Microsoft Technology Centre

Tom Mark Henry

Microsoft approached Tom Mark Henry to help them realise their first flagship Technology Centre. The 1,680sqm space is located in the heart of Sydney’s CBD above the iconic GPO building in Martin Place. The multi-use space was to incorporate an experience centre for conferencing, a multipurpose room, an innovation factory for developing new products, and an Exploratorium to showcase these new products to a wide audience including people from different areas of the business, clients and the public alike. The space was also to have a ‘touch down’ staff area where interstate and global team members could work, for short or long periods.

The design references traditional architectural details found within the historic building below. The interplay between old and new encourages a dynamic experience of depth and continual discovery. The iconic Sydney location was key to the brief, with the client requesting a site-specific solution allowing visitors to recognise and appreciate the Microsoft brand within a local context.

Visual cues were taken from the bold and varied natural colour palette of the Australian landscape, explored in each space through a carefully considered and layered material palette. This exploration of the Australian landscape was