Carr Design Group combines corporate, residential and hospitality design principles for a diverse and flexible function space at the Collins Square Events Centre. Have they created the ultimate new design typology for next-gen hospitality? We think yes…
August 23rd, 2017
Workplace, residential and hospitality design function on different principles: workplace design fosters productivity; hospitality design offers a distinctive experience, and residential design promotes comfort. At Collins Square Events Centre, Carr Design Group has combined these principles and ambitions to generate a new design typology for commercial developments. Offering the amenities, service and professionalism of a hotel, this on-brand, high-end space is set to advance the evolution of corporate environments.
Collins Square in Docklands, Melbourne, is one of Australia’s largest commercial mixed-used developments, comprising six office towers with retail and hospitality spaces. The Events Centre is a flexible and agile space within the complex and it provides tenants with convenient access to sophisticated hospitality spaces and services. Catering for groups ranging from 12 to 500 people, the Events Centre can be configured for a variety of purposes, including seminars, conferences, meetings, trade shows, private dining and cocktail functions, allowing tenants to hold events in a space that is separate but related to their workplace.
With no precedent or benchmark for this type of space in a commercial development, the Carr design team, led by director Dan Cox and associate Rosie Morley, looked to other hybrid models such as hotels and private member clubs to provide the right mix of spaces for Collins Square tenants. “We thought of it as a hotel with the tenancies in the towers as the guest rooms,” Cox explains. “They have access to room service, private dining, a bar and high-end conferencing facilities and technology, as well as the level of service and management they would experience in a hotel.”
The atmosphere and aesthetic of the Events Centre is sophisticated, subdued and moody, serving to differentiate the space from the Collins Square lobby and atrium from which it is entered. “There is an elegance to the dark. It disarms the corporate experience and indicates to guests they are crossing a threshold into a new environment,” says Morley.
As one would experience in a hotel, there is a reception desk, coat room and concierge at the entrance. Illuminated features, such as the entry columns, front desk and back-lit bar, also herald the start of a new spatial experience and subtly guide guests into the ballroom-like pre-function area. This area provides access to a series of rooms with operable walls that allow them to be configured as smaller or larger spaces, including a private dining room. The behind-the-scenes catering facilities are contained within an internal core where they can service all spaces without being visible in front of house.
The sensual and evocative approach to materials is also akin to hospitality design while drawing on the comfort required in residential design. Soft, curved and voluptuous furnishings provide moments of plushness and intimacy within the built environment and contrast with its sharp precision, reflective surfaces and hard rectilinear forms.
This softness is also evident in the pre-function area where the windows are cloaked in fabric to temper the exterior view and the ceiling is draped with metal mesh to create a more intimate atmosphere. The wave-like effect disguises the increased ceiling height while enhancing the lateral sense of space as it’s reflected in the surfaces of the mirrored perimeter.
“The Events Centre is a project with blurred lines and it had no precedent, but it’s a model now being adopted in other developments,” comments Cox. Indeed, by drawing on the principles of workplace, hospitality and residential design, the Events Centre is a luxurious, distinctive and highly functional space that provides the services and sophistication one would expect from a hotel, but within a corporate environment.
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