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The meeting place: 1 Martin Place, Sydney

Siren Design and Adriano Pupilli Architects have reimagined the mezzanine and ground floor spaces at 1 Martin Place as inviting spaces for both work and play.



BY

November 26th, 2018


The recently completed renovation of the ground level and mezzanine of 1 Martin Place is nothing short of spectacular. Siren Design and Adriano Pupilli Architects (APA), along with construction company Graphite Projects, have definitely delivered the goods and the client can’t be overlooked either. Charter Hall Group brought together this dream team, following a design competition where each studio submitted a concept for the prominent Sydney address.

Reflecting on the process, Mia Feasey, Siren Design’s co-founder and CEO, notes, “I think the way all parties involved collaborated with each other was key to the outcome. If everybody wasn’t open to new ideas or shared similar values and had similar ways of working then the project would be nowhere as successful as it has been. Everyone brought their own strengths to the table. It’s definitely one of the best collaborations we’ve ever been involved in.”

While Siren Design’s concerns were directed more towards the interior architecture and APA’s more so focused on the architecture, both practices faced the same initial challenge. How were they going to activate areas that were basically a thoroughfare in order to make people feel comfortable enough that they would want to linger and ultimately keep on coming back? Their solution was to transform these ‘third places’ into spaces that are all about community, providing the building’s tenants with somewhere else to work and socialise.

The resulting scheme reads as a welcoming marketplace where people can meet their neighbours, friends and colleagues. And the mezzanine, including a café and different seating arrangements, is particularly inviting because of its expansive canopy structure made of tens of thousands of dowels. This was an opportunity for Siren Design and APA to play with scale and proportions because of the generous ceiling height and they’ve delivered a genuinely memorable sculptural insertion. More significantly, it serves to visually unify the different nooks and circulation paths across both floors, immediately drawing people in.

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Their solution was to transform these ‘third places’ into spaces that are all about community, providing the building’s tenants with somewhere else to work and socialise.
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There’s also clear vertical integration between the two levels, with the sculptural staircase and a double-height digital artwork creating a strong connection. Both elements are dynamic in appearance and it was important each floor’s design embody that sense of activity and movement.

1 Martin Place

“The mezzanine and ground floor are constantly changing depending on the time of day; people are racing up to their office in the morning or racing back down at lunchtime and in the evening, there might be an event on,” says APA Director Adriano Pupilli. “So it was essential to tap into that energy and keep everything fresh, which gives people the idea there’s always something going on and always something to see.”

The art gallery’s positioning upon entry immediately engages and throughout the fit-out, mobile furniture and joinery make it easy for people to curate their own space. “Workplace and work-related interiors used to be a one-size-fits-all scenario, but now it’s all about flexibility and a ‘user is chooser’ way of thinking,” explains Feasey. “So when people walk into the mezzanine at 1 Martin Place, for example, they can look at all the different settings and go, ‘Ok, what am I actively about to undertake and what is the most suitable setting?’”

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“Workplace and work-related interiors used to be a one-size-fits-all scenario, but now it’s all about flexibility and a ‘user is chooser’ way of thinking.” – Mia Feasey
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Different light fittings are used to denote different settings as well, which adds another level of nuance to the design. And while the canopy is the fit-out’s most compelling expression, it’s perfectly complemented by the blonde timber of the joinery and the mezzanine’s sandy-coloured flooring.

These spaces work hard to facilitate interpersonal connection and succeed in creating an environment that’s not only welcoming but also conducive to positive interactions.

Photography by Tyrone Branigan.

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