The space spans 10,000 sq m across seven levels and sets a benchmark for hybrid workplaces in Australia.
The new office reimagines some of Australia’s most iconic landscapes. GroupGSA Principal and project lead Pablo Albani says the design takes Microsoft employees on a journey to discover their desks and meeting spaces. “To get to the areas of work, you have to traverse different elements, like enclosed and semi-enclosed spaces, cave-like environments and tunnels of greenery,” he says.
Natural landmarks are referenced throughout, conceptually linked with Microsoft’s brand values. A rock wall simulates Cradle Mountain, while Sydney’s Figure Eight Pools inspire the customer floor on Level 28.
A parametrically designed, undulating timber wall, symbolic of the Royal National Park, stretches from one end of Level 28 to the other, wrapping the visitor reception area. Design cues are representative of the curvature of the rock pools. The water’s ripple effects are reflective on the Rimex ceiling, while other surfaces embody Australian beaches.
Biophilic design evokes a connection back to nature while balancing heavily integrated technology. Intelligent lighting, robotics and advanced workplace occupancy sensors, linked to Microsoft platforms, are a key part of the hybrid office experience.
A monolithic Corian-clad staircase with built-in LEDs cantilevers into the void between the seven floors, encouraging connectivity and collaboration. The lighting is reactive and responsive to the surroundings and can be programmed to change colour for themed events, like International Women’s Day, or can link to sensors in the building to reflect activity. The lighting can intensify if there are lots of people on the floor and has the ability to react to the weather.
The fit-out includes smart office sensors and digital whiteboards to allow employees to contribute in a way that best suits them. Modern maintenance facilities include cleaning robots which traverse the floors.
An open space, concierge at arrival, communal dining area, an onsite barista, and grab-and-go food options prompt people to meet, eat, collaborate, and socialise. There are also areas for board games and flex spaces that adapt to varying purposes.
Half of Level 28’s floor space is dedicated to staff amenities and functions, including a live stream room, Xbox gaming room, a recording studio, dedicated meditation and yoga spaces, a library and parents’ room. There are two ‘nap suites’, prayer rooms and a leisure hub for employees to play pool or ping pong.
Each floor has different work areas to suit employees’ needs, including quiet corners for solo work, sofas for informal meetings, and reservable meeting rooms for more involved sessions. Team neighbourhoods, screened-in workshop areas, touch-down desks, sound-proofed phone booths, and conversation rooms all work together to support the mobile workforce.
The dedicated workfloors, with elevated views of Sydney harbour, continue the storytelling. On Level 26, wayfinding is inlaid on the floor that imitates the typography of the Blue Mountains. Timber floor linings and a feature ceiling is inspired by the Australian verandah and farm sheds. Interactive walls near lifts are reminiscent of indigenous dot paintings.