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This office fit-out unobtrusively separates private and public spaces while introducing contemporary design elements that evoke the locality
Interior view of Scientific Software and Systems offices hardwood, line, lumber, plywood, wood, wood flooring, wood stain, brown
Interior view of Scientific Software and Systems offices which features timber off-cut 3-D walls.

Privacy can be a delicate issue in a business office environment on the one hand a level of transparency instils trust, on the other some things are just not intended for all eyes to see.

The new offices of software security developer Scientific Software & Systems (SSS) are a case in point. Seddon Associates, with Steve Seddon as project leader, was asked by the IT company to create an environment that kept its confidential work areas and public meet-and-greet areas visually separate. At the same time, the fit-out had to reflect a dynamic aesthetic befitting a progressive international company. Also required were high levels of natural light on all computer workstations.

The SSS offices cover an entire level of the new harbourside building, says Seddon.

"Starting with an empty volume, we arranged the space with open-plan offices in a horseshoe configuration with the lift lobby at the centre and entry corridor leading away from it," says Smith. "Towards the greeting area, the corridor becomes wider, encouraging visitors to move this way."

The client greeting area is part of an external circulation corridor which runs around all the offices. It evokes a sensation of freedom for clients, with expansive glass walls open to the views, into offices and an open staff area. However, while the space gives the impression of openness and transparency, strategic glass walls limit access while other walls provide separation.


Interior view of seating area at the the apartment, architecture, condominium, daylighting, house, interior design, living room, penthouse apartment, property, real estate, window, teal
Interior view of seating area at the the Scientific Software and Systems offices which features red leather sofas, windows, lighting.

Several elements in the Seddon Associates design have a sculptural quality drawing attention away from the fact that they are privacy walls.

"The principal features in this project all evoke the local environment," says Seddon. "A giant slab of stone running along the lift corridor calls to mind a weathered wharf, with the structural wood behind reminiscent of pier support structures.

Similarly, other separating walls were built from pine offcuts finished and glued in a relief pattern that calls to mind the chop of a harbour. Despite resembling tinder, these are fire walls.

Further along the corridor, copper-hued doors open into meeting rooms. The slight verdigris of the copper evokes the greening metal so often seen in marine environments.

The recycled pine walls reflect an emphasis on sustainability that runs right through the fit-out. The floor, for example, is made from macrocarpa offcuts, planed to a smooth finish.

Interior view of seating area at the the apartment, architecture, condominium, daylighting, house, interior design, living room, penthouse apartment, property, real estate, window, teal
Interior view of seating area at the the Scientific Software and Systems offices which features red leather sofas, windows, lighting.

Glazing in the external corridor creates a healthy light environment for the offices providing sufficient natural illumination for working comfortably at computer screens, but limiting glare.

"Seddon Associates also created custom panel solutions that further maximise natural light play. These are like normal suspended ceiling panels on one side but have a reflective surface on the other, bouncing sunlight deeper into the building."

Overall, Seddon's strong, simple design strokes are a metaphor for the client's business.

As SSS co-owner Bill Tonkin says, "You have taken simple materials and put them together in a complex way that represents an amazing solution: that's what SSS does in its core business."

Nov 22, 2010
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