Davidson specialises in enhancing workplace performance, and while it operates around the nation, its Brisbane presence was only ever associated with existing, fit-out spaces.
After 30 years, the Australian company decided to lease a blank canvas on level 12 at 240 Queen Street, Brisbane.
Davidson engaged Melissa Marsden, founder and director of COMUNiTI, to create an authentic workplace from the ground up. COMUNiTI, in collaboration with Australian flooring experts Milliken-Ontera, has in turn created a destination and home base for the company that offers much more than ‘just an office’ to its 60+ employees and clients.
“[Davidson] saw this as an opportunity to really make their mark and to embrace what a workplace of the future was going to look like for them,” says Marsden.
Delivering the project in the midst of Queensland’s 2020 COVID-19 lockdowns, COMUNiTI and Milliken-Ontera both went the extra mile – from hand-delivered samples to comprehensive floor mapping – to ensure Davidson’s new headquarters exceeded expectations.
When it came to flooring, it was the conscious selection of colour palettes and carpet collections that highlighted Davidson’s brand identity, while also creating a beautiful working environment.
The design vision
COMUNiTI’s design approach centred on Davidson’s social pillars of diversity, equality, inclusivity and community, as well as a strong stand against domestic violence. “We had all these great ways we could bring all of that essence of who they were into the business,” Marsden says. “Their passion for humanity, wellbeing and making a positive difference in the lives of others was at the core of this project,” she says.
This focus was translated into a centralised café hub – Campsite 4 – encouraging people to come together to transfer information and ideas. From there, a range of collaboration spaces – from phone booths to focus rooms – was rolled out.
Weaving Davidson’s brand values into the very fabric of its design, COMUNiTI used carefully considered material and colour palettes to bring warmth and a sense of identity to the fit-out.
For the main flooring, Davidson wanted an industrial polished concrete feel to create a neutral base. “We worked with Milliken-Ontera’s Comfortable Concrete range to get that dappled finished through the floor,” says Marsden.
While it may sound rough, urban and raw, the Comfortable Concrete range is also refined and polished, bringing an unexpectedly plush and almost ornate appeal to its surrounding interior environment.
Marsden and team were keen to bring the ‘Davidson blue’ into the spaces and, with Milliken-Ontera, achieved this using a mix of the collection’s base grey carpet (Urban Drama in Slate Grey), cleverly interspersed with accent blue tones (Urban Drama in Slate Ocean).
The alternating and randomised carpet tiles also allowed COMUNiTI to blend collaborative spaces, such as the campsite hub, into the work areas. For the library space, the introduction of rust and blush tones in the carpeting defines the library zone without closing it off to the rest of the space.
“The spaces have the ability to transition into zones subtly without really creating defined zones, that is, not solid blue next to solid grey. But then they also identify those particular zones for activities too.”
Collaborating through lockdown
With the project delivered during Queensland’s COVID-19 lockdown in 2020, Marsden and Milliken-Ontera had to find new ways to collaborate due to remote working and difficulties in seeing samples in person.
“The Milliken-Ontera hand delivered samples to my front door, so that we could continue to work through the project. They were brilliant,” Marsden says.
“They then mapped the whole floor, laying the 500-by-500 squares and randomising the pattern for a visual effect, so we knew exactly what the floor covering was going to look like before we gave it to the contractor,” she recalls.
This meant the contractor could then do a complete install of the product exactly as per the design.
Today, Davidson has a space that is holistically aligned with its brand – in every way, shape and form.
“We ended up designing an agile work environment that would take them into the future and allow for future expansion and increased collaboration,” Marsden says.