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When IDP Education Offices relocated from their current office to a single level 2000-square-metre space, Siren Design (Melbourne) was engaged to design the new workspace. Based on their client’s brief that sought to emphasise diversity in culture and thinking, Siren Design (Melbourne) created a workspace for the future, which also included Ke-Zu office furniture.

Ria Andres, senior designer at Siren Design (Melbourne) shares with KE-ZU on the inspiration, challenges, and design process behind their recently completed project.

Can you tell us a little bit about the client’s brief and your design inspiration and philosophy behind this project?

IDP Education engaged us in the relocation of their office to a single level 2000sqm space. They were then in a building across multiple levels and found this limiting in providing a cohesive team space. The brief was to create a workspace for the future where diversity in culture and thinking is celebrated. These ideas were curated carefully within the space through planning, materiality and signage.

Did you face any challenges with this project, and if yes, how did you overcome the challenges?

The client was highly invested in providing an optimised workspace that values human health and wellbeing. While this is at the centre of Siren’s core values, there is a greater emphasis in ensuring this is achieved as part of our application in the WELL certification program. We had to ensure the materials and furniture selected contain no hazardous materials and that all manufacturers have environmental management systems in place.

Why did you choose to work with KE-ZU on this project?

Working with KE-ZU was an obvious choice for us because there was certainty from the start that most of the brands they support had both sustainability and wellbeing at the heart of their company. Items like the Chat stools dotted around the fitout, the Lottus bar stools used as collaborative stools and the Nido lounge chairs have GECA certification, making their environmental impact transparent for us and the end consumer. Working with KE-ZU on previous projects also gave us peace of mind that the project will be looked after in terms of attention to detail and product warranties that extend well after the project is complete. We are also aware that KE-ZU has a product stewardship program where products can be returned for recycling at the end of product life and this helped support our commitment to the environment.

How did your KE-ZU account manager, Ross help you meet the client’s brief and overcome the challenges you faced with regards to this project?

Ross was fantastic in customising the quotation to include all the environmental certifications on each of the furniture items recommended. The documentation was readily available and where there were specific requirements for the WELL application, Ross was prompt in chasing this up with the manufacturer. For example, the Chantal chairs in the meeting rooms were supplied with GreenGuard certification and further confirmation was provided via Bernhardt Design’s letter of assurance that the product does not contain any mercury, cadmium, antimony or hex chromium. The pandemic situation could’ve pushed the program out but Ross and the KE-ZU team were quick to respond and provided us with options that would not deter from the design intent and client requirements.

How important is it to include Australian-made products in your projects?

It is very important to include Australian-made products for us because we can be sure of its quality and warranties are reliable. It also allows us to have more options for customisation. From an environmental perspective, it helps reduce carbon footprint by having lesser emissions linked to transportation.

If you could set the next trend in furniture or interiors, what would our world look like?

I think there is going to be a bigger push on the two items mentioned above, which are anchor points of this project – (1) sustainability and (2) wellbeing. I think as interior designers and furniture suppliers, a lot of our work is applauded on visuals and rightly so. However, I think it is our responsibility to educate and create spaces that are well thought of in terms of the lifecycle of the project/product and that details and magical moments are made with function in mind.

Huge thanks to Ria for sharing this with us and for trusting KE-ZU to deliver on short lead times of 6 weeks. Working together with KE-ZU’s Melbourne consultant, Ross, they were able to pull off this magnificent feat through constant and open communication whilst utilising the advantages of local manufacturing.

Photography Credit: Shannon McGrath | Ross Zouroudis 

This article originally appeared on Architecture and Design