Owner, Mehdi Qerim / Designer, Lee Harper
A lick of paint (and a whole office refurbishment) can do a world of good. For creative agency Yoke, it couldnâ€™t have been truer.
â€œNearly all workstations, furniture and light fittings are custom designed and made, and reinforce the impression that you have entered a unique and very particular world,â€ owner Mehdi Qerim tells Collective Hub.
With aged oak floorboards, raw concrete retaining walls with raised, geometric patterns from the Victorian period and the cherry-on-top bespoke chandelier, itâ€™s surprising that the full refurbishment of the former wool shed and Aboriginal school took a mere six months for its full transformation.
â€œThere were many â€™light bulbâ€™ inspirational changes along the way, the most transformative being the brave decision to excavate the sub-floor space below ground floor, to create a third level,â€ Mehdi explains. â€œThis provided the opportunity for a double height entry void allowing precious daylight to penetrate into what has become the much loved staff bar and breakout area, with exposed rough-hewn bluestone block walls, steel and recycled timber support posts and original wooden ceiling with herringbone noggins.â€
But despite the relatively quick turnover, the refurb wasnâ€™t all smooth sailing.
â€œThere were only two major setbacks,â€ Mehdi admits. â€œThe first was the peculiar over-a-weekend flooding of the laboriously excavated lower ground floor, sabotaging our planned concrete pours, the source of which remains a mystery to this day.
â€œAnd the communication breakdown between the builder and steel fabricator that resulted in a massive double flight steel staircase arrive on site in one piece, with zero chance of even getting through the front door!â€
While the benefits of a renewed office with an obvious creative edge are immediate to staff, the wider advantages of upscaling their space went deeper than team morale.
â€œThe full scale of the renovation and newly formed vast spaces represented a statement to the team, partners and clients alike – that Yoke had itself matured and was indeed now coming of age,â€ Mehdi explains. â€œIn a very competitive and somewhat cluttered industry, Yokeâ€™s ability to make such a dramatic statement to guests provided a genuine sense of certainty and stability that it, like the building, was committed for the long term.â€