Floors of a Hay Street building left empty for 35 years will be revitalised as Hames Sharley’s new corporate headquarters.
Demonstrating renewal in practice was among the drivers that led design firm Hames Sharley to choose abandoned floors above the former Target store on Hay Street Mall as its new home.
The group announced the move earlier this year and has now unveiled more details of its transformation plans, including an interconnecting stairwell running down the centre of its new office, and a cafe in the foyer.
Hames Sharley senior associate Jessika Hames, who was also the lead on the project, said the move to a new workspace had been in the works for more than five years.
Ms Hames said the space was chosen for its potential: an opportunity to not just deliver a new studio and to cater to its growing team, but also exhibit how a disused place could be repurposed.
A 2019 study, undertaken by independent property firm Y Research, found 42 per cent of vacant space in the CBD was located in two- and three-storey buildings and was largely in Hay Street Mall’s upper floors.
“Our aim is to create a unique space to house our growing practice and we believe in the revitalisation of the Hay Street Mall and the Perth CBD in general,” Ms Hames told Business News.
The workplace will be arranged over two floors on Hay Street Mall, extending and occupying existing disused department store floors, comprising 1,100 square metres in total.
The space features a virtual reality lounge for clients to view their plans, and a kitchen with cafe-style seating overlooking the mall. Plans also feature a series of shared, flexible workspaces, as well as private and open meeting spaces.
Additional proposed areas include a makerspace, focus ‘zoom’ rooms, a wellness room and a ping pong/foosball zone, which Ms Hames said was a feature driven by staff.
“Many discussions and internal workshops were held with staff around the country to establish how we see the future of our practice and what types of spaces we would need to support this,” she said.
“We looked at how we work now and how we thought we wanted to work in the future; we need spaces that encourage collaboration between staff, but also spaces that allow closer collaboration with our clients and community.”
Designing a space that enhanced staff wellbeing was also top of mind for the practice.
“The space has an eight-metre-wide balcony, so that on nice days [the] doors can be opened to the outdoors,” Ms Hames said.
“Studies have consistently demonstrated that characteristics of the physical workplace environment can have a significant effect on employee wellbeing and performance, so the choices made for the fitout were based on positive outcomes in this respect.
“There is a link between physical expanse and enhanced capacity for creative thinking, so existing low-suspended ceilings were removed revealing the 4.3-metre-high slabs.”
Other distinct fitout features include whitewashed brick walls, natural plywood, as well as green drapes and joinery, which Ms Hames said was chosen to complement indoor plants.