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
Innovative use of wood for reception desk and ceiling, daylighting, floor, flooring, furniture, interior design, lobby, wall, gray
Innovative use of wood for reception desk and screen helps signal construction company’s business approach

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.


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.

“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





Similar stories

Changing rooms: Advanced design explores new adaptive living

From The University of Sydney: Innovative research creates the apartment of the future Read more

Art of darkness

Form, lighting and circulation were used to evoke a dramatic Film Noir feel in the new Jian Li Ju Theatre in China Read more

Latest books

Fowler Homes

These high-quality homes proudly designed and built by Fowler Homes are just the starting point for your own inspiration. They reflect the latest and best  ideas, materials and technologies to benefit your own home Read more

Home Trends 3402

Placing the kitchen at the heart of a home is not just about creating a convenient zone for easy food preparation and eating meals.Just as important is the way it's seen as an attractive place where family can spend time togeth... Read more

Home Trends 3306

Renovating a tired and dated kitchen will not only add to your enjoyment of cooking – it can also totally transform the way you use all of your living spaces, indoors and out. But where do you start and what's actually possible... Read more

Related profiles

Glasshape Ltd

Glasshape, established in 1986, is a leading innovator, designer and manufacturer of curved, toughened and laminated specialty glass. Family owned and based in Auckland, New Zealand, Glasshape’s philosophy of growth through innovat... Read more

James Hardie

James Hardie is a leading international building materials company and a global leader in fibre cement, one of the world's fastest growing building products. Read more