As a 20 year old living at home with my parents I find it quite difficult to completely understand the idea of love. I think I’m starting to realise that love is quite a ‘grown up’ thing, like taxes or bank loans, and requires a lot of responsibility and insightful thinking, and this is not something I have come across yet. Yes, I love my family, but in the broader sense I am really inexperienced in the business of love.
This is why I found the future thinking of love so difficult, as how can I look or imagine the future of something that I do not currently understand? With this challenge I’ve taken a step back from Love, or perhaps just given Love a new name. Instead I began looking at relationships, between people and their surroundings, looking at how our interactions influence how we live, and how they have changed over time.
50 Martin Place is the new head office of the Macquarie Group. The iconic building, for years home to Commonwealth Bank of Australia was built in 1928 and demonstrates the great level on detail and refinement of the Beaux-Arts Revival style. Macquarie Group is recognised internationally for its contemporary attitude towards the workplace, and desire to switch common attitudes of banks from “Fortress-like” to “transparent” (Maher, 2015). To achieve this the building was renovated with the interaction of people in the space at the utmost centre of their design, as this ultimately will provide a new and reinterpreted view of banking.
The building is completely open plan, stimulating the communication and interaction within employees. No one owns a specific desk, but instead chooses one upon arrival at the start of the day. This creates a dynamic and ever changing work environment, creating a team dynamic, rather than focusing on the individual. To further enhance this all 9 floors are connected by a large atrium, which opens all floors out to each other. Within it a Nikki de Saint Phalle artwork inhibits the space. Known for her engaging, bright and feminine sculptors, the work creates a positive and inclusive environment.
Large open staircases sit on the edge of the atrium, and stimulate the flow of people through the floors, propagating conversations with colleagues as they move around the office.
The building is something I found when talking to my mother, an architect with great interest in these new styles of workspaces. She was intrigued and excited by this building. Open plan workspaces are a relatively new thing, and occur far more in creative industries. The idea of a bank using one was quite exiting. Especially the extent to which they have embraced the philosophy; only the CEO has an office, and has glass walls on all 4 sides, and all employees have a view of it from their own space. As she sees it, this type of space really enforces a strong cohesion within a company. The intimacy and lack of privacy it created really instils a sense of importance on the individual, and they all become an essential part of the company.
This really intrigues me in how a commercial space was designed purely around how it will shape human interactions and relationships. Looking into the future I think this design thinking will become far more relevant, and I’m interested to see the extent to which the way we interact can determine a space. Both in larger public space and in the home, this, I believe will change dramatically in the future.
Maher, K. 2015, Jewel in the Crown: 50 Martin Place, viewed 1/9/16, < http://architectureau.com/articles/50-martin-place/#img=10>
Sydney Living Museum, 2015, 50 Martin Place, https://youtu.be/5EY5Gm02GaE, viewed 22/8/16
Brookfield Multiplex, 2014, Projects, viewed 22/8/16, <www.brookfieldmultiplex.com/projects/50-martin-place-sydney-nsw-auatralasia/>
Architecture and Design, 2015, Round Glass Lifts Help Modernise, viewed 30/8/16, www.architectureanddesign.com/news/the-modernisation-of-48-50-martin-place-sydney-mac