Doing a power of good

Well-being in the workplace is looking good: at Woodside’s headquarters it’s all about an integrated approach to sustainability and health. Photo: © Shannon McGrath

These days, office planning is all about encouraging a feeling of well-being and boosting health and fitness. But isn’t it enough to offer leisure activities such as table tennis, provide yoga mats or lounge spaces and put green plants in offices? These are definitely good places to start but there’s much more that can be done. And a prime example is in Australia. The new headquarters of the global energy group Woodside in Perth haven’t just received the continent’s top Green Star sustainability award. The building, designed by Cox Architecture, is already regarded down under as a template for an integrated approach to sustainability and health.

32 floors, 60 different workspaces and open 24 hours: the Mia Yellagonga in Perth never stops. At the same time, a work-life balance is taken seriously. Photo: © Shannon McGrath

The office tower category isn’t really applicable to the 32-floor building, because the structure’s designed as a campus and focuses on a work-life balance. With a family and community floor, as well as training programmes, wellness and leisure options, the building responds to the diverse needs of everyday life. Called Mia Yellagonga, the new glass building near the estuary of the Swan River also reflects the spirit of the place. It’s a Whadjuk Noongar Aboriginal name referencing the elder who welcomed Captain Stirling when he first arrived in 1829. Today, around 5,000 Woodside employees and partners are welcomed here daily. The building offers floorspace of 64,000 sq m and a diverse range of office environments.

Ergonomics and sustainability go hand in hand at the Woodside headquarters. The classic Wilkhahn FS chair (design: Klaus Franck, Werner Sauer) ensures dynamic sitting, because the seat and backrest angle automatically adapt to the user’s posture, while material and workmanship quality make the task chair a companion for many years to come. Photo: © Shannon McGrath

The interior design by Unispace brings movement into office work with over 60 different workspaces. This is where Woodside’s workplace philosophy called Rightspace comes to life and aims to foster physical and mental agilty and connect people. Settings are picked to suit the particular activity or team and range from meeting rooms, cabins and niches to collaborative workspaces to conference rooms and areas for rest and relaxation with glass walls.

The fluid form and clear lines of the Graph conference chair (design: jehs+laub) are impressive and make the chair anything but two dimensional. Graph is three-dimensionally flexible without needing any mechanical parts for the purpose and therefore adds movement to any meeting. Photo: © Shannon McGrath

The furniture has to meet superior ergonomic standards because health and well-being were at the foreground of the interior design. Height-adjustable and stand-desks as well as agile lighting set-ups are just as important as the right seating. The company picked two Wilkhahn solutions, which combine ergonomic requirements with a classy design language, in the shape of the classic FS task chair (design: Klaus Franck, Werner Sauer) and the Graph conference chair (design: jehs+laub). The FS chair comes with an automatic synchronous mechanism for dynamic sitting and can adapt to any posture whether people are leaning forward to write something or leaning back to make a phone call. During meetings, the Graph conference chair provides three-dimensional flexibility to activate body and mind thanks to a leaf spring in the seat’s three-point support. While sophisticated upholstery makes sitting a comfortable experience, the high-quality workmanship of both models with their bright chrome frames and hard-wearing leather covers ensures the chairs will last and last.


Cox Architecture website.

Unispace website.


Click here for more about the FS office chair range (design: Klaus Franck, Werner Sauer).

More about the Graph conference chair (design: jehs+laub).

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