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This Tassie office is softened and warmed with local oak

Cumulus develops a sustainable office with a small footprint in Hobart for an environmentally focussed client.

This Tassie office is softened and warmed with local oak

Tasmanian Oak takes precedence in ERA Planning & Environment’s Hobart office, where warmth and tactility combine to create a welcoming and calming office

Designed by Cumulus, the office resides in Hobart’s inner-city. With guidance from ERA – the environmental consulting company’s brief requesting the development of a collaborative team environment – Cumulus converted the interior of the heritage building in an adaptive reuse of what was previously a retail space.  

Light grey epoxy concrete floors are paired with Tasmanian oak and touches of black in the ERA office by Cumulus.

The space proffered a few challenges. Firstly, its compact 180 square metre size meant Cumulus needed to devise a plan that would succinctly fit the client’s requirements. Secondly, the existing building had minimal windows, meaning the designers needed to opt for materials that would warm and brighten the office. 

In order to achieve these requirements, the design team – Cumulus director Peter Walker, project lead and designer Lucy Watts and senior architect Andrew Grimsdale – opted to use Tasmanian Oak as a feature throughout alongside a range of sustainable materials to reflect the sustainable values of its client. 

The blurred figure of a person walks past an office  lined with sheer curtains and Tasmanian oak in the ERA office by Cumulus. Two men sit at the table inside.

The material, while providing a nod to the region, also adds warmth to the space. “We selected Tasmanian Oak to be one of the main timbers used throughout the office space for warmth, light, and a soft touch in a narrow space,” said the designers.

The original brick facade of the heritage building was maintained, a reference to the vernacular of its midtown city context. Black frames the windows and entrance, giving the building a warehouse feel. 

Two people sit in a relaxing area surrounded by Tasmanian Oak wood battens in the ERA office, Hobart, by Cumulus.

Across the threshold, the first moments of oak appear in the reception, combined with touches of black in the painted bricks and desk that add a sense of depth to the space, and a sleek epoxy concrete floor in light grey. 

Tasmanian Oak timber battens line the centre of the office, minimising the view of service areas such as the kitchen and storage cupboards. Around the office spaces, the distance between the battens widens, making room for windows and views into the active areas.

A dog lays on a tan leather couch in the ERA office by Cumulus.

To add privacy, if necessary, the meeting rooms are lined with sheer curtains. The curtains move away from a typical office feel, opting instead for a comfortable and homely aesthetic.

To encourage the collaborative team environment, as ERA wished, an open plan working area allows communication and connection. Planter boxes separate desks in the communal workspace, brightening the area with a biophilic touch.

Cumulus has delivered a beautiful and finely crafted office, cleverly using space and sustainable materials to make the office one which reflects both its users and its locality.

Cumulus began its journey in Tasmania and has since expanded to Melbourne and Adelaide. The studio recently celebrated its 10th anniversary.


Photography by Jesse Hunniford.

A few rows of desks separated by green plants with people sitting at them in the ERA office by Cumulus.

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Products Used In This Project

Oriented Strand Board with whitewash paint finish Uptons
Epoxy/Concrete Floor Finish in light grey Mr J Industrial
Tasmanian Oak Plywood Panels, Mouldings and Battens, Osmo oil finish The Bunker
Door Hardware and Handles in matt black Access Hardware
Kitchen Splashback Tiles in green Beaumont Tiles
Gooseneck Brass Kitchen Tap Abi Interiors
Brass Luna Pull Kitchen Cupboards Lo and Co
Mildura Green Dulux
Element Series in Monsoon Evo Stone
Angle Bell Pendant in black Zest Lighting

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