- Article by Online Editor
- Photography by Peter Bennetts
- Designer Chard International
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Australian Design Review: When and how did the idea for the project design originate?
Gary Chard: Admark Communications moved into its new warehouse home in 2009 and realised that the initial excitement for the beautiful large open gallery space was tempered by a realisation that there was a lack of privacy to conduct business and the design needed updating for its practice. The warehouse accommodates two different companies (one upstairs and one downstairs) and, as a result, the traffic flow through the area around reception and the front door was chaotic.
The design evolved primarily out of a need to resolve these complex traffic flow issues. Marking the pathways across the floor exposed the ‘quiet areas’ that could later become the meeting room and position for the reception desk. The walkways converged at the front door and radiated out in a curve to the left towards the stairs and toilet area. Other paths led almost straight ahead to the reception and out to the rear roller door.
The meeting room was determined by a circular white fringe drape around which a second spiralling sheer drape system was established. None of the drapes are fixed and they were designed in sections to open and close, offering unlimited possibilities and ever-changing environments.
The meeting table was the central point for the shell spiral, which creates a radiating flow towards the office front door. A curved drape track followed this progression and, when fully closed, the spiralling sheer black drape creates two new fluid spaces within the building: a reception area and a central circular meeting room.
The drape wall between the reception and the studio creates a sheer veil between the inner working space, softening the hard shell of the building, but not completely shutting out those who work there.
A brilliant red reception shard desk was designed in two parts – each positioned on either side of the black sheer. The sharp end to this desk was designed to minimalise the impact in the limited reception area and to create a contrast to the flowing drape curves.
ADR: Was cost a consideration and, if so, how did your design overcome any shortfall in the budget?
GC: Cost had a significant influence on the design. The design utilised an economic drape system to enhance the height of the space and create drama through the use of semi-translucent fabrics. This added perspective to the space, playing with light and vision, and was more cost-effective.
ADR: Do you feel that you have realized the design you set out to achieve?
GC: It was a harmonious project and I was extremely happy with the result. By achieving all the requirements of the brief the client was extremely pleased and enjoys the versatility of the design.
ADR: How long did the project take to complete? Was it within the allocated timeframe? If not, what were the challenges?
GC: The project took three months in total to complete, from initial meeting through to design and installation. The major challenges were driven by the existing infrastructure; the outdated electrical system, the challenges of matching the drape line across differing ceiling heights and re-routing the traffic flow. Once these had been solved the implementation was a breeze.
ADR: What excites you about the project?
GC: There are many facets of the project I find exciting. For instance, the extreme versatility of the space, along with the everchanging environment and the way the staff interact with this. The design was fun and it proves that you don’t need a large budget to have good design.
Drainage is often the forgotten workhorse of the building and design function. Yet drainage maintains a simple albeit vital purpose.