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Infosys entices its people back to work in The Docklands

In delivering the new Docklands head office for global tech giant Infosys, Siren Design has delivered nimble, cloud-enabled agile workspaces, human comfort, environmental responsibility, and some local flavour to boot.

Infosys entices its people back to work in The Docklands

An exceptional level of collaboration between the client, designers, suppliers and construction team, also succeeded in delivering the award-winning result while navigating one of the world’s toughest COVID-19 lockdowns.

This three-year project to create a state of the art workspace is transforming the way Infosys’ people work, explains Ben McLeod, Infosys senior regional manager – facilities.

Siren Design brought its substantial global tech workplace design expertise to creating a fit-out that is truly unique to Infosys, responding to their culture and the needs of their people.

Nicole Pollak, managing director, Siren Design, says the spatial planning encourages people to work flexibly, moving intuitively between teams and tasks.

Piper Workstation, Wing Chair and Vecos Locker.

The new office occupies four levels plus a part basement in Lendlease’s Two Melbourne Quarter development. The basement level is a showcase of technology and engagement, featuring a 360-degree immersive VR display space nicknamed the ‘digital donut’, an auditorium area, space for physical or virtual displays, lounge areas, bars and coffee points.

Focus Booths, Palette Chair and Vecos Lockers

The four office floors combine relaxed, breakout areas with team tables, meeting areas and functional, open-plan workstation zones around the perimeter. Siren design lead, Stephanie Rodas, says the placement of workstations around the perimeter of the building is a deliberate part of the wellbeing approach, as it maximises natural light and views.

The colour palette for the fit-out acts as a form of subliminal wayfinding. Green hues and plants denote breakout and relaxation spaces, including the games zone and the ‘Town Centre’ with its dining areas and beverage services.

The signature Infosys blue winds subtly throughout, and pops of yellow and dusky pinks in Schiavello furnishings guide people towards quiet chairs, focus booths and team collaboration areas. Natural finishes soften the space and are a physical embodiment of the stringent sustainability approach that underpinned material choices.

Sustainability matters

“Infosys since its inception has a sustainability focus on preservation of our planet, climate change, water, and waste,” McLeod says. “Our carbon neutrality dates back to 2011 and in our new Melbourne Office we are harnessing as many sustainable practices as we can.”

The Docklands building has a 5 Star Green Star rating from the Green Building Council of Australia. Materials and building systems all had to be reviewed by the developer prior to construction, explains Project Manager, Jag Dhandwar, co-founder and director of Plan 1 Project Management.

As colour is such an influential element in a workplace, Siren went beyond the conventional mood board, hosting a colour party for Infosys at their Melbourne studio. The studio was decked out in an array of hues and everyone invited to dress up in a specific colour. This playful but meaningful event, held just before lockdown, highlights the close partnership between the design team and the client.

A strong social statement is made by a large carved Indigenous artwork by Aboriginal artist Elizabeth Close which wraps around the reception area and the stairway to upper floors. Many other visual elements including street art styled murals and murals of greenery were commissioned from Melbourne artists and give the global office a distinctly “Melbourne” feel.

Street art murals.

Procurement in a pandemic

The choice of office furniture was driven by the client, and McLeod explains they found themselves in a unique procurement situation as restrictions meant he and Jacqui Cooper, Senior Manager – Facilities, Infosys, we unable to physically visit many showrooms.

The Siren team and Schiavello delivered samples of every potential item to a temporary mock-up of the final fit-out at Infosys’ former HQ. There, McLeod and Cooper put everything through its paces, testing how sit to stand desks operated, examining comfort and fit of chairs including versatility for sitting styles. Together they also scrutinised ease of cleaning, robustness and the tactile qualities of fabrics.

“We were really impressed and got along well with the Schiavello team, and that was really important to us,” McLeod says. “At end of the day, the people you are working with and spending time with makes project a project work.“

Ensuring desks, workstations, Focus Booths and meeting tables would have the tech and power cabling involved bespoke refinements, such as cable trays that are neatly hidden but easy to access for the facilities team. Every detail was carefully considered for functionally, ergonomics and robustness, for example, for example, selecting the perfect monitor arms to selecting the perfect monitor arms to complement the task chairs.

There are no drawers in desks or workstations, and all staff have the freedom to move wherever best suits their task and needs. To give staff secure, personal space the world-leading Vecos Lockers are installed. Susanna Tigani, client development manager at Schiavello, says Vecos are the next generation of personal storage for agile workplaces. With the hardware a Product of Australia, manufactured and installed by Schiavello, the advanced smart lockers can be booked, secured and released via an app on the user’s phone. The lockers also provide a substantial saving on storage space, while having a high-quality aesthetic and finish that compliments the quality of the office space.

Infosys and Siren are also particularly delighted by the Pixel cubes which are like “building blocks for grownups”, says Rodas.

They can be seating, stacked to create tables or workstations, or used for activities like team-building exercises.“It means people can feel involved in the process of creating space – it gives them a nice bit of ownership,” Cooper says.

Schiavello also manufactured and supplied OTM mobile tables and Karo Ottomans, and supplied Bene Parcs Wing Chair.

Krossi Workstation.

Global challenges – local solutions

The biggest challenge, according to Tigani, was producing protypes and collaborating on refining the final specifications during lockdown. Virtual collaboration and virtual presentations were used extensively to connect all the members of the delivery team.

Dhandawar says using a local, onshore manufacturer was an asset.

Krossi Table and Karo Ottoman.

Having the on-shore source meant the design team and the fit-out delivery team could be more certain on timelines. Global freight was utterly disrupted – but Schiavello produces authentic products of Australia in Melbourne, using local labour and materials from Australian suppliers.

The entire process of finalising furniture selection was a major part of the end design, according
to Rodas.

The extensive, hands-on process Infosys engaged in of testing prototypes and discussing customised refinements meant there were “no surprises at handover”, Rodas says.

“We have delivered something unique to Infosys, the whole design was done with them in mind, and the vision has been delivered to be the best it could be. It was the biggest excitement to see it completed.”

Breakout and relaxation spaces.

The next chapter

”Now everyone is looking ahead to people coming back to work in an office after time at home, the way the fitout connects to people and their needs is going to be important to encourage them to feel at home.

“We have this bright, shiny new toy that a lot of people want to come in and see – and those people will bring other people in,” McLeod muses. “Jacqui and I have been saying since the day we finished this, that what is missing is people. We can’t wait to see coffee cups on desks and people moving around the space.”

The project has already been recognised with several awards including a 2021 Driven x Design Gold Award for Siren Design, and two RICS Awards for Dhandwar – Project Manager of the Year 2021 and Construction Professional of the Year 2021.

While the project is complete, the relationship forged between Schiavello and Infosys continues.

“We have a long-term commitment to ongoing support,” Tigani explains. “We don’t just provide a solution and walk away. When we collaborate so closely, we are fully invested in ensuring the workplaces we co-create remain inspiring, beautiful and functional for years

Siren Design


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