After a competition that saw a smattering of Australia’s foremost design practice’s vie for the project, Foolscap Studio was chosen by ANZ to remodel their Docklands HQ for their inspired vision involving a highly detailed and bespoke design approach. A culture of hospitality, conviviality and connectivity lives at the heart of this project, which sees a myriad of zones reimagined to offer visitors a warm welcome, while catering to numerous needs at executive, staff and client levels.
The practice has looked at heightening the beauty and celebration of each individual space through the use of bespoke furniture pieces and environmentally conscious design insertions – each a point of pride and source of rich storytelling for the client. Adding to the aesthetic and interesting elements, an increased level of functionality is witnessed across all of the spaces, futureproofing it for future work trends and practices.
Foolscap has reimagined a previously formal reception zone as a vibrant, multi-use space. Likened to an airline-lounge-meets-national-gallery, it breaks down the corporate atmosphere to offer a hotel lobby-style experience and thus a more informal entry space. At the centre of the arrivals area sit two sculptural workpoints – a serviceable set of sit-or-stand desks, consciously constructed from pieces of repurposed travertine, salvaged from the demolition phase and fused together with polished stainless steel and topped with fly ash. Artworks suspended from laminated glass panels featuring a layer of alternating brass or silver metal mesh add another dimension to the space.
Adjacent to the Reception sits what Foolscap calls the Living Rooms – a variety of agile settings which draw on features of residential and hospitality design to provide lounge, cafe and meeting break-out settings, that double as ‘third working spaces’.
Anchoring the living spaces is an inset floor titled ‘Palladiana’. Foolscap designed this using pieces of repurposed travertine from the demolition and reused them as flooring panels. Among the Living Rooms’ many amenities is the lounge zone, which can be sealed off from its neighbouring café and standing zones using sliding metal-mesh glass doors: a dedicated breakout for ANZ board meetings.
A purpose-designed breakout bar works as a way of servicing the ‘living rooms’, featuring integrated tea stations, filtered water taps and a ‘TopBrewer’ espresso machine.
The Open Kitchen and Catered Meeting Room puts the emphasis on sustenance, stories and connections. At its centre lies a custom Australian-designed and made banquette table. Six metres in length and large enough to sit 20, the table channels high-end hospitality environments. Brass details, walnut veneer surfacing and sculptural curves complement an interior palette of native blackbutt joinery, richly coloured carpet, textured surfaces and natural stone.
In order to enhance functionality and accommodate former off-site activities, Foolscap implemented a fully operable wall system allowing the spaces to unfold from private, task-oriented training rooms into large conference or banquet mode. Services above the open mesh ceiling treatments have been sprayed out and uplit, with a new datum line carried through to maximise senses of height and lightness.
Embracing the boardroom with a distinctly ‘Open House’ spirit, Foolscap has transformed this space into a welcoming, light-filled space. At its centre sits a commanding boardroom table, set beneath a new Barrisol disc. Infusing the space with natural warmth are elements of Blackbutt timber lining the ceiling fins, with fluted velvet upholstery encasing the base build columns. The boardroom table is an original feature of the fit-out, retained and endowed with new purpose and functionality by Australian furniture crafters, Manapan. Manapan’s first encounter with the table immediately inspired a storyline around the ‘Macassan Well’, the only source of fresh water on Milingimbi Island (situated off the coast of the Northern Territory). Tamarind seeds, brought to the island by Macassan traders, were planted around the well’s perimeter to strengthen its banks, conserve its water, and allow the locals to thrive. This narrative plays out through intricate carvings of tamarind seeds and lapping water. At the table’s centre, arched lines link together those seated around the 24-seat table.
The overhaul of ANZ’s Docklands headquarters has truly left no expense spared. The bespoke furniture pieces coupled with thoughtful adaptive reuse techniques and an earthy textural palette has set a precedent for commercial building do-overs, with the work of Foolscap Studio ensuring the space maintains an air of contemporary luxury from this architectural period to the next.