Images courtesy of Carr Design Group.
A stalwart national institution, Australia Post’s headquarters has long been in need of a revamp, with recent announcements of increased fees and changes to traditional services reflecting structural changes within the company.
The redevelopment of AP’s 50-year-old headquarters in the Sydney suburb of Redfern is a symbolic reflection of the company’s push towards re-evaluating its role, not only within Australia but as a larger international digital community.
Carr Design Group’s reimagining of AP’s Cleveland Street headquarters brings together the idea of digitisation with a strong contextual understanding of the company’s historical footprint.
AP’s decision to move its focus to the parcel and package arm of its functions is reflected in the decision to move its subsidiary business, StarTrack, from its north Sydney location to within the confines of the Redfern building.
Along with this, the much publicised rebranding of Australia Post is brought to life in the new building’s layout, materials and symbolism.
Across two floors, the business is broken up into five separate wings on each floor. “Translating ideas of digital economy into binary and barcoding,” say the designers, “we designed screen motifs, ceiling details, reflective surfaces and graphics, to establish contemporary branded spaces.”
These binary and barcode motifs are achieved with the help of a tri-tone finish, separating the public areas of the building (the ground level and reception area) from the ‘task areas’, which all cluster around the central spiral staircase.
The staircase acts to perpetuate the physical reminder of AP’s rebranding of itself, forming the AP logo in both its colour and construction.
Open-plan workspaces have been prioritised in a conscious decision to shift from traditional arrangements to a more adaptable workplace environment, and communal areas throughout seem to exhibit a flotsam and jetsam of colours in the furniture, yet remain somehow grounded as a whole. The spatial planning facilitates AP’s push to reimagine not just its brand identity but its very function as a company.
Blown-up stamps covering entire walls, and the quaint framing of a 19th-century red pillar postbox in the foyer are constant reminders of AP’s historical role in Australian culture, and reiterate this idea of branding through interior design.
The project demonstrates the potential for historical buildings to be reworked, reflecting this marriage between traditional services and the influences of a digital age.