Davenport Campbell


Join Us

Why join us
Join Australia’s top design studio where creativity and clever thinking are at the core of everything we do. We’ve been leading the charge in innovative workplace design, building refurbishment and educational design for the past 40 years. Now we’re looking for someone with great architectural design and documentation skills to join the team.
We’re not the biggest studio in the world because we are specialised in our work, but we are one of the best because we invest a lot in our people.
You will be made to feel very welcome by a team who help and support each other. We’re not keen on crazy long work hours but realise that sometimes deadlines get the better of us.
If you want to be part of something great and work with a great team on exciting projects then let’s start a conversation. We will take your application seriously. We will spend the necessary time with you during your interview to help map out a career path based upon your personal goals and aspirations so you can make an informed decision.

Your Role
We are looking for an architect with 5-10 years of experience who has a strong understanding of commercial building architecture and is interested in developing their skills a subject matter expert. This includes assessing the merits of major developments through to designing, documenting and overseeing works for building refurbishments. We also have education and community projects which include helping us with our earthquake relief effort in Nepal.
We are not looking to take on the big architectural firms. We focus on offering our existing clients a more comprehensive service and concentrate on working with a handful of investors and building owners.
This role requires that you take a high level of personal pride in your work, be accurate, have a confident can-do attitude and be happy to accept the guiding advice of others.
You will work directly with our Head of Built Environment and be face to face with our clients and manage the consultant team.
We will also assign you a mentor to help you realise your aspirations and goals.

Your Expertise and Skills

  • Experience as a project architect for small to medium sized commercial and public buildings
  • 5-10 years’ experience working as an Architect
  • Documentation in AutoCAD and developing concept designs in Sketch Up
  • Expert knowledge of the BCA, Australian Standards and accessibility requirements
  • An ability to lead projects across all stages – from initial client briefing though to the construction handover.
  • Being responsible for project budgets, program and resourcing
  • Lead or be involved in new business presentations and looking for new business opportunities

Please apply to Tom (Head of Built Environment) with your CV and portfolio at tsingleton@davenport-campbell.com.au

NRMA at Sydney Olympic Park

We’re proud to announce our latest project for NRMA at Sydney Olympic Park has been awarded with the 2017 Lighting Design Award of Commendation NSW Chapter. It was the only Lighting Design for Workplace to be crowned with a Lighting Design Award this year!
Not only that, but the new NRMA fitout in collaboration with FDC, has won the “BEST Commercial Building > $50 Million” at the Master Builders Association Excellence in Construction Awards.

Click here to see more photos and information about this project.

Commonwealth Bank Square – Nooks and Crannies

We all loved building cubby houses when we were young because they provided safe refuge and quiet from the adult world. Those same feelings are evoked in the nooks and crannies that sit on the edge of the workplace, places designed for people who just need a place to recharge and reflect upon the world.

To see the full project, head to: https://www.davenport-campbell.com.au/projects/commonwealth-bank-square/

Commonwealth Bank Square – The IT Café

Instead of standing in a line to get your computer fixed, the IT Café connects the IT support team with the people who need help and advice in an engaging and comfortable environment. Inspired by the retail environments created by Apple and Android, people at the CBA now have immediate access to a team that puts a professional edge to everything they do.

To see the full project, head to: https://www.davenport-campbell.com.au/projects/commonwealth-bank-square/

Commonwealth Bank Square – Hackable Spaces

The hackable space at Commonwealth Bank Square lets you create and use the space the way you want to. We all work in different ways so places that can divide, create different moods and capture the imagination are vital to developing a culture of creativity and innovation.

To see the full project, head to: https://www.davenport-campbell.com.au/projects/commonwealth-bank-square/

Designer Q&A Ben Vooderhake

Ben Voorderhake, a Senior Designer in our Sydney studio, was recently interview by JEB. To read the full interview click here.


The DC design team were delighted to be part of the official Sydney launch of the new Australian furniture collection, NAU by Cult Design.

The evening was hosted by the editor of Design Anthology magazine director Suzy Annetta who conducted an exclusive Q&A between two of the four Nau collection designers, Adam Goodrum and Adam Cornish as well as Cult Design founder and director, Richard Munao.

The discussion focussed on the primary objective for this collection being to create a range of furniture designed and manufactured by a group of Australia’s leading product designers and craftsmen.

The evening provided insight into the design and production process as well as an opportunity to interact with the collection.

As Australian designers we are particularly excited about this new collection as it represents a significant step forward in showcasing local design and quality manufacture on a global stage.

Click here to see the full collection.

The War on Waste

Did you know Australians use 1 billion disposable coffee cups each year?

Coffee cups are estimated to be the second-largest contributor to litter waste after plastic bottles. Our takeaway coffee cups, which look like they are made of paper, are actually covered in a thin layer of plastic, which takes 30 years for a single cup to break down.

It’s so important that we start curbing our taste for quick and disposable options, to reduce pressure on landfills and protect our oceans.


Here are some tips to reduce your waste (without giving up your coffee ritual!)

  1. Consider drinking coffee at a café rather than going for the plastic takeaway option.
  2. Get a reuseable cup.
  3. If you do get a takeaway coffee, refuse a lid.


The DC team is aiming to reduce our landfill waste through the use of DC branded re-usable cups from KeepCup for our team and guests.

Wellness Breakfast with Neill Johanson

Wellbeing, mindfulness and personal health are becoming increasingly important issues within our workplaces. The Australian Bureau of Statistics has identified that 7 in 10 men and 1 in 2 women are overweight or obese, clearly we have a health crisis in our community.


At the Wellness Panel discussion breakfast hosted by the National Association of Women in Construction (NAWIC) Neill Johanson from Davenport Campbell spoke about how well designed workplaces can improve people’s emotional and physical health but only when an organisation commits to programs that get people on their feet, eating good food and thinking positively about what they do. Personal accountability is just as important as we each have a role to play in maintaining our own wellbeing as well as the people we work with.


Help us rebuild an earthquake-proof disability school in Nepal

With thousands of schools completely destroyed in the 2015 Nepal earthquake, the education of an entire generation of Nepalese children is in jeopardy. Here at Davenport Campbell we are deeply committed to improving the lives affected by the earthquake and have partnered with the Australian Himalayan Foundation in a program to help rebuild schools. So far we have achieved success with the rebuilding of 10 earthquake-proof classrooms at the Garma Secondary College, a school for children with special needs in the remote Solukhumbu region – one of the worst affected areas of Nepal.


Our next goal is to rebuild the Garma school hall. This is an incredibly important structure as it will initially give the school the space to finally get EVERY child back to school while the remaining classrooms are under construction.


If you believe the children of Nepal deserve the same opportunities as our own kids, please donate here to help us give them a safe place to learn and grow.


(Photos by Conor Ashleigh)

Mirvac Delivers Australia’s Healthiest Workplace

Mirvacs HQ at 200 George Street has now received its Gold Certification from the International WELL Building Institute (IWBI). This is the first WELL rated workplace project competed by Davenport Campbell pointing the way forward as more organisations recognise the powerful role workplace design can play by improving, health, wellbeing and inturn staff engagement.

Read more at:  The Property Council of Australia

AECOM Industry Insight Series 2017

On Tuesday Neill Johanson was a guest speaker at the AECOM Industry Insight Series 2017 in Canberra.

Neill spoke about the benefits of well-designed work spaces and the growing amount of Australian organisations adopting Activity Based Working (ABW) principles to achieve improved business outcomes.

Objective evidence proves that better design improves employee productivity, performance and wellness.

The event was a great success and we would like to thank AECOM for having us.

SWELL Sustainability & Wellness Workshop

Caring about the planet is important to us. Designing in a sustainable and environmentally responsible way has always been at the heart of what we do and now with the evolving discussion about what constitutes as a healthy interior environment we have set out to re-define the core elements of sustainable design.

SWELL is our new initiative designed to bring together sustainability and wellness in a cohesive and thoughtful way.

The cost of an unhealthy and disengaged workforce is a staggering $22 billion in lost productivity in Australia and New Zealand per annum.

Its within this context that we undertook a companywide workshop to explore how we can improve human health by designing better workplaces.

Healthy food choices, wellbeing programs and flexible working choices need to combine with a workplace that encourages movement, settings that support sitting and standing and spaces that eliminate environmental toxins, minimize noise distractions and provide connections to nature.

The outcomes from this workshop will form our new design tools SWELL and lead to improved health outcomes for the people who work in the places we create for them.

2017 Industry Insights Series

Next Tuesday the 11th of July, Neill Johanson will be speaking at the AECOM Interactive Session Industry Insights Series.

Neill will be speaking about Human Design Thinking™ – how great design changes the way people work, feel and play on the topic of Activity Based Working (ABW).

The other guest speakers include Dr Megan Divett from Puzzle Partners and Dave Doctor from AECOM. The Interactive Sessions are taking place in Canberra next Tuesday.

To find out more about Human Design Thinking™ read about it in our Brand Book.

Celebrating Oscar Iturra’s 20th year anniversary at Davenport Campbell

Something remarkable is happening at Davenport Campbell today as we celebrate Oscar Iturra’s remarkable achievements over the past 20 years.

As a young and fearless graduate of Interior Architecture from the University of NSW Oscar has made a career of delivering workplace projects in new and innovative ways. Well over 100,000 people work in the environments he has developed.

These include major projects for HSBC, KPMG at Barangaroo, The Commonwealth Bank at Sydney Olympic Park, Darling Square and Darling Park and Mirvac at 200 George Street.

Oscar has pioneered many of the large workplace integration initiatives necessary to ensure financially positive outcomes for both the developer and the tenant.

He is now leading the integration works for the biggest workplace project in Australia at Australian Technology Park for the CBA.

We are so proud of the projects that Oscar has skilfully delivered over the past 20 years and his contribution towards building Davenport Campbells professional excellence and innovative workplace design and delivery.

2017 KE-ZU Design Tour

Sorrel Trevarthen from our office was invited to be part of the 2017 Kezu Design Tour of the Netherlands, Spain and Belgium to experience a firsthand insight into the manufacturing processes of the products imported by Kezu.

The 10 day tour included factory and showroom visits of the very best European furniture designers and manufactures Artifort, Enea, Andreu World, Expormim, Parachilna and Sancal. A tour highlight was meeting the craftsmen at Artifort and Andreu World who had been handmaking furniture for the past 50 years. Their pride and loyalty was evident in the quality of the furniture they produced.

Thanks to Kezu for an unforgettable trip.

To see images of Sorrel’s trip visit the @davenportcampbell instagram account.

A Traditional Aboriginal Smoking Ceremony to open new KPMG offices in Wollongong

A Traditional Aboriginal Smoking Ceremony welcomed KPMG to their new Wollongong offices on Monday morning.

