24 August 2021
Could there be any better homage to the architect’s studio and home, than a dual win for Smart Design Studio and Alexander &CO., who were both awarded winner of The Work Space at the 2021 INDE.Awards?
A double win for The Work Space: a turn of events new to the INDE.Awards and one that made the highly contested category, presented by Herman Miller, both a big reveal and a revelation.
Every year the category attracts an increasingly high level of entries, making it one of the most popular categories and high stakes for every entrant. In 2021 Smart Design Studio and Alexander &CO. stepped up to share the podium, taking out the top honour with their respective Sydney studios – both of which also happen to be connected to their place of residence.
The joint win was presented to them by Mike Radda, Area Vice President, North Asia and Pacific, Herman Miller and he reflected on the two winning projects. Firstly, Smart Design Studio’s own studio, “A well deserving winner. I appreciate how the team experimented with materials and geometries to create a beautiful place that is inspiring to work, the use of natural materials and sustainability were very impressive. The workplace and the dwelling interior are delicate and finely detailed. Simply beautiful.
And Alexander House by Alexander &CO. “A calming interior palette that I can only imagine is a dream to work and live in. The intent to create a place for both idea incubation and recreation has been incredibly well realised. I respect how the team has questioned the norms of how the workplace, home and family life exist with each other.”
Globally recognised for their commitment to the future of working, Herman Miller remains at the very forefront of the ever-evolving workplace through expert thought leadership and innovative workplace solutions and is the perfect supporter for The Work Space category.
Radda commented on Herman Miller’s partnership with the INDE.Awards saying, “Herman Miller has always had a strong connection with the design community and the workplace. Designers are essential contributors in making our world a better place to live in. Supporting and fostering the community that design and create is essential so that they can continue to create a better world for all of us and the INDE.Awards provide important recognition for good design. The workspace is intertwined with our DNA and it’s why we used research to invent the workstation in the 1960s and we continue to invest and focus on innovation. We do this in partnership with designers as we have the common goal of designing and creating workplace products that improve people’s lives.”
Smart Design Studio resides within an innovative, sustainable and sculptural building. It pushes the envelope in terms of construction, finding a rare balance between structural, and decorative.
From an environmental perspective, the naturally lit and ventilated studio collects its own water and generates its own power to create a carbon neutral building. Meanwhile the strong spirit of the interiors is characterised by existing warehouse elements including sawtooth roofs, delicate trusses, intact brick façades and cranes.
Work is conducted at five long desks. Freestanding joinery units serve as ‘picture frames’ with design sketches and documentation drawings. A materials library, model workshop, canteen and reception complete the working quarters.
Designed by Alexander &CO., Alexander House acts as a forward-thinking design laboratory to support a diversity of uses, while challenging engagement with one another and the environment.
Located within a heritage context and providing a highly flexible, co-working environment, the project champions the local craftspeople and also provides a working space to explore sustainability techniques, carbon sequestration and environmental innovation.
Extensive sustainable innovations include a solar system that supplies 60 to 80 per cent of the daily electrical supply and a solar hot water system with two underground tanks that supply the sanitary and internal water filtration system.
Each project is a deserving winner and both present a design that is sympathetic to place, sustainable and beautifully detailed. Congratulations to Smart Design Studios and Alexander &CO. on your individual wins – two very different work places that are a home away from home!
Photography: Smart Design Studio, Romello Pereira. Alexander &CO., Anson Smart.