Maritime Culture

 10 Jun 2014

A charming Sydney view is a ferry bobbing in its iconic harbour. For years, the operator of this fleet has been Sydney Ferries, but this crucial task was recently moved from the government sector to the private sector, taken over by Harbour City Ferries.

So when Futurespace and APP were engaged to create the interiors for this new era of the company, they needed to address a number of key ideas. Culture was an important part of the brief: referencing the rich maritime history of the organisation, and addressing the shift in workplace culture for Harbour City Ferries, with its new public face.
Quality and subtle maritime references are a watertight solution for the new offices for Harbour City Ferries by Futurespace.

“The team at Harbour City Ferries are passionate; many have been in the industry forever,” says Maggie McFadyen, project designer. “They wanted their environment to be essentially ‘maritime’ so that visitors could not mistake their core business.” However, there was also a need to “take it into a more contemporary customer-focused workplace environment,” adds Greg Carmichael, project director, APP.

The use of timber throughout the project is inspired by the internal structure and ribbing of a ship, reflecting craftsmanship, warmth and strength. The theme is also represented through other finishes – rubber flooring and a splashback that is found in actual Sydney ferries. A galley- style kitchen and environmental graphics in the meeting rooms complete the nautical experience.

Workplace change was addressed through the open-plan layout, which “encourages collaboration and strengthens communication paths through visibility,” Maggie explains. To support this are individual offices and a breakout space that also serves as an ‘idea generation area’.

“The client requested the Zip HydroTap as their preference.”

Quality products were required to reflect the quality of the customer focus of the business, whilst also being economical. “There is a need to deliver exceptional value for money,” says Greg – and that’s where the Zip HydroTap delivers. Maggie adds, “It’s a local supplier, a reliable product and has a suitable lead-time. The client has been happy with the product in the past and requested the product as their preference.”

The task of Sydney Harbour Ferries is to uphold the traditional ideals of the ferry service, in a new era. “[It’s a] buzzing workspace with multiple screens showing live footage to functioning wharfs and a highly used breakout/ idea generation hub,” describes Maggie. “There’s no mistake that the business is alive and functioning.”

"Article taken from Boiling Point issue no. 20, published by the Indesign Media Asia Pacific. Words by Nicky Lobo, Photography by Danial Nash, Interior Designer by