The smoking ceremony was conducted by Yuin elder Uncle Max Harrison to “open the mind to the truth, seeking truth, speaking truth, hearing truth and living truth.”

Managing KPMG partner Warwick Shanks said it was important to KPMG to recognise and respect the traditional owners of the land, whilst Catherine Hunter, KPMG’s partner corporate Citizenship acknowledged that “Reconciliation is very important to our core values as an organisation.”

KPMG’s Reconciliation Action Plan and engagement with indigenous Australians embodies the values and culture of the firm. The Wollongong smoking ceremony marks the 5th KPMG office to receive an indigenous blessing and undergo a transformation in the way they work with their clients, partners and with each other.

Davenport Campbell is very proud to have designed KPMG’s new workplace in Wollongong.

To read more about the opening, visit the article published in the Illawarra Mercury.

DC Timeout – July – September 2017

Selected quarterly by the Davenport Campbell Team, DC Timeout brings together the events currently happening in Sydney that provides us inspiration through the fields of art, design, culture and entertainment.

Here’s what we’re really looking forward to seeing this quarter...



2 – 9th July 2017

NAIDOC Week is held in the first full week of July. It is a time to celebrate Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander history, culture and achievements and is an opportunity to recognise the contributions that Indigenous Australians make to our country and our society.

We encourage all Australians to participate in the celebrations and activities that take place across the nation during NAIDOC Week.

LOCATION: Various Locations

MORE: 2017 NAIDOC Week




9 – 16th July 2017

The Australian International Music Festival is one of our most popular and best attended events. With an average of 900 – 1,300 participants each year we regularly have groups from Australia, China, New Zealand, Japan, Singapore and the USA providing a fantastic musical and cultural experience.

This Music Festival is open to groups of all types but in particular Wind Bands, Orchestra, Choirs and Jazz Bands.

LOCATION: Various Locations





10th September 2017

Australia’s largest kite flying festival, Festival of the Winds, is on again at Bondi Beach. The skies will be full of kites of all sizes and shapes flown by professional local and international kite flyers, whilst below, dance and music from around the world will entertain.

LOCATION: Bondi Beach

MORE: Festival of the Winds




1st – 30th September 2017

Sydney Fringe presents over 300 productions in over 50 venues every September, celebrating local artists and encouraging new audiences to experience the independent arts of Sydney in order to build a stronger more sustainable sector.

Every night in secret venues across town, Sydney’s artists are conjuring up cultural gems, working tirelessly on their craft and cultivating the cultural heart of our city. Each September we invite you to join us, to discover, to experience and enjoy the wares of these incredible local artists.

LOCATION: Various CBD Locations

MORE: Sydney Fringe Festival

Neill Johanson with Nick Giannopoulos on ABC Radio

This morning our Principal Neill Johanson and comedian Nick Giannopoulos came together to assist a listener with a delicate dilemma involving an inconsiderate co-worker.

Charcoal tablets and a Donald Trump style wall were just some of the solutions put forward.

Click here to listen to this very entertaining segment

Neill Johanson on ABC Radio National

Listen to ABC Radio National at 9.40am this Friday to hear Davenport Campbell Principal, Neill Johanson share the microphone with comedian Nick Giannopoulos to dissect, discuss, unravel and attempt to solve a listener’s dilemma.

This week’s listener dilemma involves a careless co-worker with noisy bodily functions … tune in to find out how Neill and Nick deal with this delicate dilemma!

AHF Himalaya Day 2017

On Tuesday evening The Australian Himalayan Foundation (AHF) hosted an event to celebrate Himalaya Day 2017.

This year, guests at the event were able to see the progress of the reconstruction first hand via a video produced by Tom and Ben from our Built Environment team. The boys shot the video during their visit to Garma in November to provide an update on construction progress and share some insights into the lives of the people in the region.

You can see the video here.

We are very proud to be involved in such a direct and meaningful initiative.

All proceeds from the evening go towards the Australia Himalayan Foundation programs.

If you’d like to support re-building schools in Nepal, please visit the AHF website to donate or click here to donate to Climb for Education.

Linda Jocelyn [Photographer] 2017

Kitchen Table Cooking School

At Table we believe food is more than food”, says Rob Caslick, founder of Table and Two Good.

The Kitchen Table Cooking School teaches the power of good food to young and new parents, and works to create some beautiful and positive food memories for everyone who participates”.

On Tuesday night we were very proud to have styled the fundraising event to support the upcoming Kitchen Table Cooking School, hosted by the Sydney Fish Market Cooking School.

Through the volunteering work of the Two Good crew, the Davenport Campbell team and the chefs, the night hit the funding target. This will directly support the ‘Young Mums Cooking Course’ 6 week programme which teaches young mums in difficult living situations how to cook healthy meals for their children.

The evening featured chefs Mike McEnearney from Kitchen By Mike and Danielle Alvarez from Fred’s. Our guest chefs demonstrated how to prepare a nourishing 3 course meal.

All 60 participants worked in teams around a cooking station and prepared the meals demonstrated by the chefs. The sense of community was contagious!

Everyone then proceeded to the beautifully styled dining room to enjoy their cooking and share their stories.

We are incredibly honoured to be part of a such a hugely successful event.

Two Good Care Launch

Last Tuesday evening, a group of 60 people came together to share a dinner at a lavishly set table in Sydney’s Carriageworks.

Davenport Campbell are proud to have styled the event, the first of the Dinner series by We Are Table. The evening was a great success with 30 seats paid, 30 seats donated to domestic violence survivors and service providers. There are thousands of women living in safe houses around Australia and the aim is to let them know that they are loved, and that a whole community stands with them.

On the evening Two Good Co. also celebrated the launch of the ‘Two Good Care’ campaign. The campaign is an initiative by social enterprise ‘Two Good’ that delivers lovingly-prepared lunches and luxury care packs to women’s shelters and soup kitchens. Whenever you buy a beautiful Two Good Care Pack, ‘Two Good’ will donate another pack to a woman living in a safe house.

The Two Good Care campaign is a beautiful, simple, honest initiative that has the capacity to touch the lives of many women and children who are seeking refuge from domestic violence and abuse. Powerful gifts often come in small packages and these thoughtful products are not only lovely to use, but are also made of wholesome, natural ingredients. They allow us to take a small moment to care for ourselves with kindness and gratitude, knowing someone else is receiving the same” says Elizabeth Debicki, Australian actress and Two Good ambassador.

If you want to help support Two Good and the ‘Two Good Care’ initiative click here to #loveanothermother and purchase a Two Good Care pack from Two Good Co. for your mother this mother’s day.

Click here to read more about the event published in the Huffington Post.

DC Timeout – March – June 2017

Selected quarterly by the Davenport Campbell Team, DC Timeout brings together the events currently happening in Sydney that provides us inspiration through the fields of art, design, culture and entertainment.

Here’s what we’re really looking forward to seeing this quarter...



14 – 19th May 2017

Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Australia is Australia’s only international fashion platform, with a focus on providing Australian designers with a platform to connect with a global audience of buyers, press and consumers. A week long schedule of runway shows, presentations and key industry events will provide the Australian Fashion Industry with outstanding opportunities to maximise business outcomes.

The trade focused Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Australia will once again showcase the very best in design talent at Carriageworks, Eveleigh. The five-day schedule will include a curated selection of Australia’s established fashion designers as well as a showcase from the brightest emerging talent the country has to offer.

LOCATION: Redfern and Waterloo

MORE: Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week



22 – 28th May 2017

The Sydney Writers’ Festival is bringing some of the biggest names in literature to Sydney for one week of inspiring talks, panels and performances.

Join the Sydney Writers Festival as they present more than 300 events with over 400 participants in a week designed to stimulate, move, inspire and provoke.


MORE: Sydney Writers Festival



26th May – 17th June 2017

Vivid Sydney is a unique annual event of light, music and ideas, featuring an outdoor ‘gallery’ of extraordinary lighting sculptures, a cutting-edge contemporary music program, some of the world’s most important creative industry forums and, of course, the spectacular illumination of the Sydney Opera House sails.

The multi-award-winning winter festival of light, music and ideas returns to illuminate Sydney with exciting new precincts to explore, mesmerising new light art to inspire and plenty of entertainment for everyone.

LOCATION: Various CBD Locations

MORE: Vivid Sydney



30th March – 18th June 2017

The National: New Australian Art presents the latest ideas and forms in contemporary Australian art, curated across three of Sydney’s premier cultural institutions: the Art Gallery of New South Wales, Carriageworks and the Museum of Contemporary Art Australia.

LOCATION: Various CBD Locations

MORE: The National

2017 Stockholm Furniture & Light Fair

Ben Voorderhake joined Cult on a trip to the Stockholm furniture fair and to Denmark to visit Cult’s partners and to gain insights into emerging workplace tends. The Stockholm Furniture and Light Fair is a boutique fair that showcases Scandinavia’s most innovative and creative furniture designers and manufacturers. This year Carl Hansen & Son, Republic of Fritz Hansen, Magis, Erik Jorgensen, Gubi, Mater, Hay, Louis Poulsen and Offecct all subtly making the point that furniture needs to be work enabling to support the agile workplace. The week-long trip also took in the sights of Copenhagen, visiting Cult’s partners the Republic of Fritz Hansen, Vipp, Montana, Hay and Louis Poulsen.

The highlight of the trip was the visit to the Carl Hansen factory in Aarup which provided a brief glimpse into how their timeless furniture is made. A remarkable example of how a traditional craft focused company has moved into modern manufacturing era without losing its handmade traditions and dedication to quality.

Thanks to Richard and Michelle from Cult for a truly memorable trip.

Innovative Learning Environments Tour of Finland

In 2016, Ben Nemeny from our Built Environment team visited Finland to glean insights from the pedagogies and architecture of some of the best schools in the world. We are now using what we’ve learnt to help design even better schools here in Australia. Our observations from the trip are shared in the report below.

Click here to view the full publication.

Australian Design Review

Co principals, Neill and Peter were featured in today’s Australian Design Review.

Neill and Peter share their challenges and aspirations as architects and interior designers and offer their insights into running a practice. They also provide some insights into the community work Davenport Campbell are carrying out in Nepal.

Read the story about a studio who are redefining workplace design here.

IMM Cologne 2017

Davenport Campbell designer Kat McMahon was invited to attend the COR sponsored trip to IMM Cologne 2017. IMM is the first interiors show of the year, which presents the furniture and interior design trends of 2017. Each year the city of Cologne hosts over 150,000 visitors to showcase an enormous number of up and coming designers, design labs, independent studios and internationally renowned furniture designers to showcase their work and present future product concepts.

