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Hub Australia and Hassell conceive the next gen of co-working

Designed to entice people back to the office, flexible workplace provider Hub Australia have teamed up with Hassell to create Hub Flinders Street.

Hub Australia and Hassell conceive the next gen of co-working

The next generation of co-working has arrived and there are no beanbags, milk crates or AstroTurf terraces in sight.

Say hello to Hub Flinders Street. The brand-new seventh floor space is an expansive and boutique-feel refurbishment within Melbourne’s historic Ball & Welch building, by flexible workspace provider, Hub Australia and international design practice, Hassell.

Black glass and historic yellow exterior of Hub Flinders Street.

Together, they have transformed the dynamic 3000sq m space into a series of varied workspaces for up to 500 members, featuring flexible work areas, offices and meeting rooms, plus café with custom terrazzo benchtops, kitchen, outdoor terrace and media studio.

With its Romanesque Revival façade and original cement decorations, the building is complemented by a sophisticated and polished interior in Hub’s Clubhouse. Streets away from generic office design, it offers concrete floors, exposed ceilings, black stained and natural oak timber detailing, large expanses of glass and lush plants.

According to Domino Risch, principal at Hassell, one thing is clear: “Workplaces need to offer experiences that can’t be replicated on Zoom calls in order to attract people to come back in,” she says.

This means workplaces that celebrate and emphasise social and collaboration spaces will find favour with members, designed to bring people together, build social capital and reinforce culture.

Work spaces under an exposed ceiling in Hub Flinders Street.

“This is exactly what workplaces around the world are pivoting towards in a post-Covid era – should such an era ever exist!” she laughs.

At Hub Flinders Street, wellbeing features are in strong supply, including lashings of natural light thanks to the internal central atrium, external terrace, biophilic design principles, gym and a fully equipped private parents’ room.

A barista pours a coffee behind the panelled cafe bar.

“It’s simply no longer enough to provide a workstation and a chair for work to be done for eight hours a day,” she says.

The one-size-fits-all approach from 15 years ago is long gone too, with the next generation of co-working demanding a highly multi-faceted design.

People sit in quiet grey working pods in Hub Flinders Street

“The most significant development around the world in my mind has been in starting to see segmentation of co-working premises and curatorial offerings into increasingly diverse member and clientele types,” she says.

Think co-working for fintech start-ups, versus for the design and creative industries, or for tech organisations.

Empty desk chairs surround a long conference table.

“It’s become much more sophisticated and what organisations who use co-working spaces are looking for is a place they can call their own – with walls and a door they can put their name on and lock up at the end of the day to keep their IP safe,” she says.

“What this does is further open what many people find really enticing about the idea of co-working – common interests and shared opportunities,” she adds.

People talk to each other on the Hub Flinders Street terrace.

Location is also crucial, and the historic building was chosen not only for its character and heritage appeal, but also for its strong cultural and connection to the nature of the city it sits within.

“It’s incredibly well situated in terms of connections to public transport, to Melbourne’s social heart and place of gathering at Fed Square, and is surrounded by really great amenity in terms of retail and F&B offerings,” Risch says.

Hub Australia
hubaustralia.com

Hassell
hassellstudio.com

Photography
Anson Smart

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