Area Specialist new Keysborough offices

Area Specialist Keysborough new offices

The big problem
Michael Choi, a successful estate agent in Keysborough, was starting up his new venture so he gave us a call. We found that he had three big challenges.

Small start- up budget
The first challenge was that he had a start-up budget for an untested venture. We had to really cut to the chase with pricing to keep the project within Michael’s means.

Instant market traction
The second was that he needed the office to have maximum wow factor for instant market traction. Area Specialist was a new business and the design had to tie in with all the branding he was also working. He needed this thing to start with a bang.

Employee of choice
The third criteria we had was it needed to be a great place to work. In order to get his vision off the ground and airborne, Michael needed to attract top talent; the best, most upbeat agents in the area to come and work for him. He needed them to be inspired and any agents he already had working for him to move up to the next level.

When our design team investigated the space, we found two main issues. Because the space was so vast in with a massive high ceiling of 5 metres, any poorly executed interior design work that was done could look completely lost and out of scale.
The tenancy also didn’t have approved change of use from warehouse type sales to be a real estate agent, meaning it didn’t have the correct car parking allocation to suit Michael’s intended use (1.5 carparks per 100sqm vs. 3.5 carparks per 100sqm for an office).

The solution
Our design team proposed a full width mezzanine floor, set back about 5 metres from the shopfront, which creates a delineation from front of house to back of house.

From Cheltenham Road (which has thousands of cars coming past everyday) you can see a stunning boardroom with a full-height glass partitioning. At night time this vista has a lot of visual presence, which all the people driving past can see. It creates a very professional breakpoint from client facing space and staff workspace, and crucially, a ceiling. Within Michael’s tight budget, we didn’t have room for a ceiling and a 5m high wall (which requires expensive engineering).

The design team also specified a timber floor that flowed along the reception floor and then wrapped all the way up the wall to accentuate the height of the ceiling. We brought this into the meeting room and up into the end of the boardroom to draw the eye up and across to get a sense of scale.

The space planning team placed the black staircase going up to the boardroom very logically, close to the front door entrance. This was also needed for fire compliance.

In the breakout area, we installed a stage seating area for the growing team that Michael envisioned. They use this daily for breakout and movie nights. The whole brief for the design was that every part of the office was Instagramable, to make it a magnet to make Area Specialist an employer of choice.

Our design team played with the Yin & Yang in this project, juxtaposing the finished look with the polished timber planks against the raw industrial style with a concrete floor, concrete rendered wall, black ceiling detail and the black pendants.

An interesting detail we brought back from NeoCon , a design show in Chicago was this mesh curtain, used instead of a standard glass or plaster partition in front of one of the meeting rooms.

One of my favourite features that the design team came up with is the door handles to all the rooms, which are acid etched in with the logo of Area Specialist.

We also resolved the change of use car parking issue for Michael. When we couldn’t get anywhere with the municipal authority, our town planning team took it to VCAT. They were able to get a short course hearing and were in front of VCAT within three weeks. Within 10 minutes, after outlining our case, the member handed down in favour of us and the municipal shire had to grant us the occupation permits that we needed.

We’d love to help you with your exciting new office. We would love to show you our creative design team, our razor-sharp estimating and cost-cutting value engineering team, and our brilliant project management team. Please give us a call if you have any questions!

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