The trip also included a couple of nights in COR’s hometown Rheda Wiedenbrück, which enabled Kat to explore the town along with the COR museum and showroom. COR Haus provided excellent inspiration for commercial applications and houses the largest selection of COR furniture in the world. The highlight of the trip was the visit to COR’s factory, which allowed the group to see the care, precision and quality that is inherent in every COR product – from concept, construction, product shipment, to the guarantee of a quality product.

The trip was a truly unforgettable experience – huge thanks to COR for hosting Kat for the week!

Australian Himalayan Annual Report

Our pro bono work in Nepal continues with Carolyn Hamer-Smith, the General Manger of the Australian Himalayan Foundation providing a summary of the school reconstruction program in the AHF’s latest Annual Report.


Please download and read page 5 of the 2015 – 2016 Annual Report and read about our ongoing work with the Australian Himalayan Foundation here.

DC Timeout – January – March 2017

Selected quarterly by the Davenport Campbell Team, DC Timeout brings together the events currently happening in Sydney that provides us inspiration through the fields of art, design, culture and entertainment.

Here’s what we’re really looking forward to seeing this quarter...



7th – 29th January 2017

Xuberant, exciting and forever effervescent – the best time to experience Sydney is in January, when the city is in full celebratory mode. Sydney Festival presents the biggest and best of the world’s performing and visual arts, all coming together in an avalanche of artistic activity.

From the central business district to Parramatta, Sydney Festival brings to life unique spaces including the Festival Village in Hyde Park, Sydney Town Hall and The Domain, as well as making the most of Sydney’s best venues including Carriageworks, Riverside Theatres and Sydney Opera House.

LOCATION: Various CBD Locations

MORE: Sydney Festival



3rd November – 5th March 2017

One of Japan’s leading contemporary artists, Tatsuo Miyajima is known for immersive and technologically-driven sculptures and installations that feature light-play and time cycles. This Sydney-exclusive exhibition will be his first major survey exhibition in the Southern Hemisphere, encompassing key works from the beginnings of his career to the present.

The cyclical repetition of numbers, along with a shifting from light to dark, reflect the fascination with time in Miyajima’s work. He draws inspiration from Buddhist philosophy, with its exploration of mortality and human cycles of death and renewal.

LOCATION: MCA – 140 George Street, The Rocks

MORE: Tatsuo Miyajima – MCA



27th January – 12th February 2017

In 2017, Sydney will be illuminated by giant Lunar Lanterns representing the animal signs of the zodiac as we celebrate the Year of the Rooster.

More than 1 million people will flock to 80 spectacular events in Sydney’s Chinese New Year Festival, making it one of the largest Lunar New Year celebrations outside China. Find your zodiac amongst the Lunar Lanterns popping up around the city, enjoy cocktails, music and performance at the Westpac Lunar Lanterns Hub in Martin Place, then join the bustling crowds enjoying the flavours and sights of traditional celebrations in Chinatown.

LOCATION: Various CBD Locations

MORE: Chinese New Year



4th November 2015 – 3rd March 2017

Enjoy the long summer evenings at the annual Twilight Food Fair in North Sydney’s Civic Park – a great way to end the week with delicious hot food and live entertainment!

This season we have a fantastic international line-up of food stalls and live music to help you unwind and ease you into the weekend. BYO picnic rug, family and friends!
See you there from 5:30 pm to 9:30 pm every Friday night from November 4 to March 3.

LOCATION: Civic Park, North Sydney

MORE: North Sydney Twilight Food Fair



Kirsty Argyle was lucky enough to join this year’s Wilkhahn sponsored trip to Orgatec. Every two years the city of Cologne comes alive as the centre for innovation in furniture design hosting the world’s best designers and suppliers of commercial furniture systems.

The week-long trip also took in the architectural sights of Hamburg, Wilkhahn’s fantastic HQ in Bad Munder, a night in a castle, finishing in Munich a week later. The highlight of the trip by far the time at the Wilkhahn HQ in Bad Munder which provided a brief glimpse into how these amazing products are made end to end. From the shell of a chair, the upholstering, assembly of components right down to the final packaging of each item ready to be sent out into the world.

A truly memorable experience.

Davenport Campbell on The Morning Show – Rebuilding Nepal

This morning Davenport Campbell principal Neill Johanson was joined by architects Ben Nemeny and Tom Singleton from the Built Environment team on The Channel 7 Morning Show, discussing the progress of the School Reconstruction program following their return from Nepal last month.

Since Neill’s appearance on Channel 7 in April, Tom and Ben have spent time in Nepal where they spent 2 weeks visiting Garma High School to assist directly on the reconstruction of the school. They worked closely with the head engineers and builders to supervise the selection of appropriate construction materials and to make minor modifications to the masterplan.


To find out more about the interview please visit The Morning Show here.

If you would like to help make a difference to the lives devastated by the Nepal earthquakes you can visit Climb for Education or The Australian Himalayan Foundation to make a donation. You can also visit DC Nepal Page to stay up to date with the progress of the rebuild in Nepal.

Davenport Campbell in the Huffington Post

This morning Davenport Campbell’s Head of Brand + Culture and Senior Designer Emma Davenport was featured in the Huffington Post discussing work behaviour and the parallel relationship of the use of a ‘third space’ for a thriving workplace.

A ‘third space’ is best described as a workplace environment that’s neither the home or the office but a cafe, library or a co-working office space. These in-between spaces are ideal for more introverted workers who feel that they can’t deliver their best work in a highly collaborative, open, noisy and over stimulated work environment.

A very interesting and insightful read into the workplace of the future. Please view the full article here.

Feeding a future for survivors of domestic violence

Co-founders of Two Good, Rob Caslick and Cathal Flaherty started the Inside Out Organic Soup Kitchen (IOOSK) at St Canice’s Church in Rushcutters Bay six years ago, which now has expanded into Two Good, We Are Table, Young Parents Cooking School, Grow Horticultural Therapy and Table Talks. All initiatives focus on giving back to the homeless and victims and survivors of domestic violence.

The Two Good initiative is built on simple business model, you buy one and you treat one. For every meal purchased the same meal is given to someone in need, a simple gesture making a huge difference to hundreds of victims. On average Two Good delivers 200 meals a week across 8 refuges and 2 soup kitchens in Sydney which Caslick hopes will expand to every refuge across the country by the end of next year.

Last week SBS aired a 5 minute video about the Two Good initiative. For many of us domestic violence seems like a big problem, too hard to do anything meaningful about, but Two Good is setting out to change all that.

To get involved and to find out more please visit Two Good website or the We Are Table Facebook page.

2016 Karate Day & Guinness World Record Challenge in Japan

Last month Davenport Campbell Designer Lawrence Lee, attended the 2016 Karate Day Demonstration and Guinness World Record Challenge in Okinawa Prefecture, Japan. People from all the around the world travelled to Kokusai Street, Naha City to break the current Guinness World record for the largest number of people simultaneously performing a kata (a kata is a detailed choreographed series of karate movements).


The goal was for 3,000 people to perform the same kata simultaneously. The previous record was 809 people who performed a joint kata in India so it was also important for the Karate community in Japan to bring the record back to the birthplace of Karate.

We are pleased to say that the old record was smashed. 3,973 participants performed the kata it Okinawa – 5 times more than the previous record!


A huge congratulations to Lawrence and his 3,972 team mates for breaking the world record! Click here to read more about 2016 Karate Day or here to see a the action.


Jordan Springs Community Hub

We are excited to announce that site works at the Jordan Springs Community Hub have begun.

To mark the beginning of construction we interviewed Tom Singleton, Head of Built Environment, to discuss Davenport Campbell’s approach to design through Human Design Thinking. Tom also gave us some great insights into the use of Cross Laminated Timber (CLT) engineering on the project. CLT is the construction material of the future with significant health, environmental and economic benefits.

To find out more check out the full interview on our YouTube channel.


On Ben and Toms return from Nepal we would like to thank the families and students at the Garma High School for gifting us all a Khata.

Each Khata contains a mantra or prayer embedded within the fabric, wishing each of us good health, happiness and peace.

Tom and Ben Arrive in Garma

Ben and Tom, two members of our Build Environment Team have arrived at Garma, South of Mt Everest. With David Francis and other members of the Australian Himalayan Foundation and their affiliated NGO REED, they are there to provide assistance on the school reconstruction program currently underway.

It’s been 18 months since we commenced work on a master plan to organise and rebuild the school after the devastating 2015 ANZAC Day earthquakes.


With the passing of the Monsoon, work has accelerated. The community are currently laying down stone floors for the base of the building and the classrooms are being assembled with steel frames from India which will arrive in a couple of weeks.


The guys took over 20kgs of classroom supplies donated by our team. These supplies will be given to the children at Garma High School to help with their education program.



If you would like to make a contribution to the people of Nepal you can visit our foundation Climb for Education or donate to The Australian Himalayan Foundation.

To see more images and for live updates visit our Facebook, Instagram and Nepal page.


Tom and Ben in Nepal

Saturday the 29th of October, Tom and Ben from our Built Environment team are off to Nepal to continue their voluntary work in Garma.

On their two week trip the boys will visit Garma High School to participate first hand in the schools reconstruction program.

Ben and Tom will arrive in Kathmandu and begin a 3 day trek to the school where they will review the masterplan and oversee construction. They will also travel to other schools in the region on behalf of The Australian Himalayan Foundation.

Our team at Davenport Campbell team collected gifts which include recorders, art supplies, bracelet making kits and school books for Ben and Tom to distribute to the children at Garma School. If you would like to contribute to our efforts in Nepal please click here to donate to the Climb for Education foundation.

Look out for live updates from Ben and Tom on our Facebook, Instagram and Nepal page.

We Are Table event Table Talk

On the 27th of October, Table Talk by We Are Table was launched. We Are Table is the combination of the programs Grow, Two Good, Young Mums Cooking School and Table Talks. Davenport Campbell are proud sponsors of the event and this year we styled the heritage Elston room at Carriageworks, Eveleigh. Food writer, restaurant critic and cookbook author Jill Dupleix hosted the evening of inspiring talks, music performance and artworks all linked by food.


We Are Table believe that ‘food is more than food’. When good food and people come together, there’s potential to make a real difference. That’s why our story begins and ends with shared moments in the garden, the kitchen, and around the table.


Table cloths designed by Sydney artists were displayed and auctioned on the evening to raise money for We Are Table’s cause towards people in need.

BVN Architecture collaborated with the artists to make this possible.


The evening was a huge success and we would like to extend our thanks to all the generous sponsors and all involved in making the night possible.

We are proud to continue our support of We Are Table. Click here to visit their website to find out more.

