The Geelong Advertiser is the oldest paper in Victoria and the second oldest paper in Australia, so when we got the job to create their new office fitout, we were humbled by the opportunity and passionate about getting it right.
The initial brief was about creating an open plan design so staff from different areas of the business could collaborate if required, but also work autonomously within a space for their teams. A meeting room, boardroom and a couple of offices were required, but we were giving a lot of freedom in the initial design phase to guide the overall look and feel of the interior – a truly exciting experience. We wanted to keep the space industrial to pay homage to the building, the area and the newspaper itself.
“Geelong has such a rich industrial background; from the railways, ports and heritage listed buildings I thought it was only natural to incorporate this back into this modern industrial design,” says Canopy’s Interior Architect, Sam Fossati
The materials we used throughout the design were a combination of concrete, steel, slate, lots of timber and plants/greenery. If you’ve worked with Sam before, you know he likes to use as many natural materials as he can to really capture the raw elements of each piece – this time he used slate as a kitchen splashback!
"I’m a huge fan of the different textures and detail each piece of steel, timber and concrete offers when you look closely enough. There is always so much variation within the materials which always creates an interest every time you walk into a space.”
“It goes back to the smaller details, and the imperfections within those materials. Raw materials are always something I incorporate into an office design because it adds another dimension of texture. I think that incorporating these natural textures and imperfections is what makes the Geelong Addy so special,” he says.
To tie nature into the interior, we designed a park-style bench around a live tree that sits in the thoroughfare area above the stairs. In time, it will grow over 5 metres in height, which will become a focal point within the entire design.
“I thought the tree would make an amazing feature and central point for the staff to congregate and just take a few minutes out of their busy day to sit down and take their mind off things,” he says.
“I always try to incorporate nature within design, I think it adds an element of softness against the industrial materials in the space.”
One of the challenges we had for this job was balancing the lighting. We created a central meeting room that sits pretty much under the tree with all four sides made of glass. To avoid light obstruction, we built a lot of low-height walls. This had a double effect meaning the tree could be seen from more areas of the open plan. The light now passes through easily so there are no dark areas – and the addition of the sky light makes it feel as if you are working outside, which we think has to be better for productivity.