Recognising that its value as a leading advertising company lies in its talent, Publicis Groupe made the unprecedented decision to bring all its Sydney businesses under one creative headquarters.
Designed by Bates Smart and purpose-built for Publicis, it’s a forward-thinking, agile and flexible space where 17 marketing, communications and digital transformation agencies can share resources in a building tailor-made to grow and adapt with them: a true workplace of the future.
Our challenge was to design an experiential signage, wayfinding and placemaking system that would help retain and connect the unique identity of each business by bringing the DNA of Publicis to life.
“Frost*collective’s main objective was to represent Publicis as a dynamic organisation, whose clever and highly creative workforce represents their DNA of adaptable intelligence. We successfully achieved this through our large foyer activation, exploding and reconfiguring the Publicis identity in an unexpected and engaging way.”
Our idea, “Adaptive Gene”, extends Publicis’ belief – in the alchemy of creativity, technology and intelligent adaptability – into the lived experience of the workplace. We brought this to life using flexible, tactile and crafted signage and graphics, transforming adaptability in the most daring and unexpected ways.
To humanise such a high-tech idea, we embraced a refined lo-fi aesthetic. Assemblages of over-scaled signage are framed in sophisticated joinery—always leaning, never fixed—to reinforce the narrative of adaptivity and change in a provocative wayfinding system.
By mirroring the materiality, pattern and colour of Bates Smart’s detailed interiors in visible and effective travel paths – such as extending the timber handrails into signage frames – we helped harmonise this system within the built environment.
Adaptive placemaking takes form in a reflective installation. Sleek infinity mirrors line the lobby entrance walls, capturing the ever-changing street activity, movement of staff and clients, and the light of the spectacular atrium while spelling Publicis in abstract forms – the Adaptive Gene in full motion.
Alongside local artists, we helped every agency express themselves within the building by designing each a unique graphic element: their own ‘shopfront’ along the ‘high street’. When used across breakout spaces and the entrance portal to each business: it’s an introduction to be experienced rather than told.
“We introduced finely crafted moments onto Bate Smart's architecture, using similar materiality to integrate our signage while creating contrast with serendipitous gestures. We scattered wayfinding moments throughout the building in highly detailed, whimsical pieces of joinery.”
Our highly collaborative design process on this project has created
a provocative signage and wayfinding system that is immersive, innovative
and elegant – bringing staff from every business together in one