We Are Table is an organisation made possible by the tireless work of founder Rob Caslick, his team and all the volunteers that donate their time, visit their Facebook page here.

To view all images by Nikki To visit our Facebook page here.

Work 2.0 Conference & Expo

Davenport Campbell’s Co-Principal Peter Wager was a guest panelist for Workplace of the Future at Work2.0 Expo and Conference at the end of last month at Australian Technology Park Precinct in Eveleigh.

Work2.0 combines four leading conferences and a trade show that examines how to enable people to thrive in their workplace. The four different categories; Future of Work, Wellness at Work, Learning at Work and HR Tech all explore ideas and solutions to boost productivity, collaboration, wellness, flexibility, motivation, creativity, innovation and entrepreneurship.

The Future of Work conference is dedicated to changing the nature of work and transforming the workplace with technology. Peter was on the panel that discussed Master Planning for the Future: Office Design Innovation, where he introduced Davenport Campbell’s Human Design Thinking approach.

We welcome you to read our story and join our quest to change the world though Human Design Thinking.

Davenport Campbell’s work featured in Sydney Open 2016

We are delighted that Sydney Open 2016 selected the workplace we designed for Mirvac at 200 George St Sydney to promote their event.

For one weekend a year, Sydney Open unlocks the doors of the city’s most important, inspiring and intriguing buildings and spaces. We are very proud that our work in the Mirvac workplace has been included in the selection.

Levels 27 and 28 of the Mirvac workplace at 200 George St Sydney are open from 10am – 4pm on Sunday November 6.

To find out more click here.


As part of our ongoing relationship with the Australian Himalayan Foundation, the team at Davenport Campbell attended the AHF Gala last Thursday night at the Sofitel Hotel in Sydney.

The line-up of entertainment included an acoustic performance by special guests Peter Garrett and Martin Rotsey alongside traditional Nepalese dancers. Nepalese mountaineer elder Pertemba Sherpa was the guest speaker who spoke about his mission to make Mt Everest safer with better regulations, organisation and care.

All profits from the evening will fund projects providing assistance to communities in the Himalayas. If you’d like to support re-building schools in Nepal, please visit the AHF website to donate or click here to donate to Climb for Education.

Tom and Ben from our office will be leaving for Nepal in two weeks’ time to participate first hand in the school reconstruction program.

The evening was a great success. We are very happy and proud to support to the AHF and provide assistance to help rebuild Nepalese communities.

Table Talk – October 2016

This October we would like to introduce to you Table Talk by We Are Table.

For six years, volunteers at Two Good have been providing a space for people from all walks of life. The volunteers help the community to create, grow, cook and share together, through a range of social outreach projects at St Canice’s in Rushcutters Bay. Two Good recently launched We Are Table and will debut their new event Table Talk, on Thursday the 27th of October.


Table Talk will be hosting an incredible line up, with some of Sydney’s best culinary chefs, inspirational journalists, musicians and entertainers at the beautiful Carriageworks precinct in Eveleigh, Sydney. ACME and Bar Brose chefs Mitch Orr and Analiese Gregory will cook alongside Christine Manfield and Pasi Petanen to create an unforgettable dining experience. The food on the evening will be locally grown produce from Cana Farm and Feather & Bone, served with Australia’s best brews from Young Henrys, Young & Rashleigh, Madfish and Bibendum Wines.

The fundraising arm of We Are Table is Table Cloth, where artists such as Nell, Mika Utzon Popov and Antonia Pesenti have designed table cloths for sale which will be displayed on the evening.

We are proud to continue our support of We Are Table. Click here to buy tickets to the event to find out more about Table Talk.

We Are Table is a great organisation made possible by the great work of their volunteers, visit their Facebook page here.

Meet the Client – KPMG Chairman Martin Blake Talks about the Firm’s New Inspired Workplace

In a business where human talent and their expertise is your product, workplace design becomes more than a commodity, says Martin Blake, it’s a critical driver of success.

“We’re operating in a complex and disruptive world, with challenging competitors and a limited talent pool of bright young people to deliver our value. We need to be agile in our thinking to stay ahead of the competition.”

The physical workspace, argues Blake, is central to the wellbeing and mindset of people and their productivity.

From the 28th floor of Sydney’s spectacular Barangaroo office tower that is home to accounting, tax and advisory behemoth KPMG in Sydney, chairman Martin Blake reflects on how the simple need for office design impacts the capacity of the firm’s ultimate success and shapes its culture.

“We have 2,500 employees in Sydney alone with an average age of just 27. It’s essential to create a positive environment that allows our people to work in the best way they can and to stimulate their sense of belonging to something bigger than just themselves,” says Blake.

Davenport Campbell collaborated with KPMG Australia to create an agile workspace that would encourage interaction and connectedness and stimulate creativity and innovation. KPMG is in the business of solving complex problems for clients so putting people together to create and challenge thinking is critical.

The design has been years in the making. Chairman Blake recalls long conversations starting more than three years ago about the firm’s vision for a new workplace with DC’s principal, Neill Johanson.

Blake says the discussions focused on the core challenge: How do we create a space where our people and their talent could come together quickly, easily and think with agility.

“That’s how you create innovation and entrepreneurialism. It’s not by sitting at a desk writing a document.”

Blake says he wanted to give people freedom and choice about how they work, reflecting the firm’s guiding principles of autonomy, connection, edge and conscience.

“Today, you can’t control bright, ambitious people and expect them to exceed and excel. You need to allow them freedom and space to get the job done. The physical workspace has a visceral effect on people; it stimulates positive emotion and interaction.”

“Connectedness creates a deep opportunity to deliver better advice and solutions for clients.”

The way teams have been co-located has enabled the firm to get the right people in the right places, leading to more collaborative thinking and working, especially across teams and service lines.

Blake says he’s already seeing changing behaviours and work patterns, with people and whole teams moving on and between floors freely, finding collaborative spaces to huddle and check-in on projects.

What’s more gratifying for Blake is the social dividend. Employees are sharing meal times and collaborating at communal tables in the central kitchen area. Fuelled by KPMG’s commitment to healthier work through better nutrition and wellbeing, a new sense of community is shaping itself.

The bottom line, says Martin Blake, is the realisation that a happier workplace is more productive.

Ultimately clients visiting the new offices will see and feel the difference design has made to the culture and atmosphere of the firm.

“When clients notice the engagement of our people we will gain a competitive edge.”

Telstra Innovation Award

For the fourth year in row we have been recognised by the National Association of Women in Construction (NAWIC), for Team Innovation. This award rewards the significant contribution a group of woman have made to a major development in NSW.

This year we received the Merit Award for the Telstra Future Ways of Working project at 400 George Street Sydney. The awarded team includes Telstra as the client, Lendlease as the Project Manager and Davenport Campbell as workplace experts. We are proud help Telstra align their Flexi work philosophy with this major new workplace in Sydney. Our shared aim is to help people become more productive and happy at work.

IMG_4364 (002)_Cropped2

It was the team’s combined vision, strong work ethic and creativity that came to the attention of the judges.

The team continues to apply the Future Ways of Working approach to Telstra’s property portfolio Australia wide with the same commitment to innovation and team work.

Millennials in the Workplace

A couple of weeks ago, Haworth in collaboration with Workcollectiv held a session with a group of Millennials in the design industry, which aimed at uncovering the general attitudes of this generation in the workplace. The round table discussion opened with defining the Millennial generation as any individual born between 1980 and 2000. This group will make up 50% of the workforce by 2020 making this case study extremely important. The findings from the session will form part of a white paper that will be circulated within the design industry to encapsulate what this generation expect from their work, employer, work life and how this generation differs from preceding generations.

Expectations of the Workplace / Why We Differ from Previous Generations

The main defining factor between Millennials and other generations is what we expect in our workplace and line of work. We are the generation who have experienced the evolution of modern technology, the accessibility of travel, the importance of health and the impacts of choice (styles of learning, university degrees, career options etc).

We are more empowered and in a way enjoy greater freedom when it comes to choice of work, location of work and how we define our own work life.

From the outset, schools and universities encourage agile learning, allowing students to have the ability to choose how and where they work. This background influences what we expect from the workplace. Furthermore, studies in health and wellbeing, especially surrounding day to day life (which encapsulates an individual’s work day) highlight the importance of movement (eg. variety of setting, sit-to stand) along with the importance of social connection.

Moreover, we are a generation that fosters movement as we have a greater opportunity to do so – physically from country to country, state to state or movement from industry to industry and profession to profession.

How Does the Workplace Foster Innovative Thinking

‘Innovation’ was a term that was used a lot during our session. We were asked what we believed innovation was – whether it was work style, variety of settings in workplace, technology impacts, company structure etc.

The question was also posed as to whether our workplaces ‘practice what they preach’, for example Activity Based Working, and how the workplace can foster innovative thinking.

Our view was that this was dependent on the type of work undertaken, the variation in workplace settings, leadership structure, technology capabilities & how a company compares to its competitors (locally and internationally).

Technology and it’s Impacts

We were asked the question “would technology be a main driver for you to work in a workplace?”.

Surprisingly no-one in the focus group said this would be a main driver when seeking out employment. Factors such as career progression, salary, movement, opportunity, workplace, clients, work and relationships at work are a larger driver compared to technology.

Work Life Balance

One of the main findings from the session was the value Millennials place on work-life balance.

This covered the importance of flexible hours and the ability to work from wherever, whenever. The social nature of the workplace was also an important part of what Millennials value, alongside wellness and employer incentives surrounding this.

Most in the study group said they wished they had greater choice in hours – i.e. starting earlier or later, or working from home or collaboration spaces and so on.

Ironically, when we were asked “if one company had a great work-life balance and the salary was less than another company that had no work-life balance and a greater salary which one would you pick?” The majority of the group chose the greater salary.

Relationship Between Employer and Employee

This was an important factor to everyone in the focus group. We highlighted the importance of having an accessible relationship with our employer.

Most emphasised the importance of a relationship based on mutual respect and working with someone who you believe is a leader. Most stated that a good employer was someone who was easily accessible, and who would be able to provide feedback / criticism / critique / compliments.

Career Progression & Growth

This was one of the main points that was covered by the group and the importance of career progression in your workplace or in your field of work.

The conversation highlighted that we are more likely to change jobs and career paths throughout our career as better and different opportunities become more accessible both globally and locally.

We all spoke about our intention to move overseas to travel and work in the design industry within the next couple of years.

Quite a few people mentioned that they did not see themselves in their current role for the rest of their work career. Many people said they would chop and change within the design industry (e.g. from interior designer, to exhibition designer etc.), or move out of the industry all together.

Collectively we all believed that there was greater opportunity to do this compared to previous generations.

