Interior Designer: Amanda Stanaway
Client: GPT Group
Spurred by a vision to design a workplace that is more business lounge than office, Woods Bagot transformed three floors within Sydney’s iconic Seidler-designed MLC building into an innovative environment for GPT, providing a flexible platform for business reinvigoration. Woods Bagot’s design solution delivers a non-allocated, task orientated environment which simply integrates technology and a range of work settings to complement a diversity of tasks ranging from quiet to collaborative.
A key component of the planning was creating a three-dimensional stack to overcome the restraints of a central core building. Two stairs have been introduced to increase interaction and ease of access. The north stair, as part of the client experience, is a sweeping form that sits dramatically against the backdrop of the building geometry and skyline, and is coupled with a set of free-form meeting pods that cantilever within a three-storey void.
The design philosophy was to remain authentic and to respond to cues from the base building. The pods are extruded from the base building Nervi structure, and the sinuous language of the stair references forms created by Seidler. GPT is a carbon-neutral office with a 6-star Green Star Interiors rating. The MLC Centre, itself with a 5-star NABERS rating, had not undergone a major base building refurbishment in its history.
The project exemplifies how innovative interior design can assist in challenging the restraints of smaller and non-contiguous floor plates and revitalise older building stock. The existing fit-out was stripped back and the existing VAV system was replaced with a new chilled beam system. Retaining, reusing and recycling materials from the old fit-out and selecting recycled materials, significantly reduced the environmental footprint of the project. Changes to the work method of employees, with the introduction of activity based working allowed a far more productive use of space. The workplace boasts energy savings of around 50%, paper savings of over 70%, an increase in fresh air to 11.25 litres/sec/person pushing deliver to 50% above requirements and a self-reported increase in productivity from staff of more than 10%.
The project sits as an industry-wide reference of the seamless integration of design and business change and illustrates a tempered approach to a new way of working without the overt aesthetics of many activity-based environments.