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The Office Of The Future May Not Be In Silicon Valley

The next big thing in office design innovation may not be coming from Silicon Valley. Perth, Australia, may soon have one of the most technologically advanced offices in the world.

Rendering of executive pods at the Unispace-designed office

Unispace is designing the largest corporate development in the Southern Hemisphere for an undisclosed client. The building in Australia is expected to be future-proof so it is relevant in 2030, according to Dean Rikanovic, Unispace design principal in Australia. This has meant incorporating artificial intelligence, around 50 different work environments and adding plenty of wellness elements and amenities to keep employees happy.

Unispace, which is designing the interior space, has taken an integrative approach to how it designs this new office.

Unispace San Francisco principal – strategy Albert de Plazaola and design principal in Australia Dean Rikanovic

“There’s no real magic bullet for the workplace of the future,” Unispace San Francisco principal for strategy Albert de Plazaola said. “It’s not one piece of technology. It’s not one system’s configuration. It’s not one workstyle, and it’s not about agile working. It’s about how all of these things can come together that create more than the sum of its parts.”

Unispace will do so by incorporating various technological elements, wellness, flexible workspace and amenities into the 30-floor office tower.


Unispace design principal in Australia Dean Rikanovic shows the various ways technology will be used at the building.

A robot concierge will greet visitors and employees as they enter the lobby of the new building, according to Rikanovic. The robot has the ability to understand and speak 28 languages. Biometric facial recognition and hand scanners will provide secure entry.

Unispace and the corporate client partnered with NASA, IBM’s Watson, Microsoft, Cisco and MIT to create some of the advanced technologies and artificial intelligence present throughout the building and beyond. Advanced operations floors will have real-time access to project sites. Drones will be deployed to inspect various sites. NASA also created robots that can be used to perform dangerous tasks key to the company's business. Within five to 10 years, the company expects to have 50 to 100 robots.

Watson will assess problems at a worksite that normally would take up to six employees and four weeks to fix. Watson can fix a problem within two weeks.

AI tech will be used to monitor how workspace is being used and how to increase office efficiencies, Rikanovic said. Employees will have access to digital whiteboards where someone remotely can engage and interact with the whiteboard and share information.

Flexible Space

Rendering of a workspace

Rikanovic estimates there will be around 50 different work environments throughout the building. From day one, the building will accommodate 3,500 people, but can be flexible for up to 5,000 people. The flexible workspace, dubbed Right Space, will provide a mix of collaborative work environments and focus space.

The work environments can be assigned to different teams or allow for open seating. Quiet pods will be incorporated into the design for when employees want to focus and be left alone. On the top floors, executives will work in pods 17 feet wide to encourage more openness and connections.


Rendering of a Unispace-designed interior space in Australia

The interior design incorporates plenty of natural light, healthy food options and sit/stand workstations. Sleep pods will be available for employees to book, Rikanovic said. Stairwells are designed near elevators to encourage walking.

A wellness area will offer greenery and natural light and a place to unplug from technology. A pop-up café will offer healthy food choices and organic coffee. An on-site general practitioner also will be available.


Rendering of the interior of building designed by Unispace

Since much of the staff is anticipated to bike to work, the facility offers 700 bike parking spaces, a full-time bike mechanic, 70 showers and 1,100 lockers. Electric vehicle charging stations also will be offered.

Within the building, an internal meeting floor will provide a café restaurant and a children’s play area. The meeting floor will have parenting suites, a commercial kitchen, an amphitheater, an exhibition space and a variety of areas, such as a co-work café, for people to meet and interact. Employees will be able to use their phones to order coffee through an automated coffee maker. On-site day care also will be offered.

While the office will offer a plethora of amenities, the site incorporates mixed-use elements including a hotel and possibly an apartment complex. Retail and other elements will be incorporated into the site. The mixed-use building will provide 10K SF of outdoor space with barbecues, outdoor meeting areas, basketball courts, a mini soccer field, yoga space and outside vegetation. The corporation will have its own gym and pool. A separate pool will be available to the hotel.