Innovative use of wood for reception desk and screen helps signal construction company’s business approach

An organisational screening element at the heart of this building company office fit-out both reflects the firm’s creative skillset and its transparency in business

Story by: Charles Moxham Photography by: Shannon McGrath
Built in a porous brickwork pattern but made ceiling, daylighting, floor, flooring, furniture, interior design, lobby, wall, gray
Built in a porous brickwork pattern but made from wood, the reception desk and screen in ADCO Constructions’ new office fit-out by architects Woods Bagot signals a transparent construction firm that thinks outside the square.

The reception area is the perfect opportunity to create a physical or graphic reflection of a firm’s ethos – one that greets clients, colleagues and friends alike on their arrival.  This was certainly the case for family construction company ADCO, when Woods Bagot fitted out the company’s new office.

Woods Bagot designer Brittany Pearce says the  ADCO reception is at the heart of the space and is the first thing you see when stepping out of the lift.

“The individualistic reception desk and privacy screen behind are both finished in the same unusual treatment,” says Pearce.

“Referencing ADCO’s agile, innovative approach to construction, the design makes a feature of a classic building material – wood  – being considered afresh through its use in a build format usually associated with another building material – brick.”

Besides evoking the company’s woodworking dexterity, the feature wall also performs other functions, both in terms of providing a statement of company intent and regarding space allocation.

“Essentially, the meandering wall divides and organises the office floor – helping to define a series of open and collaborative workspaces,” says Pearce. “At the same time, its porous nature allows sightlines through to the office’s various desking and meeting spaces – an arrival experience that comments on the importance ADCO places on openness and transparency in business.”

And it’s this sense of transparency that informs much of the light, contemporary fit-out.


Beyond the central reception wall at ADCO Constructions’ architecture, ceiling, daylighting, interior design, lobby, office, gray
Beyond the central reception wall at ADCO Constructions’ new offices, there are built forms enclosing meeting rooms, a conference room, a projector room and a quiet space.

To the left and right of the wall are two built zones with meeting rooms, a large boardroom, a projector room and a quiet room. The workspaces are beyond these, by the windows at the outer edges of the office. The cafe – used by visitors and staff – is directly behind the wall. This is designed in similar finishes to the reception, again calling to mind the nature of ADCO’s business.

“This office is a consolidation for ADCO, the company having moved from a two-floor location with enclosed cubicles to this open, light-filled space,” says Pearce. “The nature of the business means the project managers are frequently on site and then, when they’re in the office, there’s often need to work together over large plans. To this end, single desks are largely replaced with benches and hot desking.”

In aesthetic terms, the construction company’s office space is light and airy, with polished concrete floors, rugs to denote spaces like the reception waiting area, plenty of plants, and most surfaces painted white. The services were exposed and also painted white in another nod to transparency. Another feature is the introduction of a curved drop ceilings to delineate areas of use in the fit-out.

Even the choice of casual furniture adds the light, almost domestic feel of the space, Pearce says.

The cafe in the ADCO Constructions fit-out by chair, daylighting, furniture, home, interior design, table, white
The cafe in the ADCO Constructions fit-out by Woods Bagot features lightweight outdoor furniture – adding to the fit-out’s ‘light-on-its-feet’ feel.

“We chose outdoor furniture for the cafe space to further the sense that clients and visitors are dealing with an adaptable, flexible team. Everything about the fit-out says transparency and versatility.

“In addition, there’s also consideration for future growth, with provision made for additional desking.”

May 09, 2018

Credit list

ADCO Constructions offices, Melbourne
Mechanical and electrical engineer, fire engineer
Building Services Engineers
Reception/ breakout space/ waiting lounge rug – Tretford Sage; meeting room carpet – Tretford Silver Birch; base build carpet in general work area; exposed and Polished Concrete to open collaboration and breakout space
LED downlights – Zumtobel Panos Infinity; LED wallwasher – Zumtobel Panos Infinity; suspended track – Zumtobel Dali Trackl. LED up/down suspended linear Luminaire – Halite Prima, DLS Lighting
Reception furniture
Catifa Altherr Molina by Stylecraft; Ross Gardam Tailored Coffee Table by Stylecraft
Meeting room tables
Thinkingworks blade table by Stylecraft with Lignapal Blackbutt High Feature veneer by Fethers Veneer Stylecraft
Kitchen handles – J-Pull XL from Index + Co
Woods Bagot; design team – April Walsh, Brittany Pearce, Debra Longin
Structural Engineer
Bonacci Group
Ceiling treatments
Feature suspended ceiling to reception space, MetalWorks Mesh Rhombic 4 in White. Exposed and painted ceilings to open collaboration and breakout space.
Operable wall
XF Workstation by Baseline
Other furniture
Arper Kinesit Chair, Derlot Editions Lerod Chair, B5 Upholstered Task Armchair – all by Stylecraft; Scoop barstool
Cafe tables
timber veneer top – Lignapal Blackbutt High Feature by Fethers Veneer
Splashback tiles
Terrazzo – Vienna, by Signorino





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