Overall it was an incredibly informative session that bought to light many corresponding ideas that are held by the Millennial generation.

Aussie Home Loans Opening

It’s been 25 years since John Symond set up Aussie Home Loans in the back of the family home. Looking back it was truly visionary for someone to take on the big banks by offering a 24 hour service and significant cheaper home loans. Aussie brought competition and innovation to the financial services industry that enabled many Australians to build a strong financial future for their families. This established Aussie as one of Australia’s most recognisable and iconic brands.

That desire to succeed, continually innovate and deliver outstanding service to their customers remains evident in their new workplace at Grosvenor Square, Sydney.

Proud of their latest achievement, John Symond the Executive Chairman congratulated the team from Davenport Campbell for their inspiring work and introduced the Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull who officially opened the new HQ.



Selected quarterly by the Davenport Campbell Team, DC Timeout brings together the events currently happening in Sydney that provides us inspiration through the fields of art, design, culture and entertainment.

Here’s what we’re really looking forward to seeing this quarter...


25th June – 9th October 2016

For the first time, Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera masterpieces are exhibited in Sydney. The exhibition is a combination of paintings, photographs and film at the Art Gallery of NSW. The private collection titled ‘Frida and Diego’ gives insight to the lives of the world’s most renowned Mexican artists.

LOCATION: Art Gallery of NSW

MORE: Frida and Diego


1st – 30th September 2016

Sydney Fringe Festival is back this September for it’s 7th year, celebrating with it’s largest program yet. With over 300 shows crammed into 50 venues across Newtown, Erskinsville, Marrickville, Redfern and Surry Hills. The program includes theatre, dance, circus, literature and poetry with the opening party taking place on Stanley Street in Darlinghurst on Saturday the 3rd of September.

LOCATION: Various CBD Locations

MORE: Sydney Fringe Festival


2nd – 11th September 2016

Sydney Design 2016 is now in its 19th year. This annual contemporary design festival creates a platform for a convergence of people, ideas and activities across creative industry sectors.

Sydney Design program content provides visitors with an opportunity to unpack design in all its forms – to understand and explore the processes, functions and narratives within design enterprise and to be inspired by the exhibitions and people involved in creating our futures.

This year with the festival theme, Make or Break, we examine the tension between success and failure and explore how designers are creatively using and deconstructing production methods and design histories to create solutions.

LOCATION: Various CBD Locations

MORE: Sydney Design Festival


16th July 2015 – 9th October 2016

Arhchibald, Wynne and Sulman Prize is awarded annually to the best portrait, preferably of some man or woman distinguished in art, letters, science or politics, painted by some of Australia’s most prominent artists. This year you can view the winning portrait and the 2016 finalists at the Art Gallery of NSW until the beginning of October.

LOCATION: Art Gallery of NSW

MORE: Archibald, Wynne & Sulman Prize

KPMG Barangaroo featured in Commercial Real Estate

Yesterday, the new KMPG workplace at Barangaroo was featured in the Commercial Real Estate section of the Sydney Morning Herald. The article will provide you with an insight into the innovative design and sustainability principles that define KPMG’s workplace of the future.

Davenport Campbell were asked to help transform the way KPMG works by giving life to their primary work place goal of ‘”inspiring confidence and empowering change” whilst supporting innovation and well-being.

Our first step was to design a pilot space where over 1000 employees tested new ways of work and next generation collaborative technology over three years. The pilot space was highly successful and was instrumental part of the business case for change.

“It was like a giant sandpit where we could test ideas. We learnt what to do – and what not to do,” Neill Johanson, Davenport Campbell

Lessons learnt from the pilot space were then applied to the KPMGs new HQ at Barangaroo. One of the greatest learnings was the importance of creating spaces that would encourage staff to think and work differently.

“…everyone has access to all levels of the organisation which has really improved employee engagement.” Martin Blake, KPMG NSW chairman.

To read more click here.

Mirvac HQ featured in InDesign Live

Today, Davenport Campbell were featured in InDesign Live for our involvement of 200 George Street, the home of Mirvac Head Quarters.

Mirvac’s objectives for the interior design of the workplace needed to reflect the shift in the business to an agile working culture. The company had a vision for its new workplace to attract the best talent as an industry leader and allow them to flourish, productively and emotively.

The first thing we did was to develop a Living Lab or pilot space. This experiment of putting people into a mini version of the HQ project was an effective way of testing new ideas, prior to whole heartily committing to the next step. We observed how people used the space for different types and modes of work; from detailed, problem solving work, to huddles and creative play or brainstorming. We watched introverts and extroverts and discovered where they worked best. Mirvac had never experienced dynamic working before so we couldn’t just assume they’d adapt positively to new innovative ways of working.

“It’s not often you get a chance as a designer to create something that has the potential to remarkably transform the way an organisation works,” Neill Johanson.

To read the full article click here.

Mirvac HQ on Channel 9 News

Davenport Campbell’s design of Mirvac’s new innovative workplace headquarters at 200 George Street, Sydney was recently featured in a special report on the Nine Network’s TV News.

Mirvac HQ is part of the innovative EY Centre and features 7000 sqm of cutting edge technology and workplace design for the company’s 620 employees. The EY Centre is one of the first new office towers in the rejuvenation of the Circular Quay business precinct.

The Mirvac HQ workspace is designed to foster an agile working culture where employees can collaborate in teams for creative brainstorming, break out in small groups to progress projects or find quiet spaces to reflect and reenergise. Employees can choose to work at standing desks, huddle small group tables or in find private areas to work on focus tasks.

View the news clip here.

Attracting and Keeping Top Talent

In the race to remain competitive, organisations often neglect the role the workplace can play in helping a company become an employer of choice.

In a recent article posted by Linked In “Top Attractors”, some insights are provided into the priorities Australia’s major organisations place on culture, flexible working conditions including ABW and social capital.

Davenport Campbell has worked closely and extensively with both KPMG ( Number 1 Attractor ) and the CBA ( Number 3 Attractor ) to help shape their workplaces and give life and purpose to these values.

UNSW – Davenport Campbell Award

Davenport Campbell have been involved with the Faculty of Built Environment at the University of New South Wales for over 15 years, supporting up and coming graduates.

The Davenport Campbell Prize, is an award that is granted to the best submission in the final year design project in Interior Architecture.

Congratulations to Simone Daly Sorokowski for her Living Lab design. The lab is an engaging, flexible and inspiring space that promotes a new way of thinking, idea making and engaging through architecture and form.

We look forward to our continued association with the University of New South Wales and supporting future design talent.

Companies find flexible workplaces essential for success

Telstra has been featured in The Australian Financial Review online this week as an organisation driving workplace change in a positive manner.

The article has a particular focus on Telstra’s new Sydney flagship workplace at 400 George Street and features an interview with Telstra’s general manager of workplace strategy and operations in Sydney, Nicole Birbas.

We are proud to be Telstra’s design partners on this project.

“Telstra’s organisational changes at its flagship 400 George Street operations in Sydney have placed it at the cutting edge of companies set to reap a productivity bonanza”. This is the message from the director of Quantum Market Research Richard Frost who is also featured in the article.

“They have definitely conveyed the right message to future employees that they are flexible, agile and innovative, realising the importance of effective collaboration.”

Asked to comment on Telstra’s transformation strategy Frost says, “it looks like an ideal workplace”.

Read the full article here

“Why I’m Here”

We launched a new initiative at DC LAB called “Why I’m Here”.

We’re not lawyers, bar tenders or accountants. For some reason each of us said to ourselves at some point “I want to be a designer”. Why I’m Here is about pulling us out of our day to day mindset and refocusing on those reasons.

Our first session was run by Ben. He explained his design mission this way:

“I am a designer to help build relationships and to make our world friendlier and more collective.”

The Daily Edition – Rebuilding Nepal

On Wednesday Neill Johanson was interviewed on Channel 7’s, The Daily Edition show about his experience in Nepal at the time of the ANZAC earthquakes and Davenport Campbell’s pledge, Climb for Education.

In the year since the ANZAC earthquakes, Davenport Campbell have been working alongside the Australian Himalayan Foundation to rebuild schools and get children back to school in the areas devastated by the earthquakes. Our architects have volunteered their time to designing earthquake proof class rooms to help rebuild the damaged schools of Nepal. Our designers have sent 80 kilos of art supplies to the Khumbu region to help with the post-traumatic stress programs being run by various NGO’s.

Please join us to help make a difference to the lives devastated by the Nepal earthquakes. It costs as little as $50 to supply the children with books and school supplies and $200 to send a child to school for the year.

Visit Climb for Education or The Australian Himalayan Foundation to make a donation. You can also visit DC Nepal Page to stay up to date with the progress of the rebuild in Nepal.

To see Neill’s full interview visit The Daily Edition

Davenport Campbell featured in the Good Weekend Magazine

We are very proud to see Neill Johanson featured in the SMH Good Weekend Magazine this weekend talking about his experience on Everest during the devastating earthquake on Anzac Day last year.

The article also highlights the work we’re doing at Davenport Campbell to help rebuild schools in Nepal. We feel very privileged to be part of this incredible project.

Click link here for full article.

Darling Square

An application for a mixed use community and retail building and a publicly accessible square within the northern part of the Darling Square site will be on exhibition from Thursday, 17th March until Monday, 2nd of May for community feedback.

We believe this is a very exciting design proposal and are proud to be advising The Commonwealth Bank on their property needs within the Darling Square development.

To make a submission or view the Environmental Impact Statements (EIS), visit the website

Submissions can be made from Thursday, 17 March until Monday, 2 May 2016.

Click here to see the full article.

Green Cities Conference 2016

Davenport Campbell designer, Suzanne Lind currently completing her Green Star Accredited Professional (GSAP) qualification. Part of this includes undertaking a three day event, co-hosted by Green Building Council of Australia (GBCA) and Property Council of Australia. This event included practical site tours, hands-on masterclasses, fun networking events and inspiring speakers to help everyone really understand the major environmental issues facing us as a community.

Here are the top themes of the conference Suzanne found to be the most insightful –

‘Disruptive’ ideas marked the major theme for the conference which bought together a variety of industry experts and innovators from across government, business and research sectors, who presented their ideas and initiatives for the future of our built environments.

Disruption suggests the need for radical change where we uproot the way we uproot how we think, behave, do business, learn and go about our day-to-day within the built environment. As the keynote speak for the Green Cities Conference, the author of Do Disrupt Mark Shayler suggests that in order to achieve this we must disrupt the concept of sustainability itself.

At the core of the discussion was the idea that sustainability and the health and well-being of humanity are one and the same. Natural and built environments both have a physiological effect on the human being and therefore the future of our cities and built environments are one in which sustainability, creativity and well being become intertwined.

