Breaking the barriers

A flexible, transparent environment for this interior design consultancy encourages creativity and enhances collaboration between colleagues and clients
Story by: Mary Webb
Interior view of offices featuring frosted glass doors, institution, interior design, gray
Interior view of offices featuring frosted glass doors, coloured floor tiles, lighting, office furniture, carpeted flooring, doors, accessories.

Design creativity generally results from a complex mix of spontaneous discussions, research and hard work.

When the decision was made to refurbish the Melbourne offices of interior environment consultancy Geyer, the company's national design leader, Matthew Sheargold, wanted to create an environment that was both energetic and interactive.

"Our aim was to break down the barrier between the office space and our clients. We have found that our clients like seeing into the studio where the team is working, and they enjoy being part of the creative processes," he says.


Interior view of offices featuring frosted glass doors, ceiling, daylighting, institution, interior design, real estate, table, gray
Interior view of offices featuring frosted glass doors, coloured floor tiles, lighting, office furniture, carpeted flooring, doors, accessories.

The old, traditional-style offices were gutted and refurbished to reflect the company's culture. The new space consists of a single open-plan area, with three levels of formality. A central lounge adjoins the lift lobby and includes seating and small tables where guests can wait or chat informally with staff. Sofas sit in front of bookshelves stacked with reference material, available for visitors to look through while they are waiting.

In a sample room opening off the lounge area, clients can discuss plans with designers in more depth, and two more formal meeting rooms can be closed off if necessary.

"Our biggest change was to rethink the reception area and the role of the receptionist. Now visitors walk straight into the heart of the creative studio. They can wait in the lounge and see designers at work close by," says Sheargold.

Interior view of offices featuring frosted glass doors, architecture, interior design, gray, black
Interior view of offices featuring frosted glass doors, coloured floor tiles, lighting, office furniture, carpeted flooring, doors, accessories.

To facilitate this, the receptionist has become a concierge, with a home base close to the lounge. A wireless headset allows her to roam freely around the office, rather than being anchored to one spot. Geyer's next innovation is to integrate its technology so clients can access a touch screen in the lounge area and speak directly to the person they have come to see.

Workstations, designed by Geyer and built by Schiavello, are highly flexible and can easily be moved as needs and project requirements change.

"As well as clients enjoying the sense of activity in the offices, the new design has also been good for the team. It has changed our culture, given designers more control over their work, and added a feeling of energy. We believe our offices are now an effective tool, which we use to suit our business in much the same way as we adapt computers and other technology," says Sheargold.

Mar 28, 2008

Credit list

Interior designer
Geyer
Construction
Schiavello
Workstations and storage
Schiavello
Meeting room chairs
Series 7 (from original fit-out) by
Chairs at work tables
Fritz Hansen Ant chairs by Corporate Culture
Coffee table
Caulfield by Minotti, supplied by DeDeCe
Audiovisual
Rutledge Engineering
General office carpet
Building Blocks in colourway Iron by
Meeting room joinery
Custom made by Schiavello
Window treatment
Euroscreen roller blinds in Charcoal by Interdrape
Mechanical and electrical engineering
Medland Mitropoulos Services Consultants
Lighting
Austube 60 Beam general office lighting; Costanzina table lamps by Euroluce; Tom Dixon pendant mirror balls by DeDeCe
Meeting room tables
Eames bases with Laminex Parchment tops by Living Edge
Work tables
Thinking Ergonomix
Reception seating
Offect Flower Stools and Jørgensen Seesaw by Corporate Culture; lounge custom designed by Geyer
Breakout furniture
Caper chairs by Living Edge; Fritz Hansen table by Corporate Culture
Fixtures and fittings
Zip Heaters; Harvey Norman;
Feature modular carpet
Colourbox in Lime Sherbet, Oregano, Taupe, Thunderbolt, from Interface Carpets
Meeting room front wall
MSX Lumisty Film by Elton Group, installed by Reflex Technology
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