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    We turn our isolation to our advantage and develop ingenuity: Marianne Bokor

    Branko Miletic

    As director at bokor architecture+interiors, Marianne Bokor sees to it that green principles are implemented to every project with all designs undergoing an internal audit to ensure that recycling, reusing, minimisation of harmful emissions and good indoor air quality are applied.

    What is the one thing that is changing the way architects work today, and why is this such an important issue?

    A change we have embraced is the concept to construction model where the same person or team is responsible for the project from the initial client pitch right through to the finished construction. Gone are the days where designers were brought in to a project to work on one aspect for a project. In the bokor office, we start and finish a project with the same architectural team.

    It is important because this ensures there is a continuity in the knowledge that has been learnt along the way in a project. On the other hand, some things stay the same-clients like to see architects and designers sketch and draw by hand.

    At bokor we still take butter paper to all client meetings and will use the meetings as an opportunity to draw concepts and sketch plans. This allows us to make decisions with the project team instantly and it also brings the client along in the creative process.

    What is your favourite type of project / area of design and why?

    It is important in every design that it contains the principles of sustainable design. For example, in The Icon end of Trip facility in Australia Square, the rubber flooring is made from recycled car tyres. Every small difference we can make in the built environment around us makes a difference in how we feel, and the energy used in creating the spaces we live and work in every day.

    Is wellness something that is finding resonance in the design of Australian workspaces, and why is this the case?

    End of Trip Facilities used to be simply a place to park a bike and clean up. But many building owners are now embracing mind and body wellness as part of their overall services on offer to tenants. Increasingly we are being asked to include things like spa facilities and clinical rooms. At Australia Square, a large footprint has been taken up with a Wellness Centre which can be used for a range of holistic activities from yoga, wellness training and health care treatment.

    Part of your philosophy says: The success of our buildings and environments is reflected in the way people use and experience them, ensuring that there is a sense of meaning and connection. Can you give a prime example where one of your designs met that criteria?

    The design for the Australia Square End of Trip Facility “The Icon” was designed with a connection to the heritage of its history and original design philosophy. The circular motives in the environment gives subtle circular motives in the mirrors, sinks, fittings and fixtures. The graphics were designed using the structural footprint of the building. We wanted people to experience the sense of meaning and connection to the original building through the new design.

    In what facet of design is Australia ahead of the ‘global curve’, and in what area does it lag behind?

    We work in collaboration with several international architects on projects within Australia, and find that Australia’s isolation is not a disadvantage and we lead the way in designing buildings that are accessible and sustainable.

    We turn our isolation to our advantage and develop ingenuity. Although new products are not always available because of our limited market, online product availability and information assist in removing barriers. We have adopted legislation and standards for accessible buildings that makes us leaders in this field, similarly we have progressive standards on energy efficiency.

    What part of sustainable design are you most interested in and why?

    Bokor is most interested in sustainable design in the broader sense. It is not just about being ecologically sustainable but also looking at the social and economic aspects of every building we design and every interior we create. No matter how big or small the project is, we question every decision at every design stage.

    For example, when considering the layout of workstations, we consider the amount of light each person gets, how easy we can make their interaction with others and how they would feel in their environment.

    We try to include ways to make a positive different that does not cost any more to the client. Every little bit counts.

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