Lonely Planet’s Immersive HQ

We spend a lot of our lives at work, in the office, so workplaces are becoming more conscious about making workspaces fun.

At the same time, companies want to be on brand, for their workplace to represent the type of work that they do.

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Secretly wondering what the Slack offices look like too – we use Slack all the time at work!

Lonely Planet and Siren Design Group seem to have manifested these exact ideas into the design of the new Melbourne office. Located in the historic Malt Store building (heritage-listed former Carlton & United Breweries Site) on Swanston St, they’ve utilised the space to create a travel-inspired journey from the moment you enter.

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The entry hall of the Malt Store building 

We were taken on a media tour to experience this journey by Chris Zeiher (Director, Sales & Marketing) from Lonely Planet. The start of our journey was at the reception area, acting as a retail store for the public, but also incorporating an Arrivals/Departures seating area for guests.

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The Arrivals and Departures area at reception. (Image provided).

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The reception doubles up as a retail store, open to the public. (Image provided).

The meeting rooms are inspired by popular travel destinations such as Japan, Iceland and Morocco (Chris calls this one the Game of Thrones room). I love that the Japanese backdrop also opens up in the middle to reveal a whiteboard – a smart use of space.

A Japanese-themed boardroom. (Image supplied).

A Japanese-themed boardroom. (Image supplied).

The Morocco or Game of Thrones room. (Image supplied).

The Morocco or Game of Thrones room.

Iceland themed room using projections. (Image supplied).

Iceland themed room using projections. (Image supplied).

The rooms are even marked by tickets, as if you were about to travel.

Meanwhile, the working area is spacious and open, accompanied by plants, a world map and New York themes.

Travelling within the office. (Image supplied).

Travelling within the office. (Image supplied).

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A world map bringing the idea of travel to the employees.

Borneo jungle breakout area.

Borneo jungle breakout area.

New York district. (Image supplied).

New York district. (Image supplied).

Despite the focus on global travel, the office still pays homage to the company’s history and current location, with the kitchen echoing popular minimalist designs of Melbourne cafes, along with a mural including the Lonely Planet founders, Tony and Maureen Wheeler. Apparently employees also insisted they ‘couldn’t leave the table tennis behind’, and I love the sleek way it was incorporated into the kitchen.

A sleek setup for both dining and table tennis.

A sleek setup for both dining and table tennis.

The Melbourne mural.

As a heritage building, Mia Feasey, CEO from Siren Design, noted it was a challenge that they couldn’t touch many things, but they got around this by hanging items like whiteboards instead of attaching it to the wall. The strong brick facade is still maintained throughout the office and the windows are long and large, allowing maximum natural light to filter into the office.

One corridor was even like a mini-museum with old snow globes and another picture old picture of Tony and Maureen. You can read more about the company’s history and founders here.


The photo of Tony and Maureen in the mini-museum.

The company moved from Footscray, so this building is a lot more central and accessible for the Lonely Planet staff. I’m amazed at what they have done with the space and the consistency of the theme throughout the office. At the same time, it’s great to see they’re determined to remember their roots and to give the heritage building’s design respect.

Unsurprisingly, Siren Design have been nominated for their work at the Melbourne Design Awards for the category of Interior Design – Corporate (along with a few other nominations too!)

The new Lonely Planet building is located at Level 3, 551 Swanston St, The Malt Store, Carlton and can be contacted on 03 8379 8000.

*Media photos provided by Lonely Planet. The remaining photos were taken by myself.
*Mon’s Adventure was invited as a guest to attend the tour.

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