Central dynamic

The communal workspace at the heart of this office space can be transformed seamlessly into a variety of meeting rooms

A view of a communal area. architecture, ceiling, interior design, product design, black, orange
A view of a communal area.

Office fit-outs have evolved over the years, becoming more flexible to accommodate changes in working life. At the furthest extreme is the advent of hotdesking', however, an alternative approach is the creation of versatile communal spaces, adaptable to the needs of few or many.

With the fit-out of this office, architect Philippa Randall created a communal centre in the space sitting under an existing mezzanine floor.

"Originally, the building was in two tenancies which we locked together. The client wanted to do something fun, but everything also had to tie together. One request was for support areas and meeting rooms that permitted all scales of gatherings. By extending the mezzanine floor slightly, an area underneath was created that was ideal for this particular purpose."

This communal centre conceived as a yolk, and identified as such with a gold painted exterior can be divided into three meeting rooms. By folding back the translucent-glass doors, however, the space can be opened up fulfilling the client's brief for a presentation area for 50 seated or 200 standing. As a contrast to the gold exterior, the interior was painted a neutral white.

A view of the boradroom, lagre wooden desks, architecture, ceiling, interior design, room, gray, black
A view of the boradroom, lagre wooden desks, red seats, glass screens, white walls.

Aside from the glass doors, Randall used other devices to demarcate this central zone.

"Curtains down both sides of the space block light, which is essential for successful presentations. We also used a change in carpet to delineate the communal space from the rest of the studio."

Staff workstations, placed near the windows down each side of the building, receive the benefits of natural light. These spaces were kept hard-edged, designed to offset the many timber beams which help give this heritage-listed building its character.

The studio also features alternative meeting spaces, such as external terraces, outdoor covered decks and informal open plan areas, that take advantage of the warehouse architecture and the harbourside location.

A view of the office area and communal architecture, daylighting, glass, house, interior design, black
A view of the office area and communal area.

At the studio's entrance, a long reception desk helps to order space.

"The reception desk keeps the public side of the office distinct from the working space. It is fitted with blue glass, representing the client's corporate colour, installed in layers to create different hues and height levels. This works to shield office equipment, such as the photocopier," says Randall.

Credit list

Philippa Randall, AACA, RAIA, Philippa Randall Architects (NSW)
Window and door joinery
CDS; Häfele
MDF panelling with painted finish and glazed partitions
RJ Workspace
Construction company
Tretford Silver Birch
Dulux Extreme White and Golden Banner

Story by: Trendsideas

21 Apr, 2006

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