This Creative Agency's Plant-Filled Woollahra Studio Is Our Dream Workspace
It's highly likely you've been exposed to Smack Bang Designs’ innovative, inspiring, and downright beautiful work without even realising it. The Sydney-based boutique creative agency (that specialises in logo design, branding, eBooks, packaging, and web design) is responsible for some of the most jaw-droppingly good looking websites and the most memorable branding in the country. And, fittingly, its office space is just as impressive as its work.
Allow us to introduce you to Tess Robinson—the creative genius behind both. Three years ago, Robinson, the self-confessed “plant lady”, transformed a bare white gallery space into a vibrant design studio in the space of five short days and the result would send any interior aficionado, fellow creative, or green thumb into a pinning frenzy. “The Smack Bang studio provides a bright and lively canvas for us to create fresh, meaningful, and original work,” says Robinson. “It is full to the brim with buzz, determination to create beautiful things, and either coffee or alcohol induced giggles.”
Scroll on and fall in love with space—and Robinson—and find out how this space plays a critical part in her (and her talented team) being at the very top of their game.
MYDOMAINE: Who designed the space?
TESS ROBINSON: I designed the studio and built almost everything in here (with the help of my wonderful partner, his trusty screwdriver, and his unwavering patience). In classic “Tess style”, I saw the ad for this space pop up and within five days we were flinging our wheely chairs from one end to the other in a thick sweat of dusty boxes. This meant that I had to pull the design together very quickly. It went from a bare white gallery space, to a vibrant design studio in a just under a week. Since then, the look and layout has evolved and changed, but has always carried the same essence of our Smack Bang brand. I set out to design a space that not only communicated our ethos, but felt like home for my staff.
MD: What was your inspiration for the design of the space Tess?
TR: Personally, I have a very pared-back aesthetic, relaxed style and chilled demeanour (when I’m not hangry), so naturally, the space that I designed reflected this vibe. It was really important that our studio matched the aesthetics of our brand—simple, beautiful, and as close to nature as possible. I’ve always been drawn to fresh white walls, timber textures, and the idea of bringing the outdoors in.
MD: What do you love most about the space?
TR: Even on the shitty days, walking up those stairs with the crazy vines hanging all around you is the best thing ever. To know that at the top of the stairs there is going to be a bunch of smiling faces, the smell of countless coffees, and a non-stop buzz of creative energy fills you with comfort, that even the gloomiest of moods can’t deny. Our studio reflects the culture of our crew, the freshness of our work, and makes for a pretty darn good second home.
MD: What is your favourite item in the space?
TR: I’m an avid plant-lady, so it was just as critical for us to have an entire jungle in there as it was for us to have working wifi. Even though it takes me a good hour to water them each week, the plants are by far my favourite items in the space. I’ve always dreamt of working outdoors and my lifestyle is very much geared around the seasons of nature, so bringing an abundance of plants into the office was an absolute necessity.
MD: How many people occupy the office?
TR: Each day it varies, but usually around 14 caffeine-high crazies. They are the most committed, talented, and treasured team who understand the vision of the business and bring their A-game to work every day. Together we share a love for design, a knack for bad jokes, and far too many Vegemite bagels.
MD: How would you describe the environment and culture of the office?
TR: Our studio is characterised by our work. With such a busy schedule and an ever growing client list, this place is never quiet, nor has there been a dull day since we opened. It is full to the brim with buzz, determination to create beautiful things, and either coffee or alcohol induced giggles. Although we have an insane workload, often working with 80 clients at any given time, the space we’re in and the wonderful people that fill it create a calm and comfortable working environment. We have a rad team, and a bloody rad time and everyone leaves the studio by 5.30 p.m., regardless of their task list or size of their inbox.
MD: How does the space influence and inspire your work?
TR: For the team and I, aesthetics are everything. We are forever inspired by our lifestyles and our surrounds. The Smack Bang studio provides a bright and lively canvas for us to create fresh, meaningful, and original work. In every project we do, we aim to bring life to a story woven in an understated simplicity. I like to think that there is plenty of good ju-ju between these walls that makes our work shine with energy and enthusiasm.