For more than a decade, shared offices have been an option for business in most larger cities around the world. Creating and renting out such premises is a highly competed business and success is not guaranteed.
The necessary ingredients include a fine balance of location-appropriate sizing, pricing and design, a customizable set of services and facilities, and of course a favourable location.
We’ve seen both boring and inspiring examples. Some of them are not much more than bland office pens or chairs and desks for rent. Some are too casual and communal, or veering too far toward the creative-businesses-having-fun-together variety.
Not everyone who wants a shared office environment is looking for constant interaction, open-concept layouts or the minimum of luxury.
Elegance, privacy and high-end design are also on the must-have-list of many potential tenants of such spaces.
All of these less-frequently-seen attributes have come together in Paramount by The Office Space, a cool retrofit of the 1940s Paramount Pictures building at 80 Commonwealth Street in Surry Hills, Sydney, Australia.
The Office Space founders Boris and Naomi Tosic are veterans of the shared office game in Sydney. Boris Tosic’s high-end office fit-out firm, Elan Construct, was in charge of building and joinery in this project.
To transform the heritage-listed landmark Art Deco building into a 22-suite luxury office space taking up the total of almost 300 square meters (3,230 Sq.ft.) , the Tosics engaged global architecture, design and consulting firm Woods Bagot.
Woods Bagot principal, Domenic Alvaro, who with Todd Hammond formed the Woods Bagot project team, says that the concept and harmony come from “ … creating a simultaneously functional and aesthetically beautiful experience in every detail.”
Mid-century modernist vibes are strong in the space. American Cherry and oak panelling is curved to echo the building’s exterior and to form visually soft divisions.
Additional materials - limestone, marble, goat-hair carpet – are used in features customized for the project.
A three-dimensional ceiling of timber and brass ties it all together, as period-appropriate lighting by Light Practice.
Brass and leather accents and mid-century pieces from Molteni Co and Walter Knoll are perfect with the BassamFellows hand-crafted furniture and select pieces from Australian AB Projects’ inaugural collection
The overall effect is akin to a boutique hotel where the rooms are in fact offices and work spaces.
We suspect that this trend will be strong in globally the near future as more and more successful professional individuals and businesses are looking for workspace to align with their style and brand. - Tuija Seipell.
A confident black margin drawn on a crisp sheet of pristine, white paper anchors everything on that sheet and divides it decisively into sections. But it leaves everything else free and open; to be decided later, to be filled in - perhaps in writing or with drawings or other media.
That same feeling of order and balance - and also of rejuvenating freedom - permeates this Olivier Dwek-designed residence on the island of Zante. Zante, also known as Zakynthos, is one of the Ionian Islands that also include Kefalonia, Ithaca, Corfu and Paxi along the western coastline of central Greece.
The elegant dwelling sits confidently on the ocean-side ledge of the island, overlooking the neighbouring island of Kefalonia (or Cephalonia).
The British-born, Brussels-based, 45-year-old architect Dwek is a master of the pure, clean line.
In the Zante residence, the first level includes an entrance hall, outdoor dining room, kitchen, living room, patio, swimming pool, terraces and a bedroom. The large master bedroom is located on the second level.
All windows look over the steep hillside and face the beautiful vista of Kefalonia.
There is so much we love about this project. Obviously we are drawn to the elegant minimalist white-and-black scheme, the efficient, open floor plan, the overall openness, the refined proportions, and the complete lack of gimmicks or unnecessary enhancements.
And we always love a structure that leaves room to breathe, see, hear and experience the surroundings.
But in this particular house, our favourite feature is the black margin. We see them in the frames for the windows and sliding doors, the edges of marble counter tops, the play of light and shadow on the white surfaces.
These margins border and outline the life inside and outside, and they define the scenery and direct the viewer to the incredible surrounding beauty. - Tuija Seipell.
We love design, architecture and art that exudes confidence, strength, character and drama. We love pieces that make a bold statement; that can stand alone.
