Highly Commended in Architeam Awards 2018; Commercial.

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 true palimpsest, an insertion into a heritage space that through careful zoning and layout of a design parti enhances what is there with what has been added, achieving maximum impact.

Polyglot, 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. We helped select a soaring first-floor space with exposed trusses, peeling paint and lost tiles a palimpsest of the former young women’s ward at the convent, complete with decorative metal bars still on the windows. An extraordinary space, light flooding in, with 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 a company for children, it was 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-made products sourced wherever possible.

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.

At a more subtle level there is actually a parti of 5 elements; The Heritage Screen, Reading Nook, Co-Lab Tables, Polypod and The Greenery……..

  • The Heritage Screen
    • Original feature! Lightly sanded, original pastel faded paint and heritage protected. Shields kitchen area, with lightly fixed joinery and heritage basins still visible underneath benchtops, original terrazzo below.
  • Reading Nook,
    • Informal banquette setting defined by the heritage yellow tiles, utilising Australian-made Warwick fabric upholstery and Shaw-Contract carpet, with the unique adhesive system meeting the strict requirements of the heritage permit.
  • Co-Lab tables
    • Mobile collaboration tables fostering creative communication, the space defined by the bamboo cloches from Koskela, itself a socially-sustainable company.
  • Polypod
    • The boardroom pod clad in striking verticals of curved coloured polycarbonate and a stunning green interior that uncannily references the heritage colours of the space and is detailed to reinforce its sculptural nature.
  • The Greenery
    • The custom desks house a planter that defines the edge of the working zone, providing perceived privacy with well-acknowledged benefits and detoxification that indoor plants provide. The Mr Kilty planter pots – a budget-friendly design classic from an Australian designer – use planting to define entry areas and mark circulation routes.
  • Location; Abbotsford Convent
  • Site Area; 200m2
  • Photographer; Shannon McGrath
  • Year; 2018
  • Awards;
  • 2018 IDEA Awards – Commercial Shortlisted
  • 2018 Architeam Awards – Highly Commended
  • 2019 Workspace Awards – Shortlisted