Roche Sydney

Merit Award 2018

Roche is a world leader in pharmaceutical excellence and has been a pioneer in global healthcare for over 120 years. Innovation is their lifeblood, working to spearhead new medicines and diagnostic tests that help millions of patients globally. Their innovative work is at the forefront of cancer research and a frontrunner in the creation of personalized healthcare.

Previously located in Sydney’s Northern Beaches, Roche decided to relocate their Australian head office to a 4,500-square-meter site in the Central Business District and commissioned Hassell Sydney to help create a modern and vibrant workplace with greater accessibility and connectivity to the city.

Roche then approached THERE to create workplace graphics and wayfinding for their new space, tasking them to create an inspiring environment to help foster a cultural shift towards greater flexibility and collaboration. The project scope was to develop workplace wayfinding and signage alongside wall graphics and reception branding. However, the space itself led THERE in a different direction.

Due to the open-plan interiors, large expanses of blank wall were scarce and wayfinding requirements for in-house staff were minimal, so THERE redefined their brief to focus more on creating placemaking features. Across the three floors of fit-out, two elevator lobbies anchored the north and south ends of the site; by wrapping each in a distinctive design the design team could use the elevators as navigation devices to help staff orient themselves within the building. 

The challenge then became to develop a graphic language that acted as a bridge between the company’s innovative scientific research and their personal connection to patients. Researching the company, THERE learned that Roche had a long history of supporting groundbreaking arts and cultural projects and so the idea of commissioning bespoke art pieces for the Sydney space was born.

Four local artists were each commissioned to produce an in situ wall work that wrapped one of the lift cores. The artists were encouraged to explore the parallels between science and art, with each responding to a different theme taken from the company’s global brand narratives. The artworks connected science to a more human-centric form, demonstrated through the expressive designs and brushstrokes that were hand painted across the walls. Each work covered a wall span of over 25 meters and was visible from various spots within the workplace. 

The final part of the design scope was to develop digital graphics that would be used as content for the new workplace AV equipment. Inspired by Roche’s product “lifecycle,” THERE designed a series of morphing graphics made up from hand-drawn linework.

The marks continuously flow from one theme to another, illustrating different attributes within the Roche brand narrative. The hand-drawn approach reflected the empathetic work of the company, but also helped to visually knit the digital components with the hand painted artworks. A fluid script font was used to interpret the animation, and then further used on signage elements within the built space, ensuring that the elements were all centered around the same connective theme.

Jury Comments: 

"This project made me look at Roche differently and from a whole new perspective. It really does elevate the idea of corporate design and breaks the mold of what we typically think of as corporate identity."

"This is a breath of fresh air from stuffy corporate design."

Design Firms: 

THERE

Client: 

Roche

Project Area: 

48,438 sq ft

Open Date: 

2017

Photo Credits: 

Steve Brown (photography, videography)

Design Team: 

Paul Taboure (executive creative director), Charlie Bromley (design lead/head of environments), Jon Zhu (senior designer), Lauren Barber (designer), Mansur Amiri (designer), Danielle Senecky (project manager), Liz Keene (project manager)

Consultants: 

Ron Adams, Hayley Megan French, Daniel Hollier, Tom Polo (artists); The Operative (artist management); Hassell Sydney (workplace interior design)

Fabricators: 

Signdraft

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