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Geyer uses Elton Group Eveneer to craft an egalitarian workplace in Sydney that celebrates the richness of Australia’s native flora

Tasked with creating a workplace to improve collaboration, productivity, and employee wellbeing, Geyer introduced biophilic principles that dissolve the boundaries between interior workplace and the surrounding landscape

Geyer uses Elton Group Eveneer to craft an egalitarian workplace in Sydney that celebrates the richness of Australia’s native flora


BY

January 31st, 2021


Photography Simon Whitbread

When a government client in Sydney approached Geyer to create a holistic workplace that would improve collaboration, innovation, and productivity, the design team saw an opportunity to celebrate the Australian landscape. With this in mind, the design team developed a concept that placed biophilic design principles at the forefront and implemented a material palette that evokes the rich tones and tactility of native Australian flora.

“The guiding principles were that the space needed to be egalitarian, biophilic, connected, and utilitarian,” says interior designer Matthew Crossley. “We incorporated visual elements of the surrounding views and the site’s natural context, and ultimately transported the outside into a corporate workspace.”

Key to this approach was the use of a natural material palette, that would bring the Australian landscape to life in the fit-out. As a government client, incorporating Australian suppliers was also essential. “We collaborated with as many Australian companies as possible – including Elton Group,” reveals Crossley. “We worked with their team to deliver a natural aesthetic that is high quality and visually striking, whilst allowing the sweeping views and natural light to remain as centre stage.”

The programme for the workplace was determined via a bespoke workplace strategy involving three collaborative workshops with the client that enabled Geyer to understand the organisation’s current and future needs – and the result is a dynamic space with in-built flexibility and an emphasis on employee wellbeing.

The entrance to the workplace is marked by lush planting, which complements the natural material palette. This space opens out to a break-out pavilion crafted from recycled timber battens. The activity and collaborative settings – including the kitchen – are concentrated on the western side, with mobile furniture that facilitates flexibility. As a result, these areas can be easily transformed from brainstorming and workshopping areas into event spaces.

These more active spaces gently transition to quieter focus areas, with meeting and enclosed forms set back from the facade, allowing for quiet seating areas surrounded by greenery around the perimeter. The built forms contain break-away team spaces, quiet concentration rooms, and a multi-functional wellness room. Planting is also used to separate this space from the work floor, creating a soft transition between the different zones. The application of biophilic principles in this way dissolves the distinction between workplace and the natural surroundings.

Throughout the different work zones – which are connected via a traffic flow plan that encourages accidental exercise and stronger staff and client interactions – employees are given autonomy over how they want to work. This egalitarian approach sees flexible project areas fitted out with utilitarian joinery to maximise functionality – think sliding pinboards, whiteboards, and abundant storage.

Elton Group Eveneer was the most used surface material throughout the fit-out, and was utilised for cupboards, wall cladding, ceiling treatment. “We particularly warmed to the Steeple Oak, as it strongly complemented the ‘Australian Flora’ palette we were striving for,” explains Crossley. “This formed the foundation of finishes and we used this to further develop the aesthetic for the space.”

The use of Eveneer – a sustainably produced timber veneer made from Alpi wood – also supported the project’s sustainability goals, which stated that all design decisions and material selections needed to be environmentally conscious. While there was no requirement for Green Star level certification, the fit-out was designed to factor in responsible chain of custody and Green Star level consideration of all aspects.

Alongside considered material choices, other sustainable initiatives include the creative reuse of existing furniture to actively minimise landfill waste, sourcing of furniture with green specifications, and a future-proofed fit-out designed for longevity. With this in mind, collaborative spaces have been conceived with the potential to sub-lease them in the future.

“Working alongside Elton Group was a pleasure and the project was very seamless,” says Crossley. “The most rewarding element, however, is how pleased the client is. They sincerely love their new workplace and we have created a unique space that truly encapsulates the Australian landscape.”

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