The International WELL Building Institute as presented by Paul Scialle from Delos Living LCC U.S.A, has set the benchmark for combining medical research and architectural design. The institute has created a standard that looks beyond just the physical environment, incorporating the idea of well-being in the workplace.

Speakers from the technology sector also posed new ideas about how we interact and communicate within the physical environment with developments in robotics and virtual reality technologies.

The Green Cities Conference 2016 has provided an exciting forum for insights into how we might live and work in our future built environments. A future in which we must look to other industries for innovative ideas, look to other countries for inspiring benchmarks and come together as various sectors in order to be truly disruptive.

Read guest speaker, John Mandyck recount of the Green Cities conference here.

KPMG – Barangaroo

If you looked up at the Sydney city skyline in the early hours of yesterday morning, you may have been surprised to see an enormous sign being hoisted by crane to the top of Tower 3 at the Barangaroo site.

The 15m long sign was being installed to the top of the tower which will house KPMG’s new Sydney headquarters.

We are very proud to have been working with KMPG for the past 4 years to develop this world class workplace in the exciting Barangaroo development.

To find out more about other projects we have worked on visit our Work page.

Design Thinking Workshop

We recently conducted a Design Thinking Workshop bringing our whole studio team together to work on a brief to transform our own workspace.

Our aim is to create a studio design which gives a physical presence to DC LAB, the place where we generate ideas and welcomes visitors directly into our space.

Ultimately this space will be the heart of our DC community.

This particular Design Thinking Workshop had a particular emphasis on empathy. We explored deeply the needs of the people who use the space.

To bring this to life, we each wore a ‘headband label’ to help trigger some role playing. This really helped us step into the mindset of the group we were representing so we could speak on their behalf in a more genuine way.

Go to our Facebook to see the photos and look out for the video to follow soon.

Seven Summits Celebration

Last Thursday evening Davenport Campbell celebrated Neill’s climb of the seven summits and the launch of a new charity, Climb for Education. The event took place at O Bar where we enjoyed an evening above the city celebrating two incredible achievements.


In recognition of the support Neill received from the local Nepalese community during the earthquakes of 2015, we are proud to be working with the Australian Himalayan Foundation (AHF) to help get Nepalese children back to school. It was great pleasure to have Australian Himalayan Foundation General Manager, Carolyn Hamer-Smith, present to introduce and help launch the new charity. All funds raised are going towards books and equipment supplies to all the schools effected by the devastating earthquakes in the Everest region.

As a team we are really excited about this new initiative which will help to rebuild schools in Nepal and get kids back to the classrooms.

We can make a big impact for a small cost:

A $50 donation provides books and essential school supplies
A $200 donation sends a child to school for a year
Our goal is to provide all the support required for an entire school.

The evening was a great success and we would like thank everyone who could be there to celebrate Neill’s achievements. To find out more about the charity, Climb for Education, you can visit the DC Community page here.

Veldhoen + Company Leesman Index

Our company Principal, Neill Johanson, last week attended the, “Are Workplaces Working?” event. Charter Hall Group invited Veldhoen and Leesman to co-host the forum which discussed the findings of the largest workplace survey, Veldhoen + Company Leesman Index. 145,000 people working in 1200 organisations across 49 countries were surveyed to to measure how the workplace supports employees and establish project measures of success.

Leesman, the brains behind this work, are independent Stockholm based statisticians and Veldhoen, the originators of Activity Based Working (ABW) presented some real insights into the current state of workplace science. The findings are fascinating and align with what we aim to do at Davenport Campbell. The Several key findings from Leesman include:

– The analysis shows overwhelmingly that people prefer to work in a place where there is a high variety of work settings.
– This reliance increases for those with the most complex work activities as does the need to access colleagues, the increased use of meeting rooms and the need for collaborative spaces.
– The more you provide a person with control of their environment, the more satisfied they are at work.

The science behind these claims has always been somewhat limited, however with the Leesman data we can now fully support our claims that the provision of a variety of settings within the workplace enables people to work in the most productive ways.

Gijs from Veldhoen followed by outlining the 3 principle ingredients required for a highly collaborative workplace:

1. Mindset – “I believe I will get a better out come when I collaborate”
2. Choice – Make sure you give people the permission to work in a collaborative and highly flexible way
3. Structure – provide all the necessary tools to make it so

He finally made the point that behavior does not change automatically and whilst we can provide all the workplace cues, change management has a huge role to play in getting people ready to embrace change.

To find out more about how Leesman and Veldhoen + Company work here.

Worktech 2016

Worktech 2016 Conference was held last week in Sydney and attended by a record breaking number of delegates. A group of us attended from Davenport Campbell and we observed 3 key themes:

– Technology as an enabler for change
– The symbiosis of workplace and precinct
– The rise of innovative collaborative tools

Charlie Wood from Dropbox spoke about the need for technology to be unifying and above all simple so that people can instantly be in sync both inside and outside of an organisation. Dropbox see real time collaboration without boundaries as a key business driver. He also spoke about innovation and how 50% of all new ideas stem from Dropbox’s Hackweek initiative.

Bruce Duyshart from Meld made the case for building owners to provide smart precinct technologies to enrich the user experience in just the same way as a smart workplace. His point was that the opportunity now exists to utilise I Beacons, Wi-Fi and work enabling street furniture so that people can co-create both outside and inside.

David Rolls from Mirvac reinforced the value of this approach by detailing some of the initiatives that are going to be installed in Australia’s largest workplace and precinct project at ATP (Australian Technology Park) for the CBA – a project that we are proud to be part of.

This story echoed the work we are doing to support Mirvac’s new HQ at 200 George Street where the seamless integration of smart building and workplace technologies is a critical success factor. This all begins by making smart phones the primary the portal for the user experience: pre-registration avoids a wait at reception and improves security, a wave across a NFC allows you to understand the story behind an artwork or archive and your room preferences are transferable so if you are there to present it’s all pre-set. Add to this real time utilisation and you have some very powerful data that can be used to really understand how the space is performing.

We were asked by Phillip Ross from Unwired to think of the workplace as a “culture club”. His point was that workplaces will only attract the very best talent if they provide a superior user experience and mobile enabling technologies to suit the 5 generations currently in the workforce. He reminded us that we need acknowledge the Slashie Generation and their need for flexibility and blended project work.

This message was reinforced by another speaker and client of ours, Nicole Birbas from Telstra, who shared with the audience the change journey and its fundamental role in reshaping behaviours in order to get people ready for work in their new space.

Nicole made it clear that a new workplace methodology such Future Ways of Working will only be successful if there is strong leadership, a workplace policy that supports flex working and an effective change management approach. The proof was in the pudding with over 80% of Telstra personnel stating they preferred to work in this new dynamic way rather than their previous static and highly cellar workplace. She also mention the human health and wellbeing benefits of working this way.

There is no doubt this year’s conference with its emphasis on technology reinforced that the workplace continues to undergo significant transformation as business owners continuously look for new and better ways to collaborate in both the physical and virtual world. This need being driven by increased levels of team based working, the prevalence of the agile working methodology and spaces for design thinking.

All these themes are common to what we are experiencing in workplace design both in Australia and overseas as clients look to their workplace more and more as an agent for transformation. It was also personally satisfying to have our workplace projects so well represented at this conference.


Selected quarterly by the Davenport Campbell Team, DC Timeout brings together the events currently happening in Sydney that provides us inspiration through the fields of art, design, culture and entertainment.

Here’s what we’re really looking forward to seeing this quarter...


18th March – 5th June 2016

The Biennale of Sydney is Australia’s largest contemporary arts festival, being held every two years throughout various locations across the city.
This year marks its 20th occurrence, pulling together a vast number of works from across the globe under the title “The future is already here — it’s just not evenly distributed”.

LOCATION: Various CBD Locations

MORE: 20th Biennale of Sydney


1st March – 20th March 2016

Art Month is a not-for-profit city wide festival that exhibits contemporary art and artists through a diverse program of exhibitions, workshops, panel discussions, artists studio visits, tours, precinct nights and more. This year Art Month celebrates Sydney as an Engine of Creativity and facilitates access to Sydney’s leading and emerging artists.

Check out Concrete Playgrounds Six Awesome Things to See and Do at Art Month Sydney 2016.

LOCATION: Various CBD Locations

MORE: Art Month


16th May – 22nd May 2016

Sydney Writers Festival takes place every year at the heritage wharves of Walsh Bay and brings together the best contemporary novelists, screenwriters, musicians and writers of cutting edge nonfiction, and some of the world’s leading public intellectuals, scientists and journalists. The Festival exhibits over 300 events, attracting 100,000 people to the harbour side location and other venues.

This year the festival kicks off on the 16th of May with the Best of The Fest event.

LOCATION: Various CBD Locations

MORE: Sydney Writers Festival

CBA Hong Kong – Innovation Lab

Following the success of the CBA Innovation Lab in Sydney, CBA have launched a new innovation lab in Hong Kong.

Davenport Campbell partnered with a local design team in Hong Kong (AJM) to carry out the design and fit out works along with input from the CBA property and innovation team in Sydney.

The completed innovation lab has been very well received and CBA are very happy with the end result.

Here are some news articles written about the Hong Kong Innovation lab:

CBA open innovation lab in Hong Kong

Commonwealth Bank of Australia sets up lab in Hong Kong, plans to work with start-ups to drive fintech innovation

Urban Regeneration of Australian Technology Park project, Sydney

Davenport Campbell have been selected to work alongside Francis-Jones Morehen Thorp and Sissions architects on the urban regeneration of the Australian Technology Park (ATP) located in Eveleigh, Sydney.

The 13.2 hectare precinct will transform into state-of-the-art commercial buildings which will be home to 10,000 extra workers by 2020. Buildings 1 and 2 will be the new headquarters of Commonwealth Band of Australia, occupying an estimate of 95,000 square meters of commercial, retail, community and childcare NLA.

“Externally, the buildings respond to the urban fabric of their surrounds but also quite heavily to the sustainability aspirations of the project. Building’s 1 and 2 are targeting a Min Green Star Design and As Built v1.1 rating of 6 stars as well as a 5 star NABERS energy rating. As such their façade materials are high performance and designed to optimise thermal comfort, energy and visual light transmission performance.

Internally they are also quite different. Building 1 is planned around a pair of workplace accommodation wings which run in the east / west direction and along a linear atrium space. One plate is curved while the other is regular and both will be joined by bridge elements and platforms situated at different levels along the full length of the building.

Building 2 will be divided into three long parallel fingers of office accommodation which have been arranged in an east west direction across the site and all run towards a full height atrium space at the centre of the building. These plates are separated with top lit light slots to provide natural light and spatially rich void spaces in between the different work zone.” Nathan Johnson of Architecture and Design.

