Better Workplaces - Sparro & Jack Nimble's downtown Chinatown digs

Ashley Regan
By Ashley Regan | 10 November 2023

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.

After outgrowing a few offices, digital marketing agency Sparro decided to go big by taking over two levels - more than twice the size they needed - in a downtown Chinatown building.

In 1895 the building was owned by Ernest ‘Eden’ and was used as a photography studio called Eden Studios. It’s fitting that Sparro and Jack Nimble — a digital media and creative production agency pair — now occupy a space built by a creative who knew the power of PR and advertising. 

old pic

Original building 'Eden Studios' to the left.

However, in the 90s the entire five-storey building was remodelled from art deco into an industrial aesthetic.

Starting from a blank canvas, the agency, now at 100+ people, has retained most of the building’s industrial look with polished concrete floors, exposed ceilings and large glass windows which overlook the George Street light rail.

The office's current aesthetic is contemporary, clean and polished, Morris Bryant, partner at Sparro, told AdNews.

“Our space is defined by the foundations we loved about the office in the first place: polished concrete floors, high ceilings, clean white walls, exposed black industrial fittings, and lots of glass to let in natural light,” Bryant said.

Neon Signs

In fact, the space’s layout is designed to maximise exposure to natural light and let people freely flow through.

“The last thing we wanted was a cramped space or one where you couldn’t be social with your desk neighbours,” Bryant said. 

“We operate in the digital space and spend a lot of our days staring at screens, so we emphasise filling our space with natural objects, textures, and materials to bring us back to the physical world." 


Casual couches.

Without a lot of holistic creative vision, the agency’s staff have slowly chosen furniture, art, textiles, plants, and accessories to form a mish-mash of styles that reflect the eclectic tastes of over 100 people — contemporary, art deco, modern, contemporary, restoration, Aboriginal, and ultra-contemporary. 

 Team art wall

Team art wall in a private meeting room.

Dads Study

Another one of many private meeting rooms.

Among huge paintings by staff and enough plants to create a local weather system in the courtyard, “we don’t want to be precious about it or treat it as a designer showroom” Bryant said. 

“A few of our staff love plants and take great pleasure in watering, trimming, propagating and admiring our many, many plants."


Courtyard close up.

When Sparro acquired creative agency Jack Nimble in late 2021, the agency’s second level was fitted out in consultation with Jack Nimble’s co-founders and staff.

The second level is complete with a dedicated studio space, space for 50+ more staff, private meeting booths, more dining tables, a kitchenette, lounge space and a mezzanine balcony overlooking the lower level’s massive courtyard.

Full Courtyard

From level two overlooking the courtyard on level one.

The space is also big enough that it's common for clients to work from the office once a week or so.

“Our space is seriously enormous, we love having a space big enough to host others without worrying about having enough room,” Bryant said.

“In our space, we’ve fit over a hundred people, put on industry events, thrown dozens of parties, had a petting zoo (just for the day), lent desks to clients and friends, hosted thousands of meetings, and never really worried about whether our space was up for the task.”

Dining area

Flowing into the courtyard is the 'dining table' area where staff eat, drink, socialise and occasionally work.

The office desks are oversized and organised into pods of 6-8, with plenty of space between seats and other tables. 

Seats are unassigned to discourage lonely dead zones in the office on quiet days, encourage people to mingle with different teams, allow people to mix teams, and allow people from Sparro and Jack Nimble to sit amongst each other. 

Meeting boothes

Casual meeting booths.

But staff are encourage people to take 1:1 and internal meetings in the more casual breakout spaces (couches, dining tables, courtyard, standup tables), reserving formal meeting rooms for client meetings and large team meetings.

Across both levels, there are a dozen meeting rooms each named after local landmarks, places people missed, ironic jokes, and pop-culture locations. 

Values & awards wall

Large boardroom.

Tramview (pictured above) for the boardroom overlooking the George Street light rail, Gotham for the boardroom with a long Wayne-Manor-esque table, and Greenhouse for the darkest meeting room that receives no natural light. 

A staff member hand painted signs for each room, and had a staff painting night to fill a room with portraits.

Every meeting room has a large TV or monitor, a mini-computer, high-quality video cameras and microphones, and ample lighting for video conferencing. 


Large boardroom with staff art.

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