Rhenus Logistics new offices

Rhenus Logistics Project

The big problem
The team at Rhenus Logistics in North Melbourne had grown organically over the years and now they were higgledy-piggledy all over three levels. This resulted in several issues which were stunting further growth. Our team attended site and completed a needs analysis, leading to the identification of a number of problems; poor organisational structure, insufficient space, no centralised kitchen/ breakout, no logical reception, no meeting spaces, inadequate IT infrastructure and ventilation.
Poor organisational structure
As a result of the organic growth, they had poor organizational structure. They got to a point where they just simply couldn’t grow anymore as their systems, or lack thereof, were holding them back.
No centralised kitchen
They had four kitchenettes scattered over the three levels which meant there was no central gathering place to encourage chance interactions and team behaviour over the separate areas. They had nowhere where they could relax, recharge, and engage in the important socializing that they needed to reconnect the individual cells back into one team.
No logical reception
As a result of their unstructured growth, they had a reception illogically placed on the first floor. Rhenus are a global brand and conduct a large-scale operation. They needed logical wayfinding to the reception and branding to be consistent with their operations worldwide.
No meeting spaces
There was a general lack of collaboration and meeting zones. There was a single small meeting room, which was completely inadequate for their large team, both for client and internal meetings.
Inadequate IT infrastructure
They had very outdated IT infrastructure which did not perform to their needs and fell far short of their international standards to connect with their overseas offices.
Inadequate ventilation
The mechanical air conditioning was completely underspeced for the capacity of bodies and space it was supposed to regulate. As you came up the levels to 2 & 3, you could feel the air change and the atmosphere become somewhat oppressive.
Insufficient space
The team were chocked to the gunwales with storage, people & out-dated furniture. Our design team had to be very surgical about how it could be designed and implemented. This project was tricky ‘hot’ or occupied fitout due to the high density of people.

The solution
We reorganised the teams by department, resolving their previously very ad hoc arrangement which came about as a result of their organic growth. We separated the mishmash of operations across the three levels into the teams that were more likely to interact.
We removed all of the kitchenettes and installed one mid-level kitchen with a collaboration/ breakout zone that all the team could access with a staircase which came from the ground floor team & from the top floors. This area has become an awesome hub for the 3 floors to congregate at.
To resolve the reception issue, we developed a compact corporate style reception positioned immediately in front of the doors once you enter the building on ground floor, as opposed to the previous one on the first level. It imitates the graphic design elements of some of their larger scale operations around the world.
The meeting spaces were created through both reallocating underutilised square metres to make space for a boardroom, and by creating the multipurpose breakout space with a large table and an acoustic booth for smaller meetings.
We also designed and implemented a new IT backbone & structure throughout the entire building. There was a lot of CAT3 & CAT5 cables and a lot of joined cabling, and it was all in crazy spots due to the ad hoc expansion. Their growth became their enemy and they hit the ceiling very quickly, due to the inadequate infrastructure. This was replaced and a brand-new optic fibre connected to give them the full bandwidth they needed to allow the team to do their best work and interact with their teams globally.
Resolving the fresh air was a big one. We had very low concrete ceilings that we had to work around. We introduced slim style ducted air conditioning units, which we built bulkheads around with a large portion of fresh air intake. The result is a complete transformation from the previous stuffy, unoxygenated office. It now feels fresh and not suffocated.
Our team had to use keyhole surgery to roll this project out, as there were 3 floors and 40-50 staff involved in the building, as well as parcel deliveries and customers. Our team worked out a temporary accommodation strategy per level where it could be transformed a level at a time. We utilised the different staircases that we could close off & reopen as the different stages of works were completed. We worked our way from the top down to the bottom and then completed the final stages as everyone could move in.
There was a lot of wall murals and graphics that the Singapore Rhenus marketing team provided us. We were able to install these on glass & plaster throughout the office, giving the office a great vibe. The design team also used biophilia through real plants in the design. The planter boxes have stainless steel liners to allow real plants to drain without leaking into files stored below, which not only provides visual relief, but also improves the air quality of the tenancy as well. We also used different carpet treatments on the floor to provide wayfinding and clarity around zones.
We achieved the full functionality through identification of the issues, clever stage project rollout, reaching an amazing result to allow the Rhenus team to do their optimum work to serve their clients in the best way possible!

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