From the architect:

Polyglot is not corporate, it is not slick. It is not a polished new-materials-on-wall-ceiling-floor office fitout. Neither is it a normal warehouse conversion; industrial heritage polished up alongside detailed contemporary intervention. Instead it is a humble insertion into a heritage space that through careful zoning and layout design enhances what is there with what has been added, achieving maximum impact. 

Polyglot is a not-for-profit children's theatre company with "children at the heart of our art". They approached us to help find a suitable site and interpret/extrapolate the brief into compliant grant documentation subsequently approved with a matched funding model. The Sacred Heart building at Abbotsford Convent was the perfect fit; an alignment of philosophy and values. 

It is an extraordinary space with light flooding in, the curiosity of a beautiful pale yellow, teal and lavender screen in one corner and in the other corner pale yellow tiles. We articulated the dichotomy that although Polyglot is a company for children, this was to be an office for adults; yet we wanted to design a space with a sense of playfulness, wonder and joy. We wanted a design that was also socially sustainable, with local or Australian-designed products sourced wherever possible, to align client values. 

And when we say there was a tight budget, we mean extremely tight; needing to stretch across the 200sqm tenancy with less than $600/sqm available to transform the space. 


The design solution is centred around The Polypod; a bold curved polycarbonate boardroom pod designed to draw the eye across the space in an optical illusion that transforms the entire tenancy, giving maximum impact.

The tender process involved negotiations with the preferred builder Sinjen, who approached the relationship in the spirit of partnership. With cooperation, determination and finessing, the key functional elements including all of the desks, co-lab tables and boardroom tables were custom-made to a tight budget by their joiners.

The Advanta boardoom chairs were sourced from one of the few locally-designed and made office chair suppliers in Australia who could meet the tight budget, and the remaining stools and chairs were purchased from a new Melbourne-based online startup. The only elements not locally sourced and designed were the desk chairs which were recycled from the old office. The sustainability of the fit-out is evident, with no expensive construction waste or excess of materials. The approach is inherently sustainable. (*excluding tenancy floor, walls and base services).