Breaking Barriers in Interiors Design

oxigen office

While Melbourne dominated at this year’s Australian Interior Design Awards, there was a little interior design gem by renowned Australian architects that initially shot under the radars of most.

This Woods Bagot design for a South Australian office space ‘Oxigen’ is no longer celebrating their dual wins quietly; now they are gaining international acclaim and bringing the state’s design efforts into the global spectrum.

Taking top honours for Best of State (SA) Commercial Interior Design and a commendation for Workplace Design, the interior design development focuses on breaking down the metaphorical and physical barriers that separate the business – a renowned landscape architecture firm – and the Adelaide community.

“The concept developed in collaboration between Oxigen and Woods Bagot was to consider all aspects of the project as a chance to re-engineer traditional notions of what the workplace is,” says Woods Bagot principal Gavin Kain. “Its contribution to contemporary interior design has been manifested through the quality of the physical space and the non-traditional design and construction process.”

The non-traditional design and construction process – much like the building itself – broke down traditional barriers and allowed the client, interior designer, builder and architects to work succinctly, communicate freely and feed off each other’s ideas and innovations.

oxigen office

“Collaborating with a fellow architecture firm to stengthen their voice through design was a fantastic opportunity. We explored and utilised fresh ideas, and created a truly innovative result,” says Kain.

It was this process that led to tackling the project’s greatest challenge: managing to break down the metaphorical office walls while still maintaining a functioning workspace.

This was achieved simply through the design element of the open front office, where the interior working spaces are revealed to the street – much like a shop front – inviting what the designers have labeled as ‘visual participation by passers-by’.

The interior elements have all been individually considered, with the development of a studio that is multi-functional, promoting a number of work settings in addition to collaborative work. While the lower level has been designed as a communication focused workspace, with the development of hand crafted work spaces, team tables and a green exterior courtyard, the upper level studio is more focused on quiet productivity, with the inclusion of a formal meeting room and various other less collaborative focused work spaces.

oxigen office

The overall rustic-urban interior feature choices, including a rusted entrance feature, raw wood furniture and animal print furnishings, create an atmosphere that is relaxed, welcoming and highly metropolitan.

With examples such as this from which to draw, South Australian design will no longer fly under the radar. In producing a space that holds transparency at its core, the designers have truly offered a window into what the state has to offer design-wise, a choice that is already bringing acclaim and generous opportunities for industry members in the state.

 By Jane Parkins


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