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Woods Bagot’s workplace designs start with its people

Woods Bagot is breathing fresh life into its workplace team by bringing a unique partnership comprising well-known designers, Cassandra Fahey and Wuff Keeble.

Woods Bagot’s workplace designs start with its people

Left to right, Sarah Alessi, Cassandra Fahey, Bronwyn McColl and Wuff Keeble.

Woods Bagot has long taken a people-first approach to its internal workforce and, in a period when workplace design is calling on practitioners’ full strength of experience and intuition, Woods Bagot is building out its workplace team with two well-known designers, Cassandra Fahey and Wuff Keeble.

The two creatives round out the interior design leadership team alongside Bronwyn McColl, Sue Fenton and Sarah Alessi.

“We’re super excited about the future,” Fahey says.

Fahey has flown under the radar for some time but became instantly infamous for her Newman House project in St Kilda, Melbourne, featuring a large glass mural façade of Pamela Anderson.

She met Keeble at Fender Katsalidis six years ago, and in the last year they began collaborating on private projects as solo practitioners.

Woods Bagot partners with Cassandra Fahey, Wuff Keeble
Cassandra Fahey.

“It was much easier to be together and support one another with endeavours. We want to continue to bring that very light, fresh and fun feeling to what we do,” Keeble says.

It wasn’t until Melbourne went into numerous lockdowns during 2020 that their connection deepened.

“We went on really sunny winter walks during lockdown through Carlton, and we were instantly able to talk at length on any topic,” Fahey says.

Together again at Woods Bagot, they have formalised their working partnership; Fahey the fascinating, dynamic creative, and Keeble, the steady accomplished designer dedicated to cultivating seemingly never-ending relationships she’s carried over her entire career.

“I’d have these kind of big picture, crazy ideas and Wuff slips in and weaves into the cracks. Together, we could make a very cohesive project proposition to the market,” Fahey says.

They’ve begun their Woods Bagot careers with a number of high-profile projects, including most notably Younghusband, in Melbourne’s inner northwest.

The site is a multi-stage transformation of a 100-year-old, late-Victorian red brick wool store into a 56,000-plus square metre precinct comprising A-grade office and retail space.

The team’s current work includes challenging mixed-use propositions at Docklands and progressive precinct-based mixed-use in Sydney.

“We’re coming forward in a new light, thinking about cultural connections and programs and how these might transcend into the built form,” Keeble says.

Related: The four women heading up Woods Bagot’s Perth interiors division

Woods Bagot partners with Cassandra Fahey, Wuff Keeble
Wuff Keeble.

Perhaps the best illustration of what’s to come is closer to home in Melbourne’s CBD, where they are driving a new overarching strategy of adaptive reuse.

“Thirty per cent of buildings in the CBD were built from the 1950s to 1990s, so there is an opportunity to engage clients with these assets to strip them out, take out slabs and walls and completely overhaul them. It’s super important to maintain that scale within the city,” Fahey says.

Added to that is further opportunity to harness Woods Bagot’s partnership with ERA-Co, an experience consultancy that uses comprehensive digital tools, analysis and data to drive design at every level.

“We can tap into all that resource to help inform decision making for our clients,” Keeble says.

At the heart of it all is a deep love for shaking up the status quo and having fun doing it, as the city is starting to come alive after COVID-19.

“We’re in a unique position to reinvigorate Melbourne. And with that kind of thinking, we can bring it back to being a city that fulfils its reputation as a design centre,” Keeble says.

“Hopefully, we can agitate and hold our client’s hands,” she laughs.

Here, here.

Woods Bagot

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