Wednesday 28 August 2019


Eternity Playhouse
39 Burton Street
Darlinghurst Sydney NSW
Google Maps


$450 (all sessions, morning tea, lunch and closing drinks)

Buy Tickets


Major partner

Supporting partners

Earn CPD Points


Nicole Greenwell

Sponsorship and Events Header Image DSV Headquarters in Copenhagen by PLH Arkitekter. Photography: Tomas Bertelsen.


Download Program
  • 8.45 am Arrival and seating
  • 9.00 am Welcome from Cassie Hansen, Editor, Artichoke
  • 9.15 am Keynote Address
    Paulette Christophersen, Partner, PLH Arkitekter (Copenhagen)
  • 10.00 am Keynote Address
    Sarah Cotton, Co-Director/Organizational Psychologist, Transitioning Well (Melbourne)
  • 10.45 am Morning tea
  • 11.15 am Case Study: Barwon Water Headquarters (Geelong)
    Architect: Martin Palmer, Director of Architecture, GHDWoodhead. Client: Tracey Slatter, Managing Director, Barwon Water.
  • Case Study: Bresic Whitney Darlinghurst, Hunters Hill and Rosebery (Sydney)
    Architect: Tony Chenchow, Founding Partner, Chenchow Little. Client: Shannan Whitney, Director, Bresic Whitney.
  • Case Study: Arup Workplace (Sydney)
    Architect: Emily Moss, Principal, Hassell. Client: Andrew Pettifer, NSW Regional Leader, Arup.
  • 12.45 pm Lunch break
  • 2.00 pm Keynote Address
    Sue Solly, Spatial Planning Director, Experience Design, Deloitte Digital (Melbourne)
  • 2.45 pm Keynote Address
    Primo Orpilla, Co-Founder, Studio O+A (San Francisco)
  • 3.30 pm Panel Discussion
    Moderator: Rachael McCarthy, Studio Director, Bates Smart. Panellists: Paulette Christophersen, Sarah Cotton, Sue Solly and Primo Orpilla.
  • 4.00 pm Closing comments from Katelin Butler, Editorial Director, Architecture Media
  • 4.15 pm Closing drinks
  • 5.00 pm Event closes

Keynote Addresses.

Inspiration from Scandinavian work life

Presented by Paulette Christophersen, Partner, PLH Arkitekter

Mega trends and disruption are common phenomena around the world, but how is Scandinavian workplace design evolving to embrace the future? Paulette Christophersen, an Australian based in Copenhagen, will draw on twenty years of experience in Denmark to share ideas that could inspire new directions in an Australian context. Scandinavians enjoy a high standard of living, have a high level of education and, through a collective bargaining system, enjoy excellent conditions in the workplace. In Denmark, human brainpower is the country’s strongest natural resource, and the focus on science, technology, sustainability and design excellence, creates a unique eco system for developing future workplace thinking. Generations Y and Z have grown up in a highly digital, progressive, and collaborative project-based education system. Their demands for the future workplace, as well as aspects of work life that Danes take for granted, could spark new approaches to designing for Australians at work. In recent years, PLH Arkitekter has designed seven unique global headquarters, along with three innovation centres. Each project presents solutions for the future of the office as a building typology and illustrates how embracing human needs where work, learning and leisure can be integrated, and how they can be further developed in ways we are yet to see.

Navigating an ageing workforce: the challenge and opportunity

Presented by Sarah Cotton, Co-founder and organizational psychologist, Transitioning Well

An increase in the ageing workforce brings both challenges and opportunities. Paradoxically, while many organizations appear to recognize the importance of managing this transition in age demographics, few appear to have done anything strategic in response. Dr Sarah Cotton will discuss the shifting culture and considerations of an ageing workforce including the importance of taking a proactive approach and best practice strategies for recruitment, retention and retirement for a mature age workforce. The impacts on workplace design (both physically and organizationally) will also be discussed, including the importance of dementia-friendly workplaces. A range of resources to support this significant transition will also be provided.

Work Place / Work Life


Presented by Sue Solly, Spatial Planning Director, Experience Design, Deloitte Digital

Sue has over twenty years of experience working on the design and delivery of fitout projects across a variety of sectors in Australia, New Zealand, Asia and the UK. Specializing in the strategic design of workplace projects, Sue has successfully led design teams on major projects for clients such as BHP Billiton, Aurecon, DLA Piper, UBS, Australia Post and Worksafe. Sue augments workplace design with hospitality projects inherently understanding that brand translation into the built form is fundamental to the success of a venue.

Working beautifully

Presented by Primo Orpilla, Co-founder, Studio O+A

Every modern office is an ecosystem of interconnected activities — some in harmony, others in conflict — all requiring designated spaces. For twenty-eight years Studio O+A has pulled those spaces together by creating unique design stories. Every company has a history; every site a meaningful relationship to its neighbourhood or its city; every CEO a passion that led to founding the company. All these elements contribute to keeping a corporate ecosystem healthy by making every inhabitant part of a larger narrative and every space a logical outgrowth of the client’s roots and culture.

