Sydney’s Greatest Creative Agency Work/Play Spaces

08 December 2015

​​You'll spend about 80,000 hours at work across a typical lifetime. It's pretty crazy to think about, especially when you consider how much of that time is watching cat videos! Creative agencies have figured out that creating playful office spaces makes for a more vibrant and productive work environment. Such workplaces are the dream of designers and art directors everywhere but it does beg the question: do cat videos increase productivity? Nevermind.

While you're browsing Sydney's best, consider what would your greatest workplace look like… and would you want to work at any of these fine establishments?

Above Image Gallery: McCann

​Since first opening their doors in Australia in 1959, McCann have worked on some crazy big brands. Remember Louie the Fly and the Milky Bar Kid? They came up with them. And the Coca-Cola sign in Kings Cross is their handiwork too. More recently their cute-macabre viral video for Metro Trains in Melbourne, Dumb Ways to Die, became the most awarded campaign in the history of Cannes.

McCann's offices are located in the heart of Sydney CBD in the Heritage-listed Royal Naval House, but don't let the impressive nineteenth century facade fool you. Inside, McCann boasts eclectic and modern workspaces (and play spaces) designed to foster creativity. At the top of the stairs to McCann's offices you will find the creative agency's proverb, "Truth Well Told" enshrined on a striking black and white graphic wall – good advice for any aspiring adman (or adperson).

The Pacman Room is an awesome retro-inspired space where McCann creatives can meet up, hang out and brainstorm ideas. They can chill on a beanbag or pull up a chair to the vintage arcade console.

After a long day smashing through creative briefs, you can go downstairs to the courtyard for some much needed respite. Originally open to the sky, it's now an airy three-story space with a glass roof to let in heaps of natural light. You can relax at the bar, perch yourself at 12-seater bench table or lounge back like a boss on the Chesterfield sofa.

​Above Image Gallery: Deepend

The guys at Deepend really have it sorted when it comes to work/play spaces. Based in Surry Hills, their offices are housed in a wicked split-level converted warehouse. They brought in interior designers The World is Round to deck out their offices, going for minimalist design, warm earthy colours and bright open spaces. One of the office's central features is the textured Tetris puck wall which wraps around Deepend's production studio, board room and edit suite.

The boardroom at the entry to the office isn't exactly conventional. It's open to the rest of the office and, if there's no one having a meeting or working on a brief, Deepend's creatives can push back the chairs, crack out the paddles and unwind with a game of ping pong.

Their aim was a space that promotes creativity while incorporating a casual and friendly ambience. "It's a really beautiful space and an office you actually want to come and work in," said Matt Griffin, Founder and Chief Executive of the Deepend Group. "The open layout and entertainment features such as our ping pong table and bar help provide a place for the team to 'live in' rather than 'work in'. It truly is an innovative place to create great work."

Other work/play areas in their offices include an integrated café and bar, Kinect wall for team workshops, DJ decks, foosball table and a super-modern kitchen where even Jamie Oliver would feel at home splashing a waz of olive oil on some tater tots.

Above Image Gallery: Clemenger BBDO. Photography by Nicole England

You know that friend with the awesome house you wish you lived in? That's kind of what Clemenger BBDO is like. With sensational vistas of Sydney, naturally lit open plan spaces with a classic hardwood finish, it's easy to feel some serious office envy about this "New York loft with Scandinavian design."

The agency brought in leading interior design firm HASSELL to realise their vision for a workshop-style space which created a culture of collaboration and inclusion and inspired creative thinking. Located in St Leonards, it has a combination of shared work stations, quiet zones and informal work/play areas where creatives can hang out. The space is designed to work for the people working in it. There is a pool table, rotating pin-up walls and even super comfy booths where creatives can sleep when working late.

Areas are designed with flexibility, openness and collaboration in mind, considerations which helped it to win the office design category at the 2013 Inside: World Festival of Interiors awards.

Above Image: The Distillery

For some creative agencies the playfulness comes from the work itself. At The Distillery in Pyrmont they have eschewed their laserjets and photocopiers for letterpress printing techniques using vintage hand-operated machines, some of which are older than your grandfather. Why? Pretty much because they love it. Their philosophy is "the best ideas start and are lived outside a computer screen."

The Distillery believes work/play is in the practice rather than the space. They allow their creatives and printmakers to experiment on the machines in their own time, and also share their knowledge by taking on interns and teaching them in modern letterpress practices.

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