Cool, Calm and Collected

 10 Jun 2014

When your clients are high-end companies looking for close attention to detail, it’s clear you’d want your business premises to reflect that same outlook. So, when Eastview Commercial (EVC) relocated to the heart of the Sydney CBD, it recruited builders and designers who could meet its exacting requirements for its own offices.

EVC are project managers that specialise in refurbishing major commercial buildings such as Sydney’s Grosvenor Place, Australia Square and the MLC Centre, so its standards are high. For that reason, in keeping with the image the company wanted to portray, design firm The Bold Collective came up with a look that’s sophisticated and elegant. At the same time, the end result is stylish, informal and individual, with an understated air of chic.

EVC manages commercial fitouts for smart clients, so design team The Bold Collective came up with an equally smart concept for the company’s Sydney headquarters.

“We used classic and timeless finishes and colours, such as oak veneers and charcoal greys, that would reflect what EVC is all about,” says Ali McShane, who along with Monika Branagan owns and directs The Bold Collective. Yet the 115 square metre office space is also peppered with intriguing design features, including diagonal grooves etched into a number of vertical surfaces. The motif is repeated on glass doors and adds a cutting- edge element to the space.

“We do a lot of retail fitouts, thanks to Monika’s background in that area, so when we’re approaching a commercial fitout we might look at things quite differently from other designers,” Ali explains. “We’d seen imagery that used these strong diagonal surfaces, and we thought they looked clever without being too in your face. Using them here creates a soft, sophisticated feel.”

Another point of difference can be seen in their treatment of the ceilings, particularly in the meeting room. “We wanted to break up the monotony of a consistent ceiling, so there’s an element of set plaster in the reception area, a grid ceiling in the main office, and in the meeting room we’ve incorporated a custom- made slatted ceiling constructed from joinery sprayed with a white two-pac polyurethane finish,” says Ali. “It looks unusual and masks
a huge air-conditioning unit.”

A light well in the centre sits above a custom- made Koskela table surrounded by Corporate Culture’s ‘About A Chair’ meeting chairs. “They’re not hugely formal, so they suit this space well,” says Ali.

“A Zip HydroTap… sits in the centre of the worktop, and almost deserves its own spotlight.”

EVC’s director, Cris Van Haren, was keen for certain elements to be dual-purpose. Hence the meeting room, which includes a screen surrounded by a whiteboard wall for presentations and workshopping ideas, doubles as a breakout space for staff. In the main office, a central unit, fronted by oak-veneer whose grain runs in parallel with the distinctive diagonal grooves, segregates what Ali calls the front of house and back of house areas while acting as an informal meeting point where staff can stand to discuss layouts and projects. In addition, it provides storage and soft lighting, which shines up from within the cabinetry. Further lighting comes from concealed elements tucked along the edge of the windows, thus avoiding any ugly fluorescent strip lights or harsh downlights having to be built into the ceiling.

“Lighting was very important in this space, and we worked with consultants Point of View, who came up with a scheme that’s quite minimal and intentionally soft,” says Ali – in keeping with the rest of the fitout. “It’s one of the elements that means this space can be professional yet still retain some warmth and informality.”

"Article taken from Boiling Point issue no. 20, published by the Indesign Media Asia Pacific. Words by Nigel Bartlett, Photography by Jon Rogow, Interior Designer by The Bold Collective"