Westpac Parramatta: fostering reinvention, regeneration and reconnection

Interior design by Group GSA /  Photography by Toby Peet

In Westpac’s new Parramatta workplace, Schiavello Ganbu’s furniture features prominently, highlighting the importance of specifying quality design, utilising integrated technology while supporting Indigenous participation.

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Westpac Parramatta - workplace entrance

Westpac Parramatta’s new workplace consolidates three existing office locations in the one centralised hub. Designed by Group GSA, the scheme champions the principles of reinvention, regeneration and reconnection by strengthening the workforce through an environment that is agile and dynamic. The new office functions as a gathering place, facilitating collaboration and creating spaces that are truly inclusive.

“Our objectives for this workplace were to create an environment that inspires and supports our people to achieve great things for Westpac’s customers and business,” says Suzanne Currie, Westpac’s Chief Property Officer. “Bringing together five sites at a new location has allowed us to deliver building, amenity, technology and operations upgrades that provide an enhanced employee experience as well as support future business needs.” Located in Parramatta Square on Dharug Country, the new office spans an impressive 18,000sqm across eight floors.

Westpac Parramatta - collaboration spaces

Inspired by nature's places of congregation

The interior’s midnight blues and deep oranges are matched by the red ochre Australian marble concierge desk and custom overlay carpet, which features a meandering motif that pays homage to the Parramatta River. Elsewhere, blonde timbers, multi-layered textural finishes in charcoals, sage greens and rich auburns evoke memories of sitting around a campfire. Each floor has a generous gathering space located around the central staircase and this encourages congregation. Employees feel relaxed and this is conducive to increased performance and positive outcomes. As they move away from the void, spaces become more enclosed to allow for individual working.

Furniture, of course, plays an integral role within the overall design, not only visually complementing the contemporary aesthetic, but also providing employees with the sound ergonomic support they require. In procuring furniture through Schiavello’s 50% owned Indigenous company, Schiavello Ganbu, both Group GSA and Westpac are investing in creating opportunities for and supporting Indigenous Australians.

Westpac Parramatta - social space

Progressive Procurement

With a commitment to backing Indigenous enterprise in their Reconciliation Action Plan and as a signatory to Raising the Bar, a joint initiative of the Business Council of Australia and certified Indigenous business advocate Supply Nation, Westpac is taking action to increase Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander supplier diversity to support improved economic and social outcomes. Westpac’s procurement goals were also met on this project because Schiavello Ganbu is a Diverse Supplier Group, supporting Indigenous participation and strategies to improve outcomes for Indigenous Australians through employment, education, community engagement and cultural awareness.

As Hannah-Jayne Shilling, Supplier Inclusion & Diversity, Group Procurement at Westpac explains. “Westpac seeks to create impact by embracing inclusive and diverse purchasing practices. Our goal is to increase opportunities for a range of suppliers who have traditionally been underrepresented in our community to provide us with goods and services. Also, we encourage all our suppliers to value inclusion and diversity within their own operations and supply chain.”

Westpac Parramatta - staircase
Westpac Parramatta - workstations

Knowledge-led product, values-led approach

Schiavello developed Schiavello Ganbu as part of its Indigenous Participation Plan, which sees young Indigenous apprentices mentored by its Indigenous Engagement Manager Kyle Vander Kuyp, who is also tasked with nurturing cultural confidence among Schiavello’s 1100 staff. Foremost is ensuring the high quality commercial workplace furniture they produce remains just that and for Westpac, this was of the utmost consideration. Their new office features Schiavello Ganbu product, including 1800+ Neo Electric Sit Stand Workstations and 3600+ Humanscale M2.1 Monitor Arms, as well as the Vecos Locker System, Rib Chair, Karo Stool and various meeting tables.

The integration of technology and best practice workstations and amenities was a priority and there was a focus on the prototyping of desk solutions, including the fitting of all technology components. This proved to be a valuable process that involved amendments being made to cable management pathways, cable tray dimensions, power outlet configurations and positions and the selection and positioning of monitor arms. While the result is a slick technology-enabled work system that’s in keeping with Group GSA’s clean, modern scheme, it’s also extremely functional.

“We were able to offer Westpac a value-engineered pricing solution that enabled every staff member to have a Neo Electric Sit Stand Workstation, giving each user access to full electric height range functionality,” explains Schiavello’s Operations Manager Simon Taylor. “And our local manufacture and short lead times made these custom solutions possible, allowing Westpac to delay final decisions on things like screen positions and UPS power until later in the process when they had clear direction.”

Westpac Parramatta - Vecos lockers

Reconciling the past while moving to the future

Schiavello’s Vecos locker solution allowed Westpac to move away from their old system of assigned lockers. Now, the office boasts 2000+ lockers with extensive data that enables employees to optimise their usage. The Vecos Locker System itself is run through an app that allows users to remotely book, release or open a locker from their smart phone, supporting a hybrid workforce and making day-to-day operations run much more smoothly. It’s a slick product that lends the overall interior design an appealing industrial look that very much resonates with the office’s urban location and Westpac’s position as a forward-thinking company.

Westpac’s new office ultimately stands testament to the benefits of their long term relationship with Schiavello - providing a deep level of understanding only possible through time. In delivering high quality furniture and integrated technology solutions, Schiavello Ganbu has exceeded the functional, ergonomic, environmental and economic parameters of this large-scale project, complementing Group GSA’s vision for an inclusive, agile workplace. Employees can gather and collaborate, connect remotely and retreat when working autonomously, all the while feeling supported in a comfortable setting.