This design studio was developed as a collaboration with the multidisciplinary design firm Bates Smart to examine the potential of co-working and what the future of this interior typology of workplace might be.
Students examined how the co-working the phenomenon has evolved from self-employed pioneers such as Brad Neuberg to the established workplace typology it is now – a significant industry of global and local brands with a broad variety of business and community models. The desires, motivations and modes of co-working were considered, these were then extended through design prototypes that introduced partner brands into the co-working space through short term technology-driven experiences.
During the studio, the impact of COVID-19 brought an abrupt and radical change to working patterns and the co-working industry. In response, the final brief established a future scenario where workers alternate between remote home working and less frequent visits to centralised HQs. Students were asked to develop a series of new co-working prototypes that rapidly and opportunistically facilitated a shift of co-working to a dispersed model throughout Melbourne’s inner and outer suburbs.
Key requirements included the development of a rapid and scalable strategy for relocating a co-working brand over the short and mid-term, identification of emotional drivers and pragmatic needs of users, and building brand awareness in new locations through flexible leasing arrangements. Students then developed a series of prototypes that considered intended experience, new modes of safe working, alternative networking opportunities and a rethinking of adjacencies, relationships and amenities for workers.
Dr. Anthony Fryatt
Program Manager, Bachelor of Interior Design (Honours)