Case studies.

Arup Workplace (Sydney)

Presented by Emily Moss, Principal, Hassell

Emily Moss is an interior architect with more than 15 years’ experience specialising in workplace design. Her approach is driven by a passion for designing from the office out, underpinned by strategic planning principles where the employee’s daily experience of a space is key.

As a principal at international design practice Hassell, Emily has led the design of a number of significant projects including Lendlease’s global headquarters at Barangaroo and ARUP Sydney. She has also recently completed AMP’s new headquarters at Melbourne’s 1MQ and is currently leading Zurich’s new workplaces in both Sydney and Brisbane.

Barwon Water Headquarters (Geelong)

Presented by Martin Palmer, Director of architecture, GHDWoodhead

Barwon Water’s Ryrie Street headquarters has been transformed through the adaptive re-use of a 1970s brutalist building into a sustainable and contemporary workplace. Originally composed of two disparate blocks, the building now boasts an infill tower that connects both original wings and hosts a central atrium space, feature stair and skylight cluster which, as unifying architectural elements, support environmental and corporate cultural change for the client. The project has become a catalyst for Geelong’s burgeoning arts precinct with the creation of a new civic heart and pedestrian thoroughfares connecting cultural institutions. The integration of a new public forecourt at street level created new connections to Geelong’s civic and cultural precinct, providing a welcome and lasting benefit to the building’s wider urban context.

Bresic Whitney Offices (Sydney)

Presented by Tony Chenchow, Founding partner, Chenchow Little Architects

Chenchow Little Architects has designed a series of dynamic offices for Bresic Whitney, a residential real estate agency covering the inner-city suburbs of Sydney.

Case study clients.

Andrew Pettifer

NSW Region Leader, Arup

Andrew Pettifer represents the client for Arup Workplace (Sydney). At Work Place / Work Life, he will present the project alongside Emily Moss, principal at Hassell.

Andrew’s role at Arup is NSW Region Leader and NSW Buildings Group Leader. He is a building services engineer with extensive international experience in the UK, Europe, Asia, the Middle East and Australia. As well as being actively involved in projects, Andrew works with the Sydney Office leadership team to support Arup’s unique culture and to showcase the impressive range of services Arup provide. Andrew believes in achieving sustainable outcomes through clear strategic thinking, delivering pragmatic and practical solutions for clients. He is passionate about the power of effective leadership, great design and how the two combined can create great places.

More About Andrew Pettifer →

Tracey Slatter

Managing director, Barwon Water

Tracey Slatter represents the client for Barwon Water Headquarters (Geelong). At Work Place / Work Life, she will present the project alongside Martin Palmer, director of architecture, GHD Woodhead.

Tracey Slatter is managing director of Barwon Water. She is highly regarded by her peers for her distinctive ability to disrupt and innovate in traditional sectors, leveraging off a "learning lens" to identify and act on new opportunities and challenges. She enjoys leadership challenges and is committed to achieving excellent outcomes and improved value for the community.

Under Tracey’s guidance, Barwon Water developed and launched Strategy 2030, marking the start of a paradigm shift from a utility provider to an enabler of regional prosperity.

More About Tracey Slatter →

Shannan Whitney

Director, Bresic Whitney

Shannan Whitney represents the client for Bresic Whitney Darlinghurst, Hunters Hill and Roseberry (Sydney). At Work Place / Work Life, he will present the project alongside Tony Chenchow, founding partner, Chenchow Little.

Bresic Whitney co-founder and director Shannan Whitney has a vision for the Sydney real estate company to be Australia’s leading lifestyle property group. And that, he says, starts in the workplace. Design, art and culture imbue the Bresic Whitney offices, through the dynamic environments that Chenchow Little Architects has created. Shannan invited Tony Chenchow and Stephanie Little to imagine a Darlinghurst office in 2009, a collaboration that continued as the firm grew into new spaces in Hunters Hill, Balmain, and Rosebery. Bresic Whitney is now recognised as a brand outside its core industry and acknowledged for its boldness and commitment to architecture and design.

More About Shannan Whitney →

Panel moderator.

Rachel McCarthy

Senior interior designer and studio director, Bates Smart

Rachael is a senior interior designer and studio director at Bates Smart and has driven the practice’s workplace sector over the past fifteen years. She has developed new work environments for clients such as Ashurst, RACV, Boston Consulting Group, Maddocks, Vanguard and the new Australian Embassy in Washington. Rachael’s passion for people and place has driven discussion and debate between community, corporate and design leaders around the measurability of good design, the ability of design to impact behavior and the creation of workspaces for creativity.

More About Rachel McCarthy →

Sign up.

Stay in touch for Design Speaks priority invitations and event launches.

Select Event Types..