Unsurprisingly, we’ve fallen for the photography work of the multi-talented American Sarah McColgan.
We have now commissioned her to create a series of photo portraits of horses exclusively for The Cool Hunter, and we are happy to introduce the first one of the series here.
The strength, stillness and sheer power of the black-and-white portrait is iconic. There is no way one can ignore this in a room.
Numerous other prestigious brands and publications have recognized Sarah McColgan’s talent. Her work has appeared, for example, in Marie Claire, Harper’s Bazaar, Rolling Stone and In Style.
And brands, including NFL, Pepsi and Pantene have also used her images in their campaigns.
She has also worked with many stars, including Heidi Klum, Beyonce, Kelly Ripa, Sheryl Crow, Mary J Blige and Bruce Springsteen.
We have opened The Cool Hunter Store – our antidote to boring shopping experiences - this past weekend in the Prahan neighbourhood of Melbourne.
The Cool Hunter Store
142 Commercial Road
Prahran Vic 3181
Monday to Friday - 10:30am - 5:30pm
Saturday - 10am - 4pm
Sunday - Closed
P: 1300 739 661
We have created pop-up shops and galleries before, but this one will be a bit longer-term. How long, you ask. We have no idea. We will work it as long as it is interesting to our guests and to us.
(Our window display features The Horse photograph by Sarah McColgan)
The Cool Hunter Store is part art gallery and part shop, but everything is sourced by The Cool Hunter, and everything is for sale. Art, lights, books, gourmet foods, fashion accessories and so on.
We will keep everything fresh and exclusive, and the selection will change regularly so that visiting the store is interesting each time, and there are always goods here that you can’t find anywhere else.
As shopping has become more and more boring, with mind-numbing sameness across airports, high streets, shopping centres and brands, there seems little point in getting excited about a new store. So we know the bar is high.
But we also know that the sameness is the result of brands, stores and managers choosing to be followers rather than leaders. It is so much easier to produce and sell the same colours, styles, hem lengths, materials and products as everybody else. They all go to the same trade shows, same fashion shows, same predictable sources – so is it any wonder that the result is dull and boring?
Our approach is different, and far more time-consuming, but we are trying to un-bore ourselves here, too. We hope that as a result, we will be able to offer our guests a worthwhile experience in return.
And, as always, we used Natalie Longheon from Just Add Cream, our go-to girl to create our space. Time after time, she has executed everything from start to finish perfectly. We can trust her completely which is why we use her constantly. She always delivers.
We plan to use the 260 square-meter space also for client product activations, events, launches and whatever else interests us.
LED infinity mirror artwork by American artist Peter Gronquist, available exclusively at TCH gallery store.
Flowers by Melbourne's most iconic florist - The Studio by Fleur.
The Cool Box – our version of a cool, customized luxury gift “hamper” - will be launching in a few months. We are currently perfecting the packaging for it.
A large CJ Hendry drawing of a Giorgio Armani shopping bag was sold just a few hours prior to opening to a customer in Vancouver.
LED infinity mirror of policeman by Peter Gronquist.
Photographed by Sam Bisso
‘We eat with our eyes’….
Let’s take a minute and really consider what this means. Traditionally we have associated this statement with the freshness of our food; the moment you can see all the amazing components of a dish in their individual state and the vast array of colours they collectively offer.
The truth is though, that freshness is in everything around us, it’s in our food, our fashion, our music, our art, our ideas, our attitudes and of course our architecture. What becomes particularly exciting is when there is a distinct and clear connection of freshness between two or more of these aspects at any one given time and the ability it has to excite our multitude of senses.
Bar Nou is exactly this, a clash of freshness; fresh food, fresh design and fresh architecture. Located in a city known well for its unorthodox and unique architecture, this Barcelona statement piece is ‘light and fresh’ in every sense of the term. A product of emerging architectural design quartet Maio, this small but eloquent tapas bar pays homage to the traditional Catalonian dish of ‘pa amb tomàquet’. Which for those who are unfamiliar is the amazing combination of toast, diced tomatoes, and top-shelf olive oil with garlic and salt; simple yet highly appealing, much like the design.
