Changing Spaces

From a Wool Shed To Creative Agency

Changing Spaces

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 couldn’t have been truer.

“Nearly 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,” 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, it’s surprising that the full refurbishment of the former wool shed and Aboriginal school took a mere six months for its full transformation.

“There were many ’light bulb’ 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,” Mehdi explains. “This 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.”

But despite the relatively quick turnover, the refurb wasn’t all smooth sailing.

“There were only two major setbacks,” Mehdi admits. “The 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.

“And 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!”

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.

“The 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,” Mehdi explains. “In a very competitive and somewhat cluttered industry, Yoke’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.”