Interview & Tour: Aristocrat office design inspired by company connectivity, uniqueness of Austin

By: Travis Estvold
26 June 2018

Aristocrat Leisure Limited, a worldwide innovator in gaming machine design, consists of 5,000+ team members located in more than 90 countries. Its mission stresses the importance of respect, courage, integrity, and passion, and cites team members as their key resource: “We create an environment that empowers them to help deliver innovative solutions to our customers, creating the world’s greatest gaming experience every day.”

In June 2016, CTA began collaborating with Aristocrat leaders on the design of the company’s new Austin office. Early discussions yielded two top priorities: tying the space into the larger Aristocrat family and celebrating the uniqueness of the Austin team. Honoring these priorities and the company’s core spirit, CTA designers synthesized the following project goal statement:

“Aristocrat Austin is an expression of an identity rooted in innovation and longevity, and fueled by the opportunity to entertain people all over the world. The space will promote health and happiness through a dynamic experience that sparks creativity while maintaining comfort.”

Take a video tour of Aristocrat Austin, courtesy of CTA interior designer Jennifer Moore.

As part of the design parti, the team pulled up a map of Aristocrat’s global offices and found themselves struck by the beautiful geometry that emerged when the locations were connected with lines. Beyond a simple nod to longitude and latitude, the team felt a unique energy emanated from the shapes created by the negative space. This inspired a unifying element for several office zones: wooden “web” ceilings that appear in open, collaborative meeting areas. These areas encourage collaboration with tools for breakout sessions such as whiteboards and tables of various shapes and sizes, but also games — whatever is needed to pull staff away from their desks and invite them to have a completely different experience.

Aristocrat’s products also played into the office design. “We were definitely inspired by the sensory experience of the games themselves. They’re bright, they’re active, they’re colorful, and they’re loud,” interior designer Jennifer Moore said. “We wanted to provide spots within the office that allowed the users to not only play the actual games but have those moments of creative fun, the ability to let loose a little bit.” These areas were planned strategically so they would be easily found, but kept separate enough so they wouldn’t interfere with other team members’ work.

The bright and airy coffee bar, immediately adjacent to reception, is a space that brings team members, visitors, and clients together, and has become a fixture in most new Aristocrat offices. Meanwhile, the arcade — stocked with pinball machines, a video game unit, shuffleboard, pool, and a big-screen TV — is something that feels uniquely Austin. Gaming made sense based on Aristocrat’s offering, but the design aesthetic (“kind of moody and vintage feeling,” Moore noted) includes metallic wallpaper, bricks behind the pinball machines, and a live-edge bar for people to relax while they’re playing games. “It’s a very Austin design that provides a unique experience none of the other offices have,” she said.

“The office is a great representation of Aristocrat because it is a sophisticated space where people feel very comfortable working. But then, just like their games, there are moments of fun and spontaneity and imagination.”

–Jennifer Moore, CTA Interior Designer

The finish palette aimed for clean sophistication, with the inclusion of raw wood and various textures. But within the collaborative spaces is where the detail is truly dialed up: there are pops of color, there’s crazy geometry in the web ceiling, the light fixtures are a different color in each of them, and the fabrics are fun and vibrant.

“Walking through the space now that it’s complete, I feel proud to have worked on it and am excited to see it being used,” Moore said. “Aristocrat was such a fun client to work with because they’re striving to make their office as wonderful a workspace as possible, and they’ve got their employees in mind at all times. They want them to feel happy and healthy. They want to promote a great work/life balance. And the fact that they’re a gaming company was just so fun!”

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