Whilst the team from Maio have managed to achieve a design which is blissfully simple, the more you break it down it’s actually full of complexities. For example the timber clad ceiling which has been arranged like a vault gives the bar an interesting sense of proportion and provides an air of ‘domesticity’, which comes back to the idea of tomatoes on toast at home. The complexity of the construction becomes even more evident through in the way the ceiling intersects with the front façade, making it an interesting feature rather than hidden, which opposes the usual way in which roofing structure is treated.
Maio have been very careful in exploring the scenographic qualities of the bar and have done this through the use of warping timber, mirrors and that unique ceiling design. By doing this they have been able to achieve a somewhat endless space within a small hole in the wall; which challenges the notion of compact European design and in particular Barcelona which has small sized city blocks to operate within and usually presents many design challenges.
The menu mimics the design and vice versa which always creates an interesting concept when two creative entities communicate directly with each other. The pa amb tomàquet is the hero and is served in a contemporary manner. This is a strong and consistent theme as it was a request of the owner that Bar Nou would be architected in such a way that it combined contemporary design with traditional approaches.
Honouring the old in a new way is what makes this project particularly exciting. How the pa amb tomàquet is prepared in itself is more like an act of ritual, as it’s done at what is best described as a dj-booth-looking-alter placed within the core of the space. An interesting concept which becomes more evident through the overwhelming use of marble which is most widely used in churches within Spain.
The furnishings are modern and sleek with hints of traditional Spanish domestic tradition. The lighting is purposeful and well thought out, from the down lighting over each table to the vibrant neon pictographs on the front façade which depict pictures of wineglasses, a carafe, a tomato, a loaf of bread and so cleverly draws the eyes of passers-by.
‘We eat with our eyes’, a concept that Bar Nou and the design team from Maio have now forced us to consider in a whole new light. - David Mousa.
Glasgow-born, Berlin-based architect and designer Leigh Sachwitz’s Studio for Design flora&faunavisions GmbH has created a mesmerizing interactive experience called “Insideout” for the Triennale der Photographie in Hamburg.
The Triennale has occurred every three years since 1999 and this year’s event is held from June 18 to June 28.
Leigh Sachwitz’s installation is both chilling and soothing at the same time. It is a 360° multimedia installation that explores the house as a sanctuary and as a safe haven from nature’s many forces.
Inside the greenhouse-like illuminated installation, the viewer, or more specifically the participant, experiences nature’s many forces by hearing the rain and watching the dark clouds gather above, and when the protective walls disappear, the participant will feel exposed and vulnerable in the eye of the storm. But then, once the storm has passed, there is a feeling of purity and freshness, and an overall sense of calm envelopes the participant.
The visual installation is accompanied by sound design by the Berlin-based award-winning composer, musician and producer Andi Toma, one of the founding members of the electronic music collaboration Mouse on Mars. - Tuija Seipell.
Synonymous with classical beauty and timeless style, marble has been the epitome of luxurious sophistication for millennia. Reinventing this ancient material for the modern lifestyle, the world’s first real marble smartphone case.
Available in Black Marquina or White Carrara, and featuring a slice of marble as thin as a credit card, the CLIC Marble iPhone case offers the perfect balance between elegance, strength and durability.
At some point in time within the space of your existence you’ve imagined escaping, not to any place in particular, just merely escaping from everything you know. Winding down the windows and setting yourself loose with reckless abandonment. It’s that moment where the thrill of the moment far outweighs the thought of the final destination, a feeling that’s so unnatural within the day to day psyche
Commissioned by The Cool Hunter, this stunning and unique photo by LA based photographer Jared Chambers is reminiscent of that exact feeling. Art is intended to evoke an emotion and this piece does exactly that sitting on your wall reminding you to take a walk on the wild side every now and again.
