Monday: 11:30 – 2:30 | 045.01.005C
Wednesday: 3:30 – 6:30 |045.01.005A

Lecturers: Dr Juan Sanin and Ronnie Lacham

How can workplaces become a space for working, hanging-out and playing?

 This studio is an experiment. We are going to challenge assumptions about how workplaces are supposed to function and look like, and we will collaborate with Oxfam Australia to run a series of design interventions to transform their building (Leicester St, Carlton). In these interventions we will use ‘friendly hacking’ to live-prototype dynamic places where staff will be able to work, socialise and have fun.

Hacking the Workplace is run in partnership with Oxfam Australia, Design & Creative Practice (RMIT-ECP), and RMIT Health Transformation Lab.


Workplaces and the nature of work is going through drastic changes. In the 1990s and early 2000s people started to work more at their houses and the home-office was created. Nowadays, we are seeing a movement in the opposite direction and workplaces are being domesticated: people personalise and decorate their offices; work is becoming social and collaborative; the nature of some professions requires flexible spaces; leisure, powernaps and games are encouraged as a way of promoting creativity.

How can we, designers, respond to these transformations?

In 2019, Oxfam, Design & Creative Practice and the Health Transformation Lab ran a workshop to speculate, visualise and prototype ideal workplaces. The results of the workshop suggest that workplaces should include biophilia and sensory experiences; facilitate collaboration & reflection; be playful, mobile and easily transformed; organised around themes & experiences; involve a sense of home; reflect individual and collective identities.

The objective of this Social Design Studio is to use Oxfam building as a living-lab and prototype a series of spaces inspired by the results obtained from the workshop. We will do this using a ‘friendly hacking’ approach. Initially, we will embed ourselves in Oxfam to understand their everyday routines. Then we will live-prototype workplaces using reclaimed materials; second-hand objects; recontextualised furniture; or things brought by staff. The final outcome will be a “hacking tool library”: a collection of things that staff would be able to use to create the spaces proposed or new ones depending on their needs.

*Oxfam Australia is located at 130-138 Leicester St, Carlton – 10 minutes walking from RMIT Building 45