Liberated Team Environment – The Future Workplace

Case Study


Account Manager

Daniel Szczepanksi

Interior Designer






Mindy Wigglesworth

Unispace’s recent move into their new Auckland CBD office was driven by a number of factors; proximity to clients, showcase of in-house design-project management capabilities and as a working example of a functional future workspace. Taking this opportunity to completely rethink the way their employees work – allowing maximum flexibility and productivity – the new Unispace office sets a new standard and is truly unique in both design and functionality.

To create a workplace environment that fosters maximum flexibility and productivity, Unispace developed a new workplace model in response to the 5 current workplace models of cellular, open plan, Activity Based Workplace (ABW), Agile and fully non-territorial. Unispace sees the future workplace as a tribrid of open plan, ABW and Agile, which they call a Liberated Team Environment or LTE.

Historically, ABW and Agile spaces focus on an individual’s choice within a broad scope of options. This has led to some dissatisfaction, bad behaviours and ultimately people communicating with their teams less. Unispace desired to bring the focus back to high performing teams and acknowledge that people come to work to be with people and learn from others, not to be alone.

Designed to take advantage of the fantastic 270 degree harbour and city views, the new office needed to be open and welcoming with wet bar/café facing into the entry area. Hospitality is central to Unispace’s culture and thus central to the office design. An implied approach was adopted to public, privileged, private and invited areas with no formal delineation or barriers. The base building had great concrete bones so it was decided to expose these and embrace the raw structure, balanced with a refined light wood and polished details which resulted in a look Unispace have dubbed ‘Scandustrial’.

The challenge with this kind of environment is around the acoustics and creating a functional space where people can effectively work and interact without disturbing others and affecting their productivity. To create such a space with a thorough consideration of acoustic properties, Unispace NZ Design Director Sarah Langford worked closely with the team at Autex for a premium, customised acoustic solution.

Due to the vast amount of exposed concrete and other highly reflective surfaces such as the large windows spanning the office exterior - a targeted, high-performing acoustic solution would be required to ensure a comfortable and functional workspace. A custom open ceiling grid was designed using Autex CubeTM which was ideal for the ceiling application while custom-made 3D Tiles were used to line the walls of the three meeting rooms.



Autex Cube was hung on droppers from the ceiling space throughout the open office area, creating an effective 'waffle' acoustic ceiling feature. The high-performing targeted sound absorbing properties of Autex Cube, as well as creative and acoustic flexibility made it the perfect product for the new Unispace office. The dark colour of Autex Empire made the feature bold and edgy, complementing the office's sophisticated neutral colour scheme. Groups of black pendant light fixtures and pendant speakers were hung in carefully selected areas, gracefully protruding through the Autex Cube baffle.

The three meeting rooms needed a different approach for creating acoustic balance; as their ceilings were not exposed, they were much lower in height. The solution was a variation of Autex’s popular 3D Tiles which were made specifically for this project. With the unique tile pattern designed by Unispace, the custom-made vacuum formed acoustic wall tiles in neutral Autex Civic were applied in all three meeting rooms. Similar plywood and two-pot lacquered MDF versions (visual features only) were applied in other areas of the office, echoing the design and projecting a sense of elegance and style.

The new Unispace office is a fully non assigned workplace which offers a range of workstyles from communal dual screen tables to stand up leaners and booths. Core teams consist of around 25 members, which easily swells to 40 members throughout the week due to Unispace’s distributed workforce. Designers and project managers can easily swarm and form informal teams for various project work and then move again within the space for more privacy or to concentrate.

So impressed with results of the new Unispace office, Sarah Langford made the following comment:

“We loved working with Autex products and staff in the design and completion of our space. They worked with us and our vision to create something unique and beautiful. We get a lot of comments from visitors on the wall panels and feature ceiling, and for many this is their favourite aspect of the design.”


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