Entire Sydney office fitted out with recycled materials and furniture wins sustainability award
Recycling is a subject close to Steve Urwin’s heart, head and the whole world around him.
For as part of his mission to champion the cause of sustainability, he created his own business office by recycling industrial space and then fitting it out using completely recycled and abandoned materials and furniture.
“But it doesn’t look like it at all!” said Mr Urwin, director of commercial tenancy consultants Kernel Property, who has just won the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors’ National Sustainable Project Award for the premises.
“We had a vision to create an inspiring new workspace that reflected out core values – always looking to recycle and reuse – as well as our skills and expertise. Our office has been carved out of this ‘lost space’ and transformed into a fully functioning workplace.”
The office space was previously an old generator room in the Sydney office building.
The premises, a previously unused diesel generator room, have indeed become a spectacular showcase for the virtues of salvaging both cast-off plant room space that might otherwise languish, and materials that would have ended up in landfill.
It’s a stunning 200 square-metre area high up on level 17 of Sydney’s 1 O’Connell Street: light, airy, with views over to the Harbour Bridge and Circular Quay one way, and glass looking into the rest of the plant the other, and absolutely chockful of character.
With raw concrete, full walls of glass and high ceilings still with the original pipework and ducting, every piece of furniture inside has a story and a history, and the company’s aim is to provide it all with a much longer life.
The plant room’s former service balcony, without a balustrade, for example, has been transformed into a usable terrace, with recycled timber decking from the home of one of the company’s directors. That has served to open up the repurposed room and means that fresh air can mostly replace air conditioning.
Meanwhile, the plumbing of the old hazmat shower from an old battery room has been turned into two unisex bathrooms and glazing from a client’s former workplace has been reused to create Kernel’s boardroom. At the same time, joinery from a former library has gone into creating the kitchen and some of the light fittings, the meeting room table has come from law firm Allen’s’ Melbourne offices and basins in the bathroom from independent investment bank Gresham Partners.