Sheeth Headquarters has just received a Workplace Design Commendation at the 2023 Australian Interior Design Awards. Read our INDESIGN Magazine exclusive on the Marrickville warehouse refurb that redefines the term ‘industrial-luxe’.
June 14th, 2023
This article on Sheeth Headquarters is featured in INDESIGN #89, The Magnetic Workplace Issue, on sale now – purchase here.
Inspired by the gritty character of the light industrial area of Marrickville in Sydney’s inner west, Studio Prineas’ design is both robust and playful in its heralding of the client’s brand. As a family-run boutique construction firm, and the builder to realise this project, Sheeth wanted a headquarters to reflect its philosophy of quality craftsmanship. Moreover, it required a space that would instil a sense of joy in the team while conveying the deep seated hospitality of the firm.
To this end, entry into the inner sanctum is orchestrated as a journey from the nondescript industrial façade (with subtle detailing such as the minimal but refined steel insertions), into a voluminous and low-lit reception space. Here, the reflective stainless-steel contrasts with the richness of blue velvet curtains and the raw backdrop of the building shell. The small meeting room that forms part of the reception space, and the beneficiary of the velvet curtains, is a lovely moment. Rather than truncate the room’s height, it has been exaggerated, as a demi-silo shaped room, while the velvet brings a luscious quality that is wholly unexpected and a moody contrast to the sunbathed courtyard and workspaces beyond.
The furniture composition of Fogia sofa and stool (Fred International) in the reception area is startlingly minimalist. This however, has been curated to emphasise both the building’s volume and the industrial nature of the original warehouse shell. There is additionally a sense of fun inherent in the choice of easily moved furnishings: “Practically speaking, it also allows space for the director to park his beloved Harley Davidson motorbike into the reception area, incorporating another eye-catching object into the space,” says Eva-Marie Prineas, principal of Studio Prineas.
Prineas is a designer who understands storage and leading out from the reception the panelled walls are discreetly integrated with cupboards. They also mask the entry to bathrooms, kitchen and prayer room. Sleekly realised, the provision for concealing clutter throughout the project is impressive with floating walls and tables concealing all sorts of storage solutions.
It is the warehouse itself however, that visually dominates as it contains and coddles the whole. Starting with a warehouse shell with no interventions or fit out, the project has been conceptually realised as a celebration of the raw elements of the industrial built form.
“With lofty ceiling heights, exposed steel trusses, concrete floors and red brick walls, the bare bones of the building motivated us to embrace a raw interior expression countered by high quality detailing,” says Prineas. To this end the industrial proportions were managed by creating a horizontal steel datum in line with the base of the original roof trusses. This lends a human scale to the warehouse. “At the heart of our client’s brief was the desire to create a place that their team would love to work in and reinventing this originally nondescript dark warehouse space into a place of joy was the key challenge of the project,” says Prineas.
Foundational to this challenge was the solidity of the external brick walls. Punctuated by small windows and door openings, the apertures provided an opportunity to construct an unexpected light-bathed internal courtyard. Here, “the space connects to a sunlit courtyard, open to the sky and bringing natural light and breezes deep into the workspace, while offering an intuitive gathering space for the team to connect.”
Walls of glazing with claret powder coating to the large aluminium frames makes for a dramatic internally contained outdoor space that is beautifully realised. “The russet tones of the warehouse’s red brick façade and exposed steel trusses inspired a strong and singular colour expression – from glazed partition framing to workstation screens and meeting tables.
Complemented by oak flooring, terracotta tones and lush planting, we chose to work with a cohesive palette that binds the workplace’s diverse program of spaces, finding a tonal harmony between old and new,” says Prineas. Effectively Prineas’ design cuts an expansive outdoor space into the centre of the warehouse, from here the spatial planning flows effortlessly outwards.
Like many of Studio Prineas’ projects there is an absolute abundance of detailing at work behind the scenes to create the illusion of simplicity. There is also a real sense of deeply understanding their client with amenity and hospitality writ large in this astounding space.
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