Better Workplaces - R/GA’s Bauhaus designed Surry Hills and Cremorne offices

Ashley Regan
By Ashley Regan | 12 January 2024

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.

Creative innovation studio R/GA designed its Sydney and Melbourne offices based on the Bauhaus design philosophy where art, industry, technology and aesthetics collide.

With collaboration and reinvention at its core, the Bauhaus movement came from a desire to marry functionality and aesthetics.

Designed by interior architect Wool+Hay and contractor IPDA along with R/GA’s local leadership team, both spaces aim for a more human experience with textures, warmth, natural materials, curated objects, and thoughtful finishings.

Sydney - mural and meeting rooms

Mural at the boardrooms, Sydney.

The design goal was to make ‘coming into work the highlight of your week’ with Surry Hills opening in June 2022 following the Cremorne office in 2023.

“We wanted to maintain a hybrid working style post covid and we knew we had to compete with working in trackies, walking the dog at lunch time and having zero commute time,” Michael Titshall, R/GA CEO, told AdNews.

“So we needed the space to be both useful and kind of wonderful at the same time." 

Melbourne - Hallway looking at meeting rooms

Meeting room hallway, Melbourne.

For both spaces, this meant thinking about individual, social and functional benefits for the teams - designing the spaces for different personal working styles, including standing desks, collaborative and then quiet workspaces.

The offices were even designed for couch enthusiasts says Victoria Curro, R/GA managing director.

From social areas for fresh air in the outdoors, communal eating spaces, to pulling up stools at our custom-built bars at the end of the working week to enjoy a drink together," Curro said.

“And for functionally, we have plug and play set-ups at every work space and in every meeting room.

"We also have a lot of flexibility in shifting work spaces to accommodate different uses – a lot of our furniture is on wheels rather than fixed to the floor.”

sydney 2



Inspired by the colours, textures and aesthetic of the city, Sydney uses golden tones, natural finishes, and borrows from the hospitality industry to create a friendly environment. 

It doesn’t “feel’’ like a traditional office space, but has all the functionality to allow for productive and collaborative work, Curro said.

Sydney - staff at long desk

The building was constructed during lockdown and its design includes the addition of a laneway along one side of the building to let in more natural light, a roof terrace to provide an inner-city oasis of green space, and an aquamarine façade sculpted from custom glazed bricks to set it apart from its neighbouring buildings. 

Sydney - meeting room

The office hosts many small 1-4 person meeting rooms and booths.

Sydney 1

Sydney’s 52 Reservoir Street marks the rebirth of a working ethos that typifies these historic Surry Hills streets.

From three generations of the Frack family, who had operated their compressor workshop from this site since 1936, that ethos has been reimagined into a modern office setup for productivity.

This site is a microcosm of Surry Hills. It has housed cottages and workshops, witnessed development driven by the economic growth of the city and even seen a couple of suspicious fires along the way.

The purpose built building was a gold winner of Urban Architecture Design and Design Awards 2022. 

Sydney - meeting room

Meeting room.

In Sydney, our kitchen areas on level 3+4 get a lot of use.

Sydney - agency meeting in common area

Agency meeting in the Sydney office kitchen and common area.

“We had an amazing opportunity to design a workspace purpose built for a post-Covid hybrid way-of-working," Curro said.

"We’re always fine-tuning things, but I think from the out-set we were able to create a space that the team enjoys coming into.

"They love showing it off to clients, they enjoy spending time together there socially and, importantly, it’s a great place to get work done. It’s productive, collaborative and inspiring.”

Sydney - staff break out desk<

When not used for agency-wide meetings, the area is used as the staff kitchen for small break out meetings and lunch.


The Melbourne space has a different vibe to reflect the culture and attitude of its neighbourhood. 

Set in inner-city Cremorne, it’s industrial, but vibrant, using bold colours and furnishings to contrast with the exposed concrete interior. 

Melbourne - desks and awards

The space borrows from hospitality cues to create welcoming areas for our teams to come together, including a balcony space and cafe style setting surrounding a custom-built kitchen and eating area. 

Melbourne - desks looking into kitchen and balcony

Melbourne - kitchen tables and desks

Melbourne’s 19 Cubitt Street can be traced back to the mid-19th century, with the suburb deeply rooted in Melbourne’s warehousing and industrial history. 

Cremorne’s recent success as a commercial hub among entrepreneurs and creatives is because of its flexible and forward-thinking approach to commercial zoning, which allows for custom office layouts in classic manufacturing buildings or complete knock-down, rebuilds. 

“Melbourne’s 'cafe' is a space where you can find the kitchen, lunch tables, comfy couches that sprawls out onto a private balcony, overlooking AAMI stadium with the city as a backdrop," he said.

Melbourne - balcony

Melbourne desks

"In this hybrid world, it’s not so much about counting the days we spend in the office, but more about what we’re getting done when we’re together," Titshall said.

"Places to work are more than ever about people connecting and being together.”

More importantly, work from anywhere

Each office has enough workspace seating for 80-90% of the agency’s total staff count, but enough room for everyone as many people use communal spaces, collaboration rooms and functional spaces like the edit suite to do their work during the day. 

There are also no assigned desks, the teams pick a free spot when they come in.

And despite having two beautiful offices in Australia’s biggest cities, R/GA has a very flexible, hybrid way of working allowing staff to work from anywhere with zero days mandated in the office. 

Teams are encouraged to come in when it works for the work and project. 

R/GAnywhere allows teams to log on from Bali, Thailand, Europe or even the Gold Coast, allowing staff the time to be with family, friends or just alone to recalibrate without taking all of their annual leave. 

Design your day initiative also empowers, encourages and trusts our teams to make the day work for them, this means flexibility around when they start and finish, and whether they choose to work from home or the office. 

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