Davenport Campbell are pleased to be collaborating and working with Woods Bagot on such an important and innovative project.


Selected quarterly by the Davenport Campbell Team, DC Timeout brings together the events currently happening in Sydney that provides us inspiration through the fields of art, design, culture and entertainment.

Here’s what we’re really looking forward to seeing this quarter...


8th January – 15th February 2016

Situated on Mrs Macquaries Point against a backdrop spanning the Opera House, Harbour Bridge and city
skyline, St.George OpenAir Cinema is a premium lifestyle experience, where the allure of film is combined with fine food and wine.

LOCATION: Mrs Macquarie Chair

MORE: OpenAir Cinema


6th February – 21st February

In 2016 — as the City of Sydney’s Chinese New Year Festival celebrates its 20th anniversary — the festival will offer up brand new ways to experience our city’s rich cultural heritage.
For the first time, the Sydney CBD will light up with giant Lunar Lanterns representing signs of the Chinesezodiac. It’s a fitting way to ring in the Year of the Monkey, with people born under this sign said to be fun-loving, inventive and curious.
There are more than 70 events scheduled so far, including workshops, artworks and of course the wildly
popular Dragon Boat Race.

LOCATION: Various CBD Locations

MORE: Chinese New Year


31st October 2015 – 14th February 2016

Disobedient Objects is an exhibition of art and design. The objects on show were not made by commercial
artists and designers, but by people collectively taking design into their own hands to make a change in the world.

LOCATION: Powerhouse Museum

MORE: Powerhouse Museum


In keeping with the spirit of Christmas, the DC crew has banded together to donate hampers and raise funds for Youth off the Streets.

It was a wonderful effort from everyone, and we hope that our generosity will help to make Christmas little bit brighter for those doing it tough.

Visit youth off the streets website


Telstra’s, On The Landing space at 400 George st has recently been featured in The Australian Financial Review online.

On The Landing is a 1500m2 floor space in the flagship building purposely designed to encourage staff to interact and work collaboratively.

The floor is made up of quiet brainstorming areas, loud and active spaces, kitchen facilities, IT specialists and even a physio and masseur on site. In response the, “company is fitting 25 per cent more people on each floor and will increase its workforce in the building from 1600 to 2800 by April next year” (Michael Bleby).

Davenport Campbell were Telstra’s design partner for the, On The Landing space, and we are delighted the project has been successful and has attracted national attention.

Read the full article .

The Commonwealth Bank Property Expo

We were very proud to participate in the Commonwealth Bank Property Expo this week. The Expo was held at The Bank’s headquarters at Commonwealth Bank Place where a forum panel discussion was held to discuss the workplace of the future.

The forum panel discussion leaders were Natalie Slessor from Lend Lease, Megan Divett from Puzzle Partners and Neill Johanson from Davenport Campbell.

We are happy to report that the discussion was lively and dynamic. The questions posed by the audience to the panel demonstrated a very high level of understanding of innovative workplace design.

Given the informed nature of the conversation, we thought it might be worthwhile recording the questions and answers –

“There seems to be mixed views on whether there are different generational requirements for physical workspaces. What are your views on the differences in requirements, if any, in particular when you consider the up and coming Millennials?”

There are four key things that separate the millennials from every other generational type. Their strong preference for access rather than ownership, a really strong attraction to brand and affinity with technology. They are also making smart food choices and exercising more than their immediate predecessors.

Despite this I don’t believe the millennials have any particular needs that can’t be accommodated by creating a workplace that is underpinned by a range of wellbeing initiatives.

“You have each mentioned a push for Wellbeing in the workplace for both the benefit of the individual and the business (productivity, engagement, reduce abseeintism, reduce cost). If you had to limit it to 1 or 2 initiatives, what has the biggest impact in workplaces to Wellbeing?”

Wellbeing can be broadly grouped into, mindfulness, nourishment and fitness, fresh air light and comfort.

If I had to select one aspect of wellbeing that could have a profound impact on the life of people in the workplace I’d pick movement.

Every time you move you are improving your health. When you get up and go you are usually going somewhere. Hopefully along the way you are bumping into people with whom you can share ideas, movement helps clear your mind and generally create a sense of energy within the workplace and within the individual.

“The workspace is being modified to cater for a hugely mobile workforce that engages primarily through technology versus every day human interaction. And so the sense of workplace as a physical ‘team home’ is shifting and the human scale/nature of work is also shifting. What is the role or is there a role for the workspace to build these connections? And if so, what does that look like?”

The workplace has a fundament role to play in creating a strong sense of belonging and purpose. From the moment we left the cave we have worked as teams to hunt and gather food for our basic survival. Our brains have been hard wired for thousands of years to scan the terrain and make quick decisions about friend or foe, safe or unsafe and fight or flight.

Our role as designers is to create workplaces that recognise these fundament traits and make places that help build social cohesion and a strong sense of community. The trick is to ensure the workplace communicates a sense of belonging and reinforces the values of an organisation so that the job of our modern day tribal elders to provide leadership and reinforce these values is made all the more easier.

“What are the building technologies or disruptive innovations that you are most excited about that will change the workplace of the future?”

At this year’s Consumer Electronics Expo in Las Vegas the main theme was “everything is connected”, yoga mats that talk to your phone and routers that can charge devices wirelessly were two stand outs.

A couple of trends that caught my attention were the Qualified Self. The ability to wear and measure everything we do. The other was 3 d printers and possibilities they are capable of unlocking.

3D printers are getting bigger and using materials with structural integrity. I can see how in a few years’ time we will be able to imagine a new workplace component and then decide to test its out straight away to see if it helps make the way we work better. In China a developer has just “printed” in 3D a 10 house development in 24 hours So things are happening.

The other interesting developments are in Augmented reality – Oculus Rift which makes 3D googles for gaming was just purchased by Facebook for 2 billion dollars so I can that we will be able to engage with our customers and partners in very different ways in the future.

“Are there new services that you see being offered in the future workplace as mobile technology continues to increase and the blurring between work and life continues?”


The CBA’s next workplace will be at Darling Square, a development of about 25,000 sqm in size. When you realise this building could support a population the same size as a small country town such as Bourke in NSW you think why we can’t we have a dry-cleaning service, postal services, hairdressing, accountancy services, newsagency and a pie shop within the workplace. Being connected all the time is generating more and more stress in on our lives so we do need to promote a sense of wellbeing within the workplace so that it is a healthier and relaxed place to be.

At Darling Square we are thinking about sugar free vending machines, juice bars, a high percentage of stand-up work points and dedicated wellbeing centre.



We have continued our involvement with the University of New South Wales Faculty of Built Environment through the financial support of the Davenport Campbell Prize, an award granted to the best performance in the final year design project in Interior Architecture.

Davenport Campbell have been involved with the Faculty of Built Environment at the University of New South Wales for over 15 years, supporting young graduates as they transition from studies to the workplace.


Selected quarterly by the Davenport Campbell Team, DC Timeout brings together the events currently happening in Sydney that provides us inspiration through the fields of art, design, culture and entertainment.

Here’s what we’re really looking forward to seeing this quarter...


Sunday 1st November

Sydney Open throws open the doors to over 50 of the city’s most treasured and architecturally inspiring buildings. Including Dr Chau Chak wing building by Frank Gehry.

LOCATION: Various Locations

MORE: Sydney Living Museums


22nd October – 8th November

Sculpture by the Sea is one of Sydney’s key annual arts events, drawing around 500,000 to the coastal walk from Bondi to Tamarama to enjoy site-specific sculptures by top artists and emerging talents from Australia and abroad.

LOCATION: Bondi to Tamarama coastal walk

MORE: Sculpture by the Sea


Sunday 6th December

Tropfest is the largest short film festival in the world. The competion occurs annually and is open to anyone who wishes to enter, regardless of their background or experience.

Films can be about anything but need to include the annual Tropfest Signature Item (TSI), which for 2015 is “CARD”, and must be be under seven minutes in length.

Head down to this free, outdoor event for a night of film like no other!

LOCATION: Centennial Park

MORE: Tropfest

Augmenting Human Interaction

Mirvac general manager corporate solutions commercial Max Wilson, who is overseeing the headquarters at 200 George Street, explains that the main role of a new office is around “augmenting human interaction”.

“We design work spaces to be inclusive rather than exclusive… It’s less about building a homogenous space that a company must fit into, and more about making the building work specifically for the tenant. From emerging technology, and the demand for better food and drink, to the need for shared spaces and the rise of mixed-use developments where people will live, work and socialise in environments that blur the boundaries, are all key trends that will shape the workplace requirements for the future”.

Read the full article here.

MSD Sydney

Davenport Campbell’s Head of Interiors, Lisa Dinham, talks about MSD’s new HQ and explores why a culture of essential elements is important to modern commercial spaces.

Read the full article here.

DC Timeout – July-September 2015

Selected quarterly by the Davenport Campbell Team, DC Timeout brings together the events currently happening in Sydney that provides us inspiration through the fields of art, design, culture and entertainment.

Here’s what we’re really looking forward to seeing this quarter...


29th August – 29th November

This exhibition by Karen McCartney features stunning examples of local and international residential architecture. The breath taking photography by Richard Powers highlights some of the world’s most interesting living spaces and awe inspiring homes.

Superhouse talk: Re-imagining the house 9th October.

LOCATION: Museum of Sydney

MORE: Sydney Living Museums


27th August – 16th October

In partnership with the Australian Museum, Future Nature explores possible futures posed by artists, designers and architects inspired by biology and the natural world. Future Nature will map the places where art, science, and design collide.

Inspired by the Australian Museum’s living collection, Future Nature is an exploration of the roots of scientific curiosity, collection, and exploration – taking things apart, examining them, and reforming them anew through scientific enquiry.

LOCATION: Australian Design Centre

MORE: Australian Design Centre


18th July – 11th October

Art and About is Sydney’s most public, collaborative art festival.
It takes place in the streets and public spaces of Sydney and invites you to get involved.

LOCATION: Hyde Park/streets of Sydney

MORE: Art and About

Is ABW winning?

At the recent Workteck conference in Melbourne there were many conversations about the successes or otherwise of ABW. For me it was not the first time I’ve heard about the potential blow back from this way of working however I’ve yet to hear of a substantiated case of ABW failure.

To help the conversation I’ve touched on some our recent first hand ABW experiences both here and overseas.

What’s the trend locally and internationally?

In Europe ABW has been an effective workplace strategy since its introduction to the Netherlands 18 years ago and continues to be so.

