There is a shift in what we perceive the Australian workplace to be; no longer just a place of work, but a second home. Inspired by the region’s connection to the coastal landscape, Templewell has brought the outside in.
17 May, 2022
As the Australian workforce adjusts to a return to the office, what we envision our workspaces to be is now shifting. It is here in the fine blending of home-into-office that the line between comfort and practicality comes to light. Acknowledging this inexorable shift towards a more domesticised workplace, Templewell design studio has created a place of welcome and quintessential Australian lifestyle, with this Sydney-based workplace, Expedia Group.
The vision for this large workplace was to reflect its surrounding coastal region and conjure the comforts of home, too. This led to Templewell director and lead designer, Fiona Chong, turning to the Australian landscape as a vital source of inspiration – particularly in the new foyer space.
“Establishing a really strong sense of place is quite important. So the reason behind creating the design was that it responded to that indoor/outdoor lifestyle which is quite prevalent in Australia,” Chong says.
In conceiving the design, Chong looked to hero the personality of the client together with the landscape of the region. Using local materials and manufacturers, the design injects a sense of comfort and life into every corner of the fit-out.
This vision laid the foundations for what a welcome area could be, its design offering flexibly functionalities for everyday living.
The sleek, sand-coloured reception desk, for example, doubles as a bar to host events. The deeply inset banquette seats could be used as either meeting spaces, or cosy corners to rest. Every piece, diverse in design, is also versatile in use.
When it came to the aesthetics of the space, Chong opted for a distinctively coastal vibe. Here, Sydney’s tranquil beaches and the surrounding eucalyptus trees are references through the palette of olive green and white. And throughout the space, connections to the beach are all around.
“I thought that it was quite reminiscent of when the wave crashes in, then rolls out again, and you’re left with this stippled effect of water on the sand,” says Chong which is echoed throughout the bluestone paving.
The form of the space plays out similarly, with curved walls guiding the eye through the various zones, fine wave-like detailing rising out from the joinery like “forms created by moving sand in dunes”.
The material palette, says Chong, was inspired by a beautiful Spotted Gum sample she had long contemplated, in her studio space. The timber tones appealed to her, as well as “the idea of morning and evening light at the beach”.
The palette intertwines sandy tones of the walls with cool, Eucalypt-green furnishings, and calm, soft greys in the reception area. Light fittings of burnished gold gleam and reflect the natural light and porcelain glossy finish that bounces off the Spotted Gum timber tones, like a splay of daylight across the space.
The finished design has been welcomed by the client with enthusiasm, its versatile nature connecting the workspace with the world outside. It serves as an example of how the reintroduction into the workplace can be redefined. As Chong and her team have shown us, connecting us back to the many aspects of our everyday lives, as well as the natural world around us, gives us an excellent reason to return to the office.
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