EDVY Closes April 26th! Enter Now Top Link
Home > Structures

40 years of engineering excellence reflected in Fender Katsalidis-designed workplace for Robert Bird Group 

<strong>40 years of engineering excellence reflected in Fender Katsalidis-designed workplace for Robert Bird Group </strong>

Bringing a renewed sense of hospitality and warmth, Robert Bird Group (RBG) has officially opened its new Brisbane headquarters, designed by international design firm Fender Katsalidis to foster togetherness, collaboration and inspired productivity. 

Located in Fortitude Valley’s Jubilee Place, a sustainable commercial building owned by JGL Properties, the global engineering consultancy firm is the structural engineer behind this new build, making it a fitting location for its new workplace as the firm marks its 40-year milestone. 

One of the tower’s defining features is a steel diagrid that is woven throughout the build and is visible throughout the interior of the floorplate, providing a salient marker of engineering excellence. 

Fender Katsalidis associate director Karen Morris says the design objective was to showcase this detail, as “the DNA of the building” and a symbol of RBG’s work more broadly, across the expansive and naturally-lit 1,500 sqm floorplate. 

“We have achieved this through a restrained palette and framed views of the structure. A layering of soft warm interior insertions balance the base build envelope of exposed services and structure to create an ultimate balance between masculine and feminine,” she says. 

In contrast to the group’s old office space, which was dark in its atmosphere and divided by a central core, the new headquarters are anchored by a brighter and muted palette that reflects Brisbane’s warm and sunny climate. Moments of pattern in key areas, such as meeting rooms, offer a nod to the company’s Australian roots. 

A restrained palette of colours and materials feature in the interiors and kitchen, with a wash of steel, terrazzo, and light timber cladding the waffle ceiling, panelled walls, and furniture, only occasionally punctuated by the brand’s blue hues. 

Meeting guests upon arrival is a custom-made sculptural aluminium reception desk, handmade by a local metalworker. Moving away from the imposing entryways of the bygone era, its reflective light contributes to a soft, welcoming and inclusive environment from the very first instance. 

Further contributing to the sense of welcome is the highly visible break-out space that, taking inspiration from home kitchens, invites guests beyond the reception area and through to the hospitable terrazzo island bench. 

Translucent fabric screens frame various parts of the internal plan, adding to the visual transparency and cross-connection across the floor plate. Arranged with collaboration in mind, these screens drape around the central core to create soft visual divides separating clusters of gathering spaces. 

With a broad group of team members working closely with the design firm throughout the process, RBG Group managing director Grant Weir says the collaborative efforts were an extension of the company’s inclusive and respectful culture and the excellent results that diversity and inclusion can achieve. 

“Throughout the consultation period, the team provided direct insights into their needs and were key drivers in the aesthetics and tailored work settings. This has allowed the design to authentically reflect who we are as a business,” says Weir.

“The warmth and gentleness of natural elements has created an unimposing space that balances comfort and inclusiveness with focus and efficiency. Most importantly, the framed views of the exposed diagrid pay homage to our craft and inspire us every day.” 

Naturally-lit break-out tables in linear and snowflake formations have been placed around the perimeter of the office, and are surrounded by a range of meeting rooms to suit various functions. Solo booths and small meeting rooms facilitate deep work, conference calls and private conversations, while larger rooms give team members space to collaborate. 

Aligned with Fender Katsalidis’s dedication to sustainability, many furniture items have been locally sourced and made in Australia. Tables recovered from former boardrooms have been repurposed and refinished with car wrapping film to extend their lifespan. 

Conceived during the pandemic and developed primarily online, the RBG office fitout was completed in late 2022, instilling a renewed sense of purpose on home soil as the global engineering firm traverses its 40 years of business.