While real estate agent offices are often bland boxes, Time Realty in Five Dock, Sydney, is an exception. The agency wanted an open and inclusive office space that inspired employees and visitors, so using digital and prefabricated techniques, Enter Projects designed curving built-in furniture and polypropylene lighting to sit against the backdrop of the ornate ceiling and patinated walls of the Federation-era building.
Dating back to the 1900s, the building was originally a shop and dwelling with a store downstairs and living upstairs. Internally, Federation-era buildings had Victorian architecture features with decorative plaster ceilings and mouldings. Enter Projects left the ceiling exposed and removed the layers of plaster and gyprock to reveal the patinated walls and preserve the patchwork of colour with glimpses of brick behind.
Enter Projects designed curving built-in furniture and polypropylene lighting to sit against the backdrop of the ornate ceiling and patinated walls of the Federation-era building.
Suspended from the ceiling, a polypropylene light feature swirls through the office and creates a sense of movement. Enter Projects used airflow modelling software to determine the geometries and dynamics of the polypropylene, a material that emerged in the post-WWII plastics boom.
“Airflow modelling software was used to simulate wind currents and eddies and then to plan free-flowing circulation instead of traditional Cartesian space-planning layouts,” says Patrick Keane, director of Enter Projects. The thin, sheer polypropylene sheets snake through the office as if flowing around obstacles, and spiral into lighting fixtures as if forming whirlpools and eddies.
The dynamics and direction of the lighting feature leads the eye and guides movement into and through the office toward the work areas, while its translucent nature varies the intensity of light. “The result contrasts greatly with the existing patina walls, with both elements working together to create a vibrant visual experience,” Patrick explains.
The arrangement of the polypropylene feature also helps define space as the lighting is concentrated above the functional areas: reception, waiting bench and glass-encased meeting room inspired by goldfish bowls.
“Airflow modelling software was used to simulate wind currents and eddies and then to plan free-flowing circulation instead of traditional Cartesian space-planning layouts.” – Patrick Keane, director, Enter Projects
The built-in furniture also guides movement and sightlines into and through the office. Enter Projects used digital techniques for the prefabricated CNC-manufactured furniture. With curving, organic forms, the desks, tables, bench seating and workstations have gentle lines and bevelled edges and are made using locally sourced Australian birch plywood. The open staircase is black powder-coated steel, and beams and ducting are exposed upstairs to create an open, lofty and spacious workplace.
Standing out from its contemporaries, the Time Realty office fuses different materials and production techniques of the last century, ranging from decorative Federation-era architecture to post-war industrial plastics and today’s customised digital craftsmanship.
“The office dovetails geometries and materials with purpose, creating a personalised space without reverting to default solutions typical of mundane workplaces,” Patrick says.
Want more inspirational workplace designs? Take a look in our archive.
Photography by Brett Boardman.
Never miss the latest design projects. Sign up for our newsletter.