Interpolis and Microsoft remains the stand out examples of how a workplace can transform a culture into one based upon trust and self-leadership. These two organisations directly attribute reduced staff attrition, reduced sick days ( for Interpolis 9% below the Dutch average) and increased productivity due to their ABW workplaces.

There are many other large organisations in Europe that have also adopted ABW including Credit Suisse, Unileaver, KPMG, Rabo Bank, Microsoft, Arup’s, Macquarie Group and Alcatel Lucent.

In fact Macquarie Groups new London office, which opened recently, has been designed along the same lines as their Sydney ABW operation.

Whilst we don’t see any signs of this abating ABW is still one of a range workplace choices tenants can make such as open plan, cellular or hot desking.

The question that should always start the workplace conversation is one of purpose. Just what is an organisation looking to get out of its workplace and the people connected with it – business as usual, improved levels of business flexibility, a change in culture, more team based work etc.

It’s fair to say that ABW is well established in Europe and Australia. Not only that but ABW is now morphing into Activity Based Learning for school, child care and retail banking environments.

On the other hand ABW is relatively new in America. For large space users the abundance of office space, a preference for hierarchical structures and general lack of business vison has resulted in the slow adoption of ABW. The IT sector, a natural starting point for ABW is still very much desk bound in buildings with super large floor plates ( 4000 sqm ).

ABW in Australia

Australia remains a place receptive to new ideas. A recent Colliers Market survey identified that a third of tenants across our major Australian CBD’s are considering adopting ABW as a work style for their new workplace.

For a snapshot of what’s happening in workplace design it’s hard to go past the major commercial development at Baranagaroo in Sydney.

This major development represents nearly half all the new office space that is coming onto the Sydney market in the next 2 years.

Tenants such as Westpac, KPMG, PWC, and HSBC are all tailoring ABW to suit their particular needs.

It’s worth noting that these tenants occupy about half of the 300,000 sqm of space currently under construction.

Whilst the major tenants at Baranagaroo are from the Financial and Professional Services sector the last 3 years has seen a shift in the application of ABW from these sectors into pharmaceuticals, government, logistics, car rental and IT.

What are the cultural drivers for organisations looking for a non ABW v ABW?

I came across this article entitled “Does activity-based design work?” which talks about ABW working and not working –

There is no doubt that some organisations have adopted ABW and it’s been a failure

The reasons are many – Companies have adopted ABW for wrong reasons such as cost savings, adopted it and not followed thru with the culture piece or were simply never invested in the idea in the first place.

Gavin Moss and Ross Gittins weigh in on the activity-based design debate. Here’s what they had to say about whether office design has an effect on collaboration, and therefore return on investment.

Yes, says Gavin Moss managing partner of PwC Adelaide.

Success for contemporary businesses is more dependent on employee creativity and innovation. And it’s widely understood that collaboration drives the creative process.
With technology rapidly changing the business environment, traditional ‘stop-start’ methods of collaboration are redundant. For a culture of constant collaboration to thrive, employees need a physical environment that supports it.

Over the past few years PwC teams in Adelaide, Canberra, Newcastle and Perth moved to an activity-based-working (ABW) model. By 2017 all 5500 PwC people will be working this way.
No one has a set desk and people choose how, when and where they work, all based on the job at hand. The floor space is zoned into areas by activity, with low-focus spaces for open discussions and higher-focus spaces for concentrating on individual tasks.

After six months working this way in Adelaide, we’re a more connected and collaborative group. It’s exciting coming to work, not knowing who you’ll sit with and deepening your internal network.

In our Canberra office, staff reported a 50 per cent increase in satisfaction after the change. Seventy-five per cent said they were better collaborators and 80 per cent said they felt more efficient and effective. In our Perth office, staff turnover halved. Crucially, 60 per cent said they felt they were now delivering more value to clients.
The experience of the past six months has opened my eyes to the potential that can be realised by aligning your work environment to the culture you want to promote.

No, says Ross Gittins, economics editor, Sydney Morning Herald.

I’m sure reduced office space has yielded savings, but I suspect it’s a false economy when you take into account productivity.
Diane Hoskins, of United States office design firm Gensler, has been researching the question using surveys of more than 90,000 people from 155 companies in 10 industries.
Her people found that knowledge work consists of four modes: focus, collaboration, learning and socialising. They found that the most significant factor in workplace effectiveness is not collaboration but individual focus work. They also found that focus is the thing the new-style offices make hardest.

The four work modes are highly interconnected, with focus as the primary component and the key predictor of all other effectiveness. So office arrangements that sacrifice individual focus in pursuit of collaboration result in decreased effectiveness for both.

Other research by Gensler finds that workers who can focus effectively are 57 per cent more able to collaborate, 88 per cent more able to learn and 42 per cent more able to socialise in their workplace than their peers who are unable to focus.

Justine Humphry, of Sydney University, says ‘clean-desk’ policies are used as a way to prevent employees from ‘nesting’, and yet “studies have highlighted identity expression and professional status as key reasons for personalisation at work,” she says.

This is an extract from Ross Gittins’ article ‘How hot-desking can wreck productivity’, published on The Canberra Times website and reproduced on the AHRI blog.

How many organisations and employee numbers are working in ABW environments in Australia?

This is pretty rough but when I add up all the space the organisations occupy we have noted above its about 1.5 mil sqm or about 187,500 people.

I’ve also looked at the BRW top 10 companies and ticked the ones that are ABW based – there are 6 out of the ten.

BHP – Partial ABW
Woolworths – ABW
Westfarmers – Standard
Rio Tinto – Standard
Telstra – FWOW
Caltex – Standard

Other useful information about our most recent ABW project for KPMG can be found here and here.

National Women in Construction Award

We are proud to announce that we have won the National Women in Construction Award for Team Innovation. Sponsored by the Master Builders Association this award recognises a group of women within a project that have demonstrated their substantial contribution to a successful property development and implementation of innovative work practices. In this case the development was for the Honeybee Childcare Centre at Darling Park Sydney, undertaken in collaboration with the Commonwealth Bank of Australia as the client and CBRE as the project managers.

The Honeybee Child Care Centre has given more CommBank parents the option to return to work with greater ease and speed following parental leave.

The centre has become a point of pride for CommBank employees. Even if they don’t use the centre, working for an employer who has made a significant investment to support the balance between work and family life has proven to have a positive impact on staff engagement.

Parent feedback to date has been amazing – the parents love the quality of the centre, its location and the child care provider that was chosen.

This is the first child care centre built and owned by CommBank – traditionally, the organisation takes space in an existing centre rather than having its own dedicated facility. Given the success of this project, CommBank are now considering building more child care centres in the future –a great measure of success.

This is the second year in a row that Davenport Campbell has won this award, something we put down to the innovative approach we take to co-creation with our clients and passion for doing great things.

KPMG Adelaide

Our work with KPMG has been recently featured in the Sydney Morning Herald outlining their shift into agile working.

Their new workplace has reinforced flexible working as a way of life for everyone and allowed creativity to flourish.

Read the full article here.

Commonwealth Bank – Innovation Lab

The Commonwealth Bank’s Sydney Innovation Lab has recently been featured in The Financial Brand online.

The article titled “Peek Inside 7 of The Banking World’s Coolest Innovation Labs” takes us on a world tour exploring digital playgrounds built by banks.

Davenport Campbell were the Bank’s design partner on the Innovation Lab and we are delighted the project has attracted international attention.

Read the full article here.

Workplaces Today

We are delighted and very proud to have been included in a recently published book by Juriaan van Meel called Workplaces Today. The book examines a large variety of workplace examples from around the globe, providing an in-depth look at the world of today’s office worker.

Workplaces Today is a kaleidoscopic survey of the contemporary work environment and a great way to quickly understand the level of innovation and creativity that is taking place within the workplace.

Our work with the Commonwealth Bank on their Customer Service Centre in Melbourne is featured in the book which highlights the “diversity of team-based desk configurations” and the “emphasis on collaboration spaces”.
…and our favourite quote from Neill Johanson in Workplaces Today:

“Good design results in the Bank being able to offer better service to its customers. Call centre design is no longer just about ‘sweating the asset’. It’s also about enhancing business performance and creating an exciting place to work”.

Traditional Lawyers Break All The Rules

Colin Biggers & Paisley lead the way with a new client engagement model that is designed to help transform the way they do business. The pressures of growth have led to the need for more space so rather than relinquish their well known address, CBP Lawyers decided to remain in place, add a level and remodel their space.

As one of the older law firms in Australia, CBP Lawyers was keen to maintain its traditional values of reliability and integrity, however it also wanted to build a high performance and networked culture based upon personal accountability and innovation whilst upping the customer service levels from great to outstanding.

“We have a great client base and were looking for ways in which to grow this even further. What we wanted to offer our clients was a unique experience, a place where they could relax and feel comfortable whilst dealing with complicated and sometimes stressful matters. Our new reception lounge does just that” says Luke, the company’s managing partner.
To meet these goals, Davenport Campbell linked the new floor with the existing levels with an interconnecting stair and introduced library, touch down and breakout spaces to help draw people together both socially and professionally.

Why We Need More Pilot Sites

Businesses are considering Activity Based Working as an alternative work style because of the environmental, social and financial benefits it can provide.

Since its introduction to Australia several years ago, we have helped some of Australia’s leading companies such as Bankwest, CBA, NRMA, KPMG, IBM and Mirvac to apply Acitvity Based Working to their workplaces. Each of these companies has a strong desire to effectively align their business, cultural, operational and property requirements to create high performance workplaces.

The common thread is the desire to increase collaboration and demonstrate to their customers their innovative approach to business.

In a recent Colliers Tenancy Survey conducted in Australia and New Zealand, 1/3 of organisations reported that they were considering Acitvity Based Working as a way of meeting their new workplace needs. This clearly demonstrates that organisations consider Activity Based Working a viable alternative to the highly cellular and even open plan workplaces that are based upon a one person one seat basis.

Acitvity Based Working represents an opportunity to move away from line of sight management style, towards something that supports an increasingly mobile and younger workforce. It also provides a structure that allows for expansion and contraction of headcounts whilst minimising churn costs, and helps develop a culture based upon trust and self leadership. We know change makes people nervous, so testing these ideas in a pilot site or learning lab is a great way to engage people in this transformational process and gather the vital evidence to help make the business case for change.

We have found that observation studies obtained from pilot sites tell the real story about just how the proposed levels of mobility utilisation, storage and various work styles perform. Technology, change management techniques and physical changes to the workplace can all take place in response to the studies so that the ideal workplace can be achieved.

Some examples of this success include reduction of churn cost by 90%, significant reductions in paper storage due to paper independence technology, 20% reduction in Net Lettable Area due to agile seating arrangements, and a highly energised workforce.

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