Liberty International Underwriters Brisbane

Small Office Winner

Project: Liberty International Underwriters Brisbane | Brisbane Australia

Firm: Curtis + Whitfeld | Sydney Australia

Design Statement

Liberty International Underwriters (LIU) is a global insurance underwriting company. Curtis + Whitfeld have been responsible for their office accommodation design for the past 14 years throughout Australia. With continued growth, coupled with the significant changes in workplace practices in this time, LIU is now embarking on subtle changes to the accommodation needs specific to each location. The relocation of the Brisbane office to a new location was the impetus to initiate some significant workplace changes in an effort to re-invigorate the Brisbane team and provide a more inspiring and varied environment to work in. One of the factors driving change was the need for a more collaborative and engaging workplace with plenty of colour and access to natural light. Elements of the ‘Activity based workplace’ practices (AWB) were to be employed in more of a hybrid form, in an effort to make the necessary changes more palatable. Using Queensland’s sunny climate and fresh attitude to life as a trigger, we devised a scheme quite different to anything LIU had accepted in its nationwide offices previously. The significant reduction of individual offices to just one, together with the move to a more streamlined desk system for each occupant has broken down the barriers of the old office environment. This coupled with more meeting zones, quiet rooms and a designated ‘Collaboration area’ has allowed staff to move away from the traditional desk based working scenario as required, without sacrificing individual workspace. The staff has fully embraced the changes and are utilising all the spaces and zones now available to them. The success of this fitout has led to the implementation of a similar design for the Melbourne office.

The Shaw Contract Group Hexagon product is a ground breaking concept for carpet tiles. With varied designs and vibrant colours available, we felt this imagery and shape was the perfect element to create a point of difference in the public areas. The scheme and subtle pattern used throughout the fitout draws its influence from the carpet tiles we have employed in the meeting and collaborative zones of this fitout. Existing carpet tiles in the main working office environment were retained. The new hexagonal carpet tiles were laid in public areas, meeting zones and in the collaboration area. The base tile colours effectively complimented the existing carpet tile while introducing an exciting point of difference as you make your way from the open office area into other zones. The use of colour drop-ins defined various seating areas and made for a more playful adjunct along corridors and circulation spaces, leading the eye through the various zones while creating pops of colour and energy. Apart from furnishing fabrics (which were influenced by the carpet colour palette) the remaining finishes have been kept predominantly neutral, so the carpet and fabrics really becomes the hero of the spaces where they are employed. We feel the finished product is completely appropriate for Liberty’s new business environment. It displays a completely fresh approach for the Brisbane office with a playful element and subtle sophistication.

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