Who do architects select to light their own offices?
In the case of international design practice Hassell, it was award-winning lighting design consultancy PointOfView when it came to their new state of the art harborside premises in Sydney, Australia. Comprising of 2,600 square meters at Pier 8/9 on the edge of the city's historical Rocks area and a stones throw from the southern end of the Harbour Bridge the space continued the Hassell tradition of locating to repurposed buildings.
The Shanghai office is a former motorcycle factory, Melbourne used to be a clothing warehouse and Brisbane is a transformed bakery. The new Sydney space used to be a bonded wool warehouse.
While it ticked a lot of boxes it also presented quite a few challenges for the team at PointOfView.
"It's a tricky building with things like heritage restraints for mounting", said Mark Elliott, Principal at PointOfView, "This, together with the visually complex timber structure made the development of the lighting scheme a real challenge. We had to make the lighting disappear, not over complicate the space, nor impose on the beauty of this heritage building.”
Also, as a founding member of the Green Building Council of Australia Hassell intended that their new address would be hailed as one of the nation's greenest.
Daylight and proximity linking therefore played a significant role in PointOfView’s design, as well as challenging GBCA requirements for uniformity. “A uniform space often means to me there is wasted light” says Elliott, “you need light where you work, and where you display working drawings, but you don’t need the same light level in circulation spaces. The outcome of this considered design approach is not only that the space is more energy efficient, but also a more visually interesting environment.” LED uplighting highlighted the ceilings and collaborative spaces using the fabric of the building as a reflector to deliver ambient light where dedicated task lighting strapped to the heritage structure personalized workspaces with light without imposing on the architecture. Overall, the energy-efficient lighting design uses a modest 14.4 watts per square meter, which although isn’t particularly impressive for an open plan ceiling gridded office fitout, (which can be as good as 5W/msq), but considering the restraints and the visual importance of the space, it was in context an excellent outcome.
The illumination of pin boards was an essential element to the design not only to provide workable light for work-shopping and open discussion, but to also illuminate some of the vertical surfaces in the space. “Often the vertical surface is forgotten about to the detriment of the space’ says Elliott, ‘lighting vertical surfaces offers a point of visual destination and when your work is based on sketching and working models the illumination of these elements can prove inspirational to the staff.’
Hassell was established in 1938 so this year mark's their 75th anniversary. What better way to help celebrate than to open a new office that positively reflects the collaborative and engaged culture Hassell has fostered over the years.
Following on from this project POV has been engaged to work on some upgrades to Hassell’s Melbourne studio and are currently working on the new Sydney studio for Bates Smart. “It’s a great privilege to be asked to light these spaces,” says Elliott, “working with designers of this caliber pushes you to deliver especially when years of relationship building is on the line. We look forward to working together with two of this regions greatest designers on future projects, fusing light with architecture.”
The completion of the Hassell project continues a string of recent successes for PointOfView including QT Sydney, 52 Martin Place Sydney, The Collins Bar at The Hilton Adelaide, and Hale House – the new office of The Department of Premier and Cabinet of Western Australia.
"And we'll be announcing a number of new local and overseas project wins in the near future," said Elliott. “With two new projects in Manila for example, we’re taking our lighting PointOfView further than ever before.”