Slack Office in Melbourne by Breathe Architecture | Yellowtrace

Slack Office in Melbourne by Breathe Architecture | Yellowtrace

 

Slack is one of those companies that can’t step a foot wrong in the business world. Launching their incredibly successful, communications app back in 2013 and they haven’t looked back since. Recently they opened their first Australian office in Swanston Street, Carlton, in the heritage-listed brewery site.

Cleverly designed by the crew at Breathe Architecture, it’s clearly a tech company but you don’t get the sense it’s an offshoot of a Google playpen. The space isn’t littered with Ping-Pong balls or pool tables or techy-geeks, hooning down childish slides between floors. The philosophy is work really hard for eight hours, then go home and have a life.

 

See other projects by Breathe Architecture on Yellowtrace here.

 

Slack Office in Melbourne by Breathe Architecture | Yellowtrace

Slack Office in Melbourne by Breathe Architecture | Yellowtrace

 

Slack’s offices are a sophisticated workspace where grown-ups can come to work, in what feels like, dare one say it, a paired back, lux fit out that everyone who enters it agrees feels very Zen.

This may of course have something to do with the sheer number of plants that spill out from every corner. It’s not necessarily a traditional design decision but it adds a tranquillity and serenity to the space. More a luxurious Balinese day spa than an office; the natural finishes, the soft green and grey colour palette, the recycled timber floorings and the seductively dark ceilings lend an element of calm. There’s nothing like lush foliage and dark rooms to bring your pulse rate down.

 

Slack Office in Melbourne by Breathe Architecture | Yellowtrace

Slack Office in Melbourne by Breathe Architecture | Yellowtrace

 

But it’s the punctuation of clear glass walls that enables a level of transparency and lightness in what is otherwise a more sober selection of finishes. The design principals follow an open-plan, office layout but whilst there are many open plan areas both to work and meet in, there are also private areas. Phone calls are not allowed on the office floor and are taken in small, intimate rooms. No doubt the lack of noisy voices yelling down mobile phones also adds to the pervading sense of calm.

This work structure where transparency, approachability and accessibility are key elements to the design, increase communication in the workspace. This is highlighted nowhere more strongly than in the kitchen, once the domain of the house, now an integral part of the office.

 

Slack Office in Melbourne by Breathe Architecture | Yellowtrace

Slack Office in Melbourne by Breathe Architecture | Yellowtrace

 

Slack’s kitchen, clad in marble with elegant black stools, more a sophisticated wine bar than a place to have a sandwich; cohabitates with a large, informal general work area. The nature of impromptu interactions being the new, Holy Grail of office design, this kitchen cum operational working space, meets those requirements wholly. People perch at long sustainable timber benches, or sit on the rattan inspired bleachers, working independently or having robust meetings.

When the workplace layout has a freedom of movement, as this space does, and a lack of physical structure to inhibit communication, we start to see an ease of interaction, serendipitous colleague interactions, and spontaneous collaboration.

But it’s not the beautifully designed kitchen or the iPad that links up to Slack’s kitchens across the globe, (so you can talk to the San Fran office while you make your macchiato) which is the hero of this story.

 

Slack Office in Melbourne by Breathe Architecture | Yellowtrace

Slack Office in Melbourne by Breathe Architecture | Yellowtrace

 

Instead, it’s the integration of the incredible, old concrete malt silos into the design. The silos, which once housed hops and barley, have been cleverly converted into high-tech, media rooms and conference spaces. A bold backdrop of imposing concrete curves, left raw and unfinished, speaks to their history. Simple, bespoke furniture with clean clines and soft cushions offset the sheer wall of concrete behind. Strangely the combination is both elegant and harsh.

It is these lovely juxtapositions that make the Slack office so enjoyable to be in.

One has to wonder, if the first thought upon entering Slack’s offices, is how Zen it is in here, the second would have to be, do I ever have to leave?

 

Slack Office in Melbourne by Breathe Architecture | Yellowtrace

Slack Office in Melbourne by Breathe Architecture | Yellowtrace

 


[Images courtesy of . Photography © .]

 



About The Author

Susanna McArdle

Susanna has a background in Interior Architecture and a passion for writing. Based in Sydney, she has worked both in Asia and Australia designing. An avid writer, it’s hard to know what she prefers more, stringing words together or creating spaces. But one thing she does know, is that she loves doing the both together.

2 Responses

  1. Avatar
    Gonta

    I would like a revisit to this office in a couple of years to see how the plants have held up. What’s the light source for the plants?

    Reply
  2. Avatar
    Nicolette

    I like the private rooms for taking phone calls as that’s certainly one factor that doesn’t work well in open plan offices. Love the fitout!

    Reply

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