Virgin Australia’s new Sydney workspace inspires collaboration and wanderlust
Transforming Virgin’s ways of working
Virgin Australia needed a space that reflected its brand, people and the excitement of travel. They engaged Unispace to complete strategy, design and construction for their new Sydney workplace. The iconic airline wanted a lighter, brighter and more effective space to suit a hybrid working style, that would better support collaboration with teams around Australia.
Our strategy team kicked off the process with our proprietary WorkReady survey, which all Virgin Sydney employees were invited to complete. We held alignment workshops with the executive team as well as interviews and workshops with employees to truly understand their needs. This uncovered the ways in which each team works, and informed our design of new spaces that would best suit them, including primary and secondary workpoints, meeting spaces and communal spaces.
The key drivers of Virgin’s workplace strategy were:
Work your way;
Make it wonderful!
A playful yet refined design approach
These key drivers are embedded in the design and branding on display, which Virgin, Unispace and visual branding collaborator THERE studio were passionate about conveying. Occupying level 22 in the central Sydney building 420 George St, visitors are immediately met with bright red and purple tones, synonymous with the Virgin brand. A sleek chrome reception desk acts as a touchdown point, leading staff and visitors down paths into the rest of the space – just follow the runway-like signage on the polished concrete floor.
Colors on the walls, ceilings and furniture indicate the type of work to be conducted in each zone. Part of a gradient scale of bright red through to purple, reds indicate active and collaborative work zones, while purple tones indicate calmer focus spaces. Playful branded elements include lockers resembling airplane galley containers and travel-inspired names for every booth.
This space features a variety of work settings to suit Virgin staff. The open plan back of house seating allows access to natural light and the fantastic views over the CBD. A large boardroom opens directly onto the kitchen breakout, to be used for larger gatherings and events.
With an eye on sustainability, we reused furniture from Virgin’s previous tenancy, including work chairs, and closely managed waste to divert 95.6% from landfill. New furniture was selected to complement the bold colors and enhance the effect of the branding.
Successful delivery in a short timeframe
We completed construction within a 10-week programme, and handed over the project defect free, on time and on budget. With limited lift access and multiple subcontractors, coordination was key. Our unified approach throughout strategy, design and construction enabled a smooth handover. We supported Virgin on their change management journey, ensuring staff were ready to move into the new space and were excited about their new home. Having established a trusting relationship with employees during the strategy and design phase, the need for change management support prior to the relocation was minimal.
This office has reinjected a sense of fun and spirit into Virgin’s workspace, making it a place that staff are enthusiastic to work from, and can do so efficiently due to its tailored spaces. The vibrant and flexible spaces demonstrate how strong branding can best complement intelligent design.