IT’S BEEN A WHILE SINCE WE SAW A UNICORN. THIRTY OR SO YEARS, IN FACT.
That vision came early one morning, a Saturday, over some dippy eggs and soldiers. A splendid white beast with fowing brown mane, it was ridden to full power by a parttime princess: She-ra. Cut to now – tumbling to the bottom of Sydney’s Martin Place, across George Street and into a 1920s building of marble and banking. It’s here that Australia’s most celebrated unicorns live – their lair on the sixth foor of the historical site, above the tarted-up bank branch and beyond the federal Department of Industry, Innovation and Science. That there was once a shooting range on the building’s roof (for bank employees to practise their aim in hours of leisure) prompts a smirk on entering the three-storey set-up – foam, orange-tipped Nerf gun pellets wedged into the folds of a welcoming blue-fabric couch. The presence of these ‘bullets’ speaks of an offce of youthful play, of creativity. It’s a theme that continues as we wander past the free staff bar, Charlie’s (four local taps, inclusive of a niche cider), ping pong table and poolroom. The latter’s as lifted from an undergrad share house – the central, green-felt table surrounded by a standard selection of battered couches, complemented by a random mix of objets; random, except that on closer inspection, the 12 bobble-headed dolls sitting pride of place are miniature, nodding interpretations of key company employees, including the unicorns we’ve come here to meet. Into another lift – the place is labyrinthine – and we arrive at an airy main hub smacked by natural light. A nearby white wall has ‘Smplfy’ written large across its length. It’s a word (albeit twisted into an adjective and correctly spelt) we’d use to describe the sartorial approach of the workers in view – most sporting an unoffcial uniform that doesn’t go far beyond boot-cut jeans or shorts, paired with blue/white company logo T-shirts. Shoes, it seems, are optional. Men dominate the space – generally wiry, often bearded.