We spoke to Chris Lane (Director at Arnold Lane interior design) about his latest project for Interactive, who is the largest privately owned multi service IT provider in Australia. Their services include hosted data storage facilities, IT hardware maintenance, Cloud and Managed IT services.
Photography : Nicole England
Our conversation with Chris:
- What was the overall outline of the brief from your clients? E.g. Was it creating usable spaces for people to meet and collaborate… To inspire creativity through use of open and private areas etc? The client brief was specific, “create a dynamic, state of the art facility, with a technological WOW factor, the staff and customer experience at every touch point should reinforce this perception”. The office accommodation to convey a warm, residential feel for staff that often work travelling, remote of the main office.
- Office design is becoming a very important reflection of a company’s brand – so how important was the use colour throughout the fit-out? The quality of the built environment, facilities and client experience was the key brand consideration, the use of colour was not an important part of the original client brief. Colour was slowly introduced during the design process as a ‘subtle’ branding strategy for specific client areas, largely the auditorium, and to signify the collaborative or break out zones.The clients corporate colour is blue, and blue is not directly identifiable with any one client due to its broad use for corporate branding. We therefore largely steered clear of the use of the corporate colour.
Where we did reference the corporate colour we customised treftord carpet in blue hues in the auditorium.
- There seems to be a trend nowadays to create spaces that evoke a feeling of warmth and comfort, similar to a home environment – how does this relate to using carpet and does the use of carpet or rugs help to create this in your opinion? In our opinion the trend towards creating offices spaces that are generally more warm or comfortable seems to respond to the desire to make office spaces feel more human.
We approach this trend with restraint , as ultimately the spaces must function as a commercial office. Colour, texture, balance and the tactile nature of natural products are good way to introduce a warm, relaxed and comfortable feel to an office space. Rugs and customized flooring are an important tool to employ to translate the residential concept to an office space and identify zones.
- Some areas utilise colour more than others – what was the intention behind the use of bright colours in some areas vs more muted tones in others?
The use of the bright colours was intended to signify and collaborative spaces. The client embraced the idea during the design process and it was agreed to allocate each creative team a home base environment with an individual colour as a means of identification. However it was agreed to limit the use of colour to largely the floor so that even though some areas are quite vibrant, the main view corridors and general office environment continue to read as a muted harmonious palette.
- How important was the look and texture of the flooring to you?Once it was agreed to introduce colour via the flooring we turned to Tretford products for the available colour palette, customizing options and natural fibre texture. In our experience there is no other flooring product available that offers vibrant colours while retaining a natural appearance.
- Do the acoustics play a large part in choosing soft flooring for you – since a lot of offices are so open plan?Acoustics are an important consideration on every project and one of the key elements to be resolved in achieving a quality, habitable space to either work or live.
On this project, as with many commercial projects, the opportunity to introduce soft, noise absorbing materials are limited to largely soft flooring or specific acoustic products . The selection of the carpet and the opportunities we created to introduce carpet were important considerations through-out the design project.