Knight Frank Placemaking

Merit Award 2017

International property consultancy Knight Frank recently moved into a newly designed Australian head office in the heart of Sydney’s central business district. The interior—completed by Geyer Sydney— was designed to provide a contemporary agile working space that embodied “the underlying sophistication of a well-established, professional company whilst exuding a dynamic energy, generated from their entrepreneurial and innovative spirit.”

Central to the new space was a client-facing reception lounge, designed to provide a diverse range of facilities for the Knight Frank staff and guests to engage, collaborate and connect with. At the heart of this lounge was an “Innovation Zone,” an open workshop space where clients and staff alike were encouraged to challenge conventional thinking and come up with new ways to problem solve and drive their business. As a backdrop to this new area, the brief to the THERE design team was to create an installation that would prompt innovation, while creating a distinct sense of place aligned to the firm’s global brand values.

The idea of “Constant Innovation” is a philosophy that helps define the Knight Frank company worldwide, and as such became a key driver in shaping the design of the “Innovation Zone” placemaking feature. Taking the idea of progression and evolution, a super-sized sculptural wall was designed by the THERE team that, while static, conveyed the idea of “constant change.” Discounting digital integration in favor of a permanent structural installation, a design was developed that would withstand the test of time and integrate harmoniously into the new workplace aesthetic.

The forms of the wall begin at the elevator lobby as an abstracted version of the company’s geometric logo, but as they undulate across the wall surface, the fins seemingly move and shift to create a dramatic sense of activation and movement to the area. The cladding, made up of individual acrylic sections, was kept monochromatic to take advantage of the natural light flooding in through adjacent windows, creating striking shadow-play that further gives the wall a sense of transition throughout the day. The geometry of this wall then set up a strong graphic language for the rest of the office space, with the motif rolled out to privacy screening for glazing and locker graphics to their back-of-house facilities.

The final piece of the project was to extend the reception experience down into the elevator lobby, creating a seamless journey as visitors stepped out on to the floor. Branding and level identification signage were created out of materials from the architectural build and the line work of the feature wall was engraved into a timber wall cladding to create a subtle extension of the main workshop space. The cladding was then further enhanced by a series of smaller fins—in keeping with the main feature wall—but this time used as a framework for printed graphics. 

By placing interpretive panels in that same area the THERE team ensured guests could read the narratives when waiting for the elevator—completing their experience of the space by demonstrating knowledge sharing throughout the whole journey. The content for the panels was a series of curated stories taken from Knight Frank’s rich and fascinating global history, dating back to the 1800s.

Jury Comments: 

"I appreciate how this system works on very different scales—from the large sculptural wall to the subtle timeline display to the dimensional typography. All cleanly executed and tightly integrated into the space. Nicely done."

"An abstraction of the identity infused into the architecture in very thoughtful moments. An elegant and seamless installation."

Client: 

Knight Frank

Project Area: 

17,222 sq ft

Open Date: 

September 2015

Photo Credits: 

Steve Brown

Design Team: 

Paul Tabouré (executive creative director), Charlie Bromley (design lead), Jon Zhu (senior designer), Christina Maricic (designer), Justine Lesmana (designer), Lisa Kanani (project manager)

Consultants: 

Geyer Sydney (architecture), Vert Design (industrial design)

Fabricators: 

Spike Design (signage fabrication)

Relevant Links: 

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