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DesignInc looks to nature for design inspiration in new workplace

May 7, 2020
  • Article by Online Editor

Inspired by central Australian terrain and Indigenous culture, DesignInc uses landscape as an anchoring principal in its interior for the Victorian Comprehensive Cancer Centre Executive Workplace.

Home to the Peter Mac and the University of Melbourne’s Health Services Research and Clinical Informatics Hub, the space brings together researchers and clinicians to connect, share insights and work.

The brief was to create an inspiring venue that showcased local research and clinical care to international research leaders.

“The design is inspired by Australian terrain, integrating rich earthy tones to anchor and give warmth to the flexible work zone,” Design Inc design associate Jane Sayers tells ADR.

The 1400-square-metre space includes executive offices, a boardroom, meeting area, open plan work areas and a flexible event zone.

It’s anchored by a central timber wall that incorporates a tea point, break-out booths, meeting and collaboration zones, and bar tables suitable for either work or socialising.

It can be extended via interlocking furniture modules that dock at various points along its edge.

“The wall’s many undulations evoke the feeling of walking through a dense forest or some other natural environment,” says the studio.

“As such, it expresses ideas of journey and destination and functions as a dynamic wayfinding device, effectively leading visitors through the space.”

Internal windows create views to the social spaces, while drawing natural light into the self-contained work zones. Timber is used along the windows’ edge as booth seating and throughout the interior as flooring, wall and ceiling finishes.

“Punctuated by custom terrazzo feature joinery, the overall material palette is rich, robust and earthy, complemented by seating upholstery in autumnal tones,” says the studio.

“It’s an unmistakable reference to the Australian landscape and the significance of Indigenous culture and, in celebrating both, the space is given a distinct visual identity.

“The end-users’ wellbeing is also improved through this incorporation of natural elements and patterns that provide a sense of calm and relaxation.”

DesignInc has studios in Adelaide, Melbourne, Sydney and Perth.

The studio also designed two other centres for Melbourne’s Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre with a focus on wellbeing via thoughtful, holistic design.

Sydney designer Adele McNab approached her recent Marrickville workplace design in a different way, using simple materials, finishes and tones to craft compelling spaces.

Photography: Dianna Snape

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