Better Workplaces - Akcelo’s classy hotel-inspired office

Ashley Regan
By Ashley Regan | 14 July 2023
Akcelo’s classy hotel-inspired office

Employee preferences for WFH means workplaces need to utilise office spaces as a tool to connect with staff. In Better Workplaces, AdNews looks at how agencies use office design to entice staff to come in and create a company culture worth staying for.

Brand experience company Akcelo, during the COVID-19 pandemic, spent nine months searching for the perfect office space before stumbling upon every agency’s dream - an empty warehouse in Redfern.

With a blank canvas Akcelo created its dream chic and inviting office in a building which was originally a toy factory, producing little red toy cars and trucks from Cyclops Toys, in the early 1900s.

The agency’s aesthetic goal was to create an office akin to a hotel lobby, Aden Hepburn, Akcelo CEO, told AdNews.

“A space where people could walk in, sit down, and enjoy a drink or coffee with their team or friends. We wanted the workspace to have a cool factor that would set us apart and make us an attractive choice for prospective talent,” Hepburn said.

pool table

Pool table.

An important aspect of the office layout is its ground floor location, designed with a high street shop front aesthetic. This intentional choice ensures easy accessibility for people to enter the office.

"We actually get people trying to get in thinking we’re a café or restaurant!” Hepburn said.

Outside office with branding

Akcelo's front.

With a welcoming ambiance, the foyer transitions seamlessly from a casual setting into a cool bar or hotel vibe. 

“We aimed to provide an experience where everyone feels looked after and receives exceptional hospitality service,” Hepburn said, “Crafting an environment that would serve various purposes, from events to employee retention and everything in between.”

Entrance with branding

Akcelo foyer.

Inside, the office is divided into a light and a dark side.

The light side encompasses the kitchen and hangout areas, designed to be bright and inviting. The dark side, situated under the mezzanine, was transformed into smaller rooms and booths suitable for team meetings and calls.

stairs to second level

Stairs to second level.

Casual eating area

Casual seating.

“I think most people’s favourite aspect is undoubtedly the kitchen bar. It's an impressive 10-metre long worktop that combines elements of a bar, bench, and kitchen,” Hepburn said.

The scale and design of the kitchen spans 20 metres, making it an incredible space for both functionality and collaboration. It serves as a hub where people can connect, foster teamwork, and enjoy their time in the office, and the dual champagne troughs are a nice touch. 


Office kitchen.


“Creating an environment that exudes excitement, energy, and facilitates collaboration was a crucial aspect of our design philosophy,” Hepburn said. “We wanted to ensure that our office space not only supports productivity but also inspires our team to create their best work and genuinely enjoy coming into the office.”

Downstairs includes the majority of the large meeting rooms and dozens of casual seating areas which offer secluded spots for people to work comfortably and efficiently, whether it's a corner space or a designated breakout zone. 

Inside large meeting room looking out to kitchen

Inside large meeting room overlooking the kitchen.

Large meeting room

Another large meeting room.

medium meeting rooms with casual seating in front

Small meeting rooms.

Akcelo has implemented a 2:1:2 work model, where employees have the flexibility to work from the office for two consecutive days (Monday and Tuesday), followed by a work-from-anywhere day (Wednesday), and then two more office days (Thursday and Friday). 

“This model offers a balance for those who may prefer a mix of office and remote work. Even on Wednesdays, which are designated as work-from-home days, approximately 50% of our employees choose to come into the office to leverage the facilities and culture,” Hepburn said.

zoom rooms - 1-2 person booth

Zoom rooms, one to two person booths.

Upstairs, known as the engine room, is the traditional staff desks. Equipped with scalable bench desks and standing desks, this design choice allows for flexibility as the company grows, accommodating varying space requirements. 

To encourage staff mobility the desks have no hardwired connections, instead everything is Google-connected allowing laptops to go completely wireless within moments when staff want to relocate.

Giving people complete freedom to seamlessly transition between different workspaces without any compromise in productivity.

Upstairs with all staff desk

Staff desks.

Staff desk with standing desks

“We made sure the engine room is spacious and well-distributed,” Hepburn said.

“The remarkable thing is that the acoustics are designed in such a way that someone two seats away won't be directly affected by your video call chat. This allows people to be more productive from their own seats.”

Wedged between the staff desks are more casual couch areas, rooms and labs, utilising old beams and customisations, for impromptu meetings and conversations.

Couch seating area upstairs with desk

Casual couch area upstairs.

Instead casual meating room with couches

Medium meeting room upstairs.

small meeting room

Small meeting room upstairs.

And there are just enough desks for the staff.

The Sydney team is 120 employees - with a total of 180 worldwide - and the office accommodates 130 to 140 seats, with an additional 50 to 60 breakout spaces, booths, nooks, and crannies where people can work from. 

“We took up the lease when our workforce was relatively lean, however, after just one year, we are almost at full capacity,” Hepburn said.

“With Akcelo continuing to grow quickly, we may require an expansion by knocking down walls and moving into another building, so we are already talking to neighbouring buildings about the possibility of expanding. 

“It’s a very good problem to have.”

Have something to say on this? Share your views in the comments section below. Or if you have a news story or tip-off, drop us a line at

Sign up to the AdNews newsletter, like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter for breaking stories and campaigns throughout the day.

Read more about these related brands, agencies and people

comments powered by Disqus