KPMG Lays Down Roots with Australian Landscape-Inspired Design
Built on historically significant land for Aboriginal people, the workplace design alludes to the natural environment and desire to make this new location a long-term home. Indigenous activist and educator Dr. Richard Walley helped the design team to create the considered material palette and interior shapes alluding to the Western Australian landscape’s rock formations, fire season, and warm earth tones.
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The undulating timber wall, designed in collaboration with Perth-based industrial designer and craftsperson Jack Flanagan, marks the arrival point for visitors and employees. Referencing Western Australia’s Wave Rock—a popular, 15-meter-high curved bedrock that looks like a breaking ocean wave—the sculptural installation spans the full height and length of the entrance area. Constructed from steam-bent American black walnut onto a metal frame to inform its organic shape, this piece doubles as a reception waiting area with built-in ergonomic seating. The craftsperson specifically tested several pieces of narrow timber slats for its ability to bend at varying lengths and shapes while its smooth grain and deep chocolate tones complement the warm hues.
Drawing from the Aboriginal six-season calendar, the design team focused on the fire season of Birak when the Indigenous people would burn the land to increase grazing pastures for animals and aid in seed germination—a time of rebirth and new possibilities. A smoke graphic etched on glazing contrasts upholstery with discrete, deep forest green and flame orange hues throughout the space, echoing the practice of burning the bushland.
Circular breakout areas in a terracotta hue emulate the arrangement of a campfire and evade staff hierarchy by forgoing traditional rectangular setups.
A key component of the office design is a green wall. Beloved in KPMG offices in both Sydney and Melbourne, hardy indoor plants grow up walls and along a roof-bound wire to connect workers to the natural environment.
A modified spatial layout allowed for a 10 percent reduction in footprint while still supporting a 10 percent increase in employee growth.