GroupGSA has been named national winner, Polytec’s highest design honour, for an enthralling commercial fit-out which spotlights Australian talent and craftsmanship.
November 15th, 2023
Selected from a pool of 800 submissions, the George Street fit-out delivers a thoughtful design language which responds to the needs of the client: a financial services firm with a strong focus on company culture, health and wellbeing. Sydney studio GroupGSA approached the brief with a three-tier planning approach engineered to facilitate collaboration, positive work patterns and the free exchange of ideas.
Embracing a fluid, curving design for the space allowed GroupGSA to pay homage to the sprawling seascape of Sydney Harbour and its islands, guiding people through the flow of the workplace into its heart. A sweeping double-height feature ceiling sculpts the space above the client lounge, playing with light and air.
“By directing the battens towards the central light feature we created a focal point that acts as an anchor, encouraging people to gather from across the office to further enhance office culture,” says GroupGSA associate director Jessica Margiotta. “We’re really proud of this project and all the creative ideas that were made possible using the Polytec product.”
Reflecting a profound shift in design thinking – one commended by the Polytec judges as an “ambitious concept” – the project embraces the essence of blended planning to alter the spatial dynamics of the contemporary workplace. Aiming to dismantle the conventional separation between ‘front-of-house’ and ‘back-of-house’ areas, the transformation fosters an atmosphere of fluidity which resonates with both employees and clients.
This commitment to fluidity ushers visitors into an intimate journey through the heart of the business. It’s a subtle yet powerful way of building trust, offering clients a first-hand experience of the inner workings of the company. The absence of a formal reception area further underlines the transparency and connectedness captured by GroupGSA.
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The Circular Quay workplace rests on a significant location for the Gadigal people of the Eora nation, from whom GroupGSA drew philosophical inspiration and deep respect for the land. Willy Weston’s Indigenous fabrics provide a cornerstone of the design. The patterns, colours and textures of these fabrics carry the stories and traditions of the Indigenous people, infusing the workspace with a rich tapestry of cultural significance.
GroupGSA’s dedication to locally-conscious design was commended by the judges, who applauded their “awe-inspiring and innovative use of materials.”
“This submission is not only a testament to Australian design, but also that Australian Made and fabricated products hold a place on the world stage,” says Polytec national sales manager Christina Elvin.
Polytec products, integrated seamlessly into the space, played a pivotal role in enhancing the design’s aesthetic functionality. Polytec battens and sheets made from ‘Prime Oak Woodmatt’ laminate incorporate a distinct natural touch. Thoughtfully arranged across two different heights, the tone and texture of the Polytec elements communicate in harmony with the light features to evoke a sense of warmth and natural sunlight.
Ultimately, the project’s success hinges on creating an environment that promotes stronger relationships, bolstering trust and fostering enduring partnerships between clients and staff. The notion of ‘blended planning’ is more than just a design approach; it’s a catalyst for deeper connections and meaningful experiences within the workspace, strengthened by the biophilic design opportunities offered by Polytec.
Australia ByDesign Architecture
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