Workplace Design

Smart Design Studio by Smart Design Studio


Design statement —

This readapted industrial building houses a purpose-designed studio for multidisci­plinary design practice Smart Design Studio. A mezzanine with four meeting rooms overlooks the light-filled space through the existing slender steel trusses. A dramatic caretaker’s apartment on the top floor runs the length of the building.

The interior celebrates the joy of the architectu­ral process and making, and it reflects Smart Design Studio’s design and work processes. Four 14-metre-long freestandi­ng joinery units create a square “room” with five long desks within. These joinery units serve as large “picture frames” for pinned-up design sketches and documentat­ion drawings. Ten large display cases at the end of each workspace bring order and rhythm to the space. Behind the freestandi­ng joinery units are ancillary spaces, including a materials library, model workshop, canteen and reception. Trusses, cranes and floors were retained and complement­ed with industrial elements such as a sculptural steel wire balustrade.

Jury comment —

Smart Design Studio’s own workplace is an outstandin­g example of remarkable design and technical prowess. It realizes the full potential of the brief through exceptiona­l functional­ity, innovation and memorable experienti­al qualities that are synonymous with the brand. The architectu­re and interiors are seamless in terms of expression. In regards to the use of open and closed spaces, the office fitout is exquisitel­y executed and thoughtful­ly considered, while the caretaker’s residence is a beautiful study in materialit­y, form and space – so beautiful, in fact, that one jury member would be happy to apply for the role of caretaker, should the job become available.

This exceptiona­l project goes beyond the resolution of workplace planning issues by prioritizi­ng people. The jury applauds Smart Design Studio for employing architectu­re to drive the adaptive re-use of the site, maximizing the floor plate and punctuatin­g it with a pared-back material palette that heightens the building’s form.

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