Quay Connection: Elevating Australian Design Excellence

Quay Connection: Elevating Australian Design Excellence
Named national winner of the polytec Design Awards 2023, GroupGSA have blown the country away with their spectacular commercial fit-out, highlighting the true talent of Australian design.

Earlier this year, GroupGSA won the polytec Design Awards Commercial category in New South Wales for their Financial Management Firm project. Selected from over 800 submissions, GroupGSA also took home the winning title for the inaugural National polytec ByDesign Award. This earnt them national recognition, and a feature on series 6 of Australia ByDesign Architecture, which aired on Channel 10. 

“This is the first of its kind,” says polytec’s National Sales Manager, Christina Elvin. “It’s not only a testament to Australian design but also that Australian made and fabricated products hold a place on the world stage.”

The 900sqm George Street offices delivers a thoughtful design language, which responded to the need of the client – a financial services firm with a strong focus on company culture, health, and wellbeing – a workplace that was true to its 'place'. GroupGSA wanted the space to be where people would come to connect and collaborate. 

The design was all about taking the client on a 'journey' through the workspace, and providing places that foster a collaborative culture. An office that puts the people first – taking inspiration from the shorelines of Circular Quay, Sydney – a significant location for the Gadigal People of the Eora Nation and a place connecting people, places, and culture. Circular Quay has beautiful natural curves, and so much movement. GroupGSA captured this energy and put it into this new working environment, paying homage to this connection to land. This movement guides people through the flow of the workspace into its heart - the sweeping double-height feature ceiling, acting as an inlet that’s designed to draw people in. The striking use of materials has created a magnificent “reverse chandelier” within the void, which provides not only acoustic qualities but also a focal point that acts as an anchor to spark creativity and enhance the ambience of the space. This captivating design feature is a clever interpretation of a ceiling space that produced an unexpected, awe-inspiring result. 

The statement piece is constructed using battens and perforated sheets made of polytec Prime Oak Woodmatt laminate, installed across two heights to mimic directional sun rays. The tone and texture of the polytec products paired with the light features imitates the warmth of the natural sunlight, incorporating biophilic design principles that support the employee’s wellbeing. 

“We’re really proud of this project and all the creative ideas that were able to be brought to life by using the polytec product,” says GroupGSA Associate Director, Jessica Margiotta. 

The materials were selected from local suppliers and had a natural feel, in line with the project’s overall focus. Indigenous fabrics by Willy Western were also used to enhance the space's connection to the local culture and traditions. Whilst the carpet design features lines that mimic the sand on the shoreline and the way the water flows over it. 

“This project was a worthy winner,” trend forecaster and interior designer, Marylou Cafaro commented. “It was a very ambitious concept, awe-inspiring, and innovative use of materials.” 

Quay Connection, also known as Financial Management Firm, featured on Australia ByDesign Architecture, and it’s truly a spectacular moment for GroupGSA’s career. Replicating the organic circulation of the shoreline, creating spaces that are interconnected with no distinction between the traditional ‘front and back of house’, and a creative use of materials, you can see why GroupGSA won the national award.  

Lockers, curved joinery, cabinetry, and ceiling all using polytec Prime Oak Woodmatt

Photography thanks to: Toby Peet

Words by: Vashti Dening

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