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A publicly listed company with a prestigious and time-honoured tradition, Rio Tinto’s continued growth and the requirement for a more flexible and responsive work space meant new premises was the next inevitable development.
The negotiated increase to a 50 per cent open working environment was deemed appropriate, due to a combination of the confidential nature of work, client meeting requirements and the importance of enhancing openness in line with Rio Tinto’s values. The design team from Geyer undertook interviews with all department heads, gathering information to devise a plan that would suit everybody’s needs, now and into the future.
Geyer’s design incorporated the aim to ‘foster more interaction within the business and help change the way Rio Tinto’s teams worked, which was aligned with contemporary and best practice principles’.
The increased open workstation areas was one element of this, as was the introduction of an internal staircase, designed to encourage visual interaction between staff. This ‘brings together all departments on different floors in a more connecting fashion’
The unique design of the staircase with solid oak stair and striking ‘Marblo’ vertical feature mimics strata mineral layers – a link to Rio Tinto’s mining operations. Breakout areas and libraries have also enabled an element of social interaction; simultaneously supporting the remote workers, hot desking requirements and professional relationships. The extensive video conferencing and linked technology applied to the client meeting floor better connects the Australian headquarters with interstate and overseas Rio Tinto sites.
The design evokes ‘a sense of timelessness and understated sophistication that reflects the brand attributes of Rio Tinto’.
Along with the interconnecting stairwell feature, other references such as rock displays and connection to the earth with fossilised limestone in part refer to the mining aspect of Rio Tinto’s business. The Australian artwork collection, enhanced with a warm, golden palette and native materials evokes the familiar, antipodean atmosphere.
As Neil Brazier describes, the new headquarters have greatly enhanced Rio Tinto’s workplace culture: the new environment has improved work practices and communication between departments and floors.
Rio Tinto Melbourne Image Gallery
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