Woods Bagot takes a people-centred approach to Plenary’s new Melbourne office, using place-making strategies more often seen in urban and landscape projects.
March 8th, 2018
Place-making is a term often used in the design of public projects, helping communities connect with their environment and creating spaces that contribute to wellbeing. As a developer and manager of public infrastructure, Plenary Group understands the value of place-making and Woods Bagot adopted the people-centred approach for Plenary’s new Melbourne office.
Located in Rialto Towers, Plenary’s workspace emphasises spatial experience with a focus on clients and social engagement. “Plenary wanted an office space that could provide a hospitality experience and celebrate its game-changing connection to Melbourne and city-making,” says Sue Fenton, senior associate at Woods Bagot. The design team, led by Senior Interior Designer Stuart Paterson, “created a hybrid spatial narrative that speaks of landscape, urbanity, place-making and nurturing people and their wellbeing,” Sue explains.
The arrival experience to the workplace is very different to the highly commercial lobby of Rialto Towers. The design team created a warm and refined reception area for a personal and engaging welcome. “More like a concierge experience you would expect visiting a hotel,” says Stuart.
A curving bronze-mirror wall overlayed with timber battens forms a backdrop to the reception desk. The reception area can be utilised for client functions and a concealed door in the wall leads to the kitchen/staff breakout area with expansive views of Port Phillip Bay.
The office is configured around a central core and the spatial experience is sequenced to slowly reveal layers and views, a design strategy more often seen in urban and landscape genres. Informal meeting areas adjacent to the reception are akin to a dining setting and a lounge area, and strategically located for panoramic views of Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre and other landmark Plenary projects around the city.
The core is wrapped in an angular wall with a recessed display shelf for architectural models. The transition corridor alongside mimics the shifting angles of the wall, and formal and informal meeting spaces are screened with timber battens for privacy while still having access to light and views. “The prize at the end of the corridor is the breathtaking view of the Northern CBD and beyond,” Stuart says.
Work areas are spacious and open plan with large bench-style desks. Acoustic panels behind the ceiling battens provide a quiet, calming experience. Natural materials contribute to the highly crafted aesthetic, and the warm and welcoming environment that staff and clients can connect with and value.
Want to see another workplace by Woods Bagot? Take a look at Jemena.
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