M&C Saatchi

Woods Bagot

Client: M&C Saatchi Group

A sumptuous overhaul of an interwar building that recognises character, not perfection, as the key to the future workplace. 

M&C Saatchi’s redesigned headquarters by Woods Bagot is located within the 1930s former Transport House building on 99 Macquarie Street. 

The original structure, designed by Henry Budden and Mackay – a six-storey interwar, art deco-style sandstone building – is centrally located in Circular Quay, close to creative institutions including the Art Gallery of New South Wales, the Sydney Opera House, and the recently-completed Sydney Modern. 

The major refurbishment took the early 20th-century building, upgrading it to respond to 21st-century requirements, adapting the old building stock to create a contemporary workplace with elegant historic texture. 

Incorporating circular principals, adaptive reuse was selected as the most sustainable option with greater outcomes for the office character and building narrative. The workplace recognises character – not perfection – as the fundamental requirement for the future workplace. 

The space brings together the business’s 350 staff for the first time in the company’s history, where workers previously occupied disparate sites across the CBD, Surry Hills and Redfern. Comprising 3,400 square metres of floorspace over three levels, the headquarters is designed to entice employees back to the office to recoup company culture in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The premium-grade office space responds to post-pandemic workplace trends, designed for collaboration and creativity with hybrid working rhythms. Opulent period details (delicate steel-cased windows, marble columns and timber panels) and sound heritage bones offer a rich spatial makeup, interwoven with new, interactive work zones and modern technology.

The primary principles anchoring the project are: nothing leaves the building; character is amplified, not subdued; and the space must constitute a unique place to work.