An innovative office design created by a Queensland University of Technology (QUT) Design School student is about to become a reality in Queen Street’s Central Plaza building with two industry leaders investing $350,000 to showcase the work.

Third year student Anna Carter won a design competition run by Central Plaza owner ISPT and office fit-out specialists Schiavello. Now she is working in the real world to bring her design to life at ISPT’s premium office tower. Once complete, ISPT would invite existing and future customers to trial the 500m2 space. It will also look to partner with industry groups to host events and functions to showcase the space.

ISPT’s General Manager Commercial Services Michelle McNally said Ms Carter’s design would transform a corporate office into a relaxed creative environment normally associated with a converted warehouse. “It will be an environment that promotes collaboration, communication and ideas,” she said.

Central to the design is an innovative, free-standing piece of furniture – a modular, plywood pod that hosts up to four desks or bench seating. The framed pod provides integration of technology and services together with the ability for users to reconfigure the space as needs change, creating spaces within a space. The pods can also be broken down and moved around to cater for fluctuations in work force numbers.

The competition asked students to consider what the office of the future might be, and judge Sally McNaughton, from international design firm Woods Bagot, said Ms Carter’s design showed real innovation and forward thinking.

“The flexibility and originality of Anna’s concept was appealing because current workplace thinking focuses on the need to accommodate future change and reduce the cost and time involved,” Ms McNaughton said.

The award has seen Schiavello mentoring Ms Carter at its Melbourne headquarters; fine-tuning her design for manufacture, with fit out at Central Plaza to begin in the coming weeks. “It’s been a brilliant process – I’ve been encouraged to make some minor modifications to help with buildability, and work through some other joinery designs for banquette seating. “I’ve learned so much because the people at ISPT and Schiavello have been tremendous, treating me as a peer rather than as a student and I am loving every minute of it,” she said.

Schiavello Queensland Director Rob Amorosi said the competition was designed to provide fresh thinking about city office spaces but also mentor the best young designers.

“Schiavello is dedicated to developing intelligent, inspiring, ecological and resilient solutions for the offices, as well as being focussed on furniture manufacture and design, and we’ve enjoyed the process of working with Anna to bring her design to life,” he said.