Limited Edition of 50 - Purchase here
This time, we are fascinated by the classy drama she’s created in the Le Roy nightclub and ball room/party space located on the second floor at the König corner (the corner named after the well-established, storied restaurant König) in Helsinki.
Much of the corner in downtown Helsinki’s main restaurant area has been under renovation and several restaurants have now re-opened. Among them is not just the second-floor Le Roy but also Michel downstairs, also designed by Laajisto and owned by the Center-Inn group that operates over a dozen restaurants in Helsinki.
Le Roy opened just in time for the serious party-time kick-off of First of May this year. Laajisto has retained the character of the original building, designed in 1982 by architect Karl August Wrede. Wrede was the architect of the entire passage located between the North Esplanade and Aleksanterinkatu streets and known as the Old Trade Passage, and in more recent years as the “Granny Tunnel” referring to the ladies of certain age spending time sipping bubbly in the many restaurants.
Laajisto has allowed the large windows of the building to dictate much of the feel of the space. There is more natural light than in a typical night club and her lighting choices add to the dramatic play of dark and light.
The dark wood flooring, wood paneling, dark-hued furnishings and original fittings, such as mirrors and sconces, are beautifully enhanced by the natural light with the overall effect suggesting a space that has known many stories and parties in the past of the capital city.
Laajisto selected the additional lighting from the collections of the Swedish Rubn and London-based (and Germany and Sweden manufactured) Atelier Areti. Some lighting fixtures were custom-created for Le Roy.
What kind of society would we live in if architecture and design were merely just jobs instead of expressive art forms that articulated the beliefs and values of people, organizations and cultures? This is an age old question which faces designers every single day.
In conjunction with Australian health care provider Medibank, a creative collaboration of designers set out to express the values of health and wellbeing established by the company and in doing so have done far more than just their jobs.
Perhaps to the average person it’s a very cool set of stairs yet when you consider it from a design point of view it’s a successful and impressive feat of creativity.
Traditionally we place so much emphasis on the places and spaces we are going to and we forget to acknowledge the importance of the transitional points which get us there.
In this particular case the stairs are the focal point and they certainly don’t disappoint. They are not as much as a distraction to the eye yet more of a piece of art the eye can’t stop looking at. They are levels upon levels of curvilinear vibrancy, acting in an abstract way to shape the boundary of a light filled void space which sets the scene for this beautiful building.
They truly serve an important purpose.
Located in Melbourne’s Docklands, Medibank Place is a statement piece promoting the companies beliefs of ‘better health for everyone’, from customers to the people who come to work there every day.
The design of the new workplace was a further extension of a major cultural change from Medibank who have taken a particular focus on preventative health and wellbeing.
The aspiration of Medibank is to create one of the healthiest workplaces in the world. With this in mind the design teams of Chris Connell Design, Kerry Phelan Design Office, Russell and George and HASSELL Architects collectively set out to make this vision a reality.
It’s a workplace which is emphatic of movement, flexibility, freedom, creativity, interaction and engagement; all points which we associate with positive physical and mental health. It’s amazing to think the endless possibilities good design can have and in this case it now sets the benchmark for healthier workplaces and hopefully in turn a healthier society.
The buildings form has been established so that employees are able to roam freely and work in any of the 26 different work settings at their disposal. These spaces range from indoor quiet zones and collaborative hubs to wifi-enabled balconies and the buildings public park.
The stairs act as the heart of this operation and are a key piece of design in achieving successful movement from zone to zone. The intention behind this being that staff feel both empowered whilst encouraged to move around during the day which is crucial to staying healthy.
In essence these stairs are Medibank ‘walking the talk’ when it comes to promoting better health and equally important are an example of careful, considerate and socially conscious design. On any given day they can take you on a new and unique journey to being a better person and this is what good design is all about; changing lives and inspiring minds. - David Mousa. (Photography Earl Carter)