system for each occupant has broken down the barriers of the old office environment.

This coupled with more meeting zones, quiet rooms and a designated ‘collaboration area’ has allowed staff to move away from the traditional desk based working scenario as required, without giving up completely, their individual workspace.

The staff have fully embraced the changes and are utilising all the spaces and zones now available to them.

The success of this fit out has also led to the implementation of a similar design for the Melbourne office.


The Flooring

According to Curtis + Whitfeld, the Shaw Contract Group Hexagon product is a ground breaking concept for carpet tiles. With the varied designs and vibrant colours available, Curtis + Whitfeld felt the imagery and shape was the perfect element to create a point of difference in the public areas.

The scheme and subtle pattern used throughout the fit out really does draw its influence from the carpet tiles used in the meeting and collaborative zones of the fit out.

The existing carpet tiles in the main working office environment were retained. Shaw Contract Group’s Hexagon carpet tiles were laid in public areas, meeting zones and in the collaboration area.

The base tile colours effectively complimented the existing carpet tile while introducing an exciting point of difference as you make your way from the open office area into the other zones.

The use of colour drop-ins defined various seating areas and made for a more ‘playful’ adjunct along corridors and circulation spaces, leading the eye through the various zones while creating ‘pop’s’ of colour and energy.

Apart from furnishing fabrics (which were influenced by the carpet colour palette) the remaining finishes have been kept predominantly neutral, so the carpet and fabrics really become the hero of the spaces where they are employed.

Curtis + Whitfeld feel the finished product is completely appropriate for Liberty’s new business environment. It displays a completely fresh approach for their Brisbane office with an element of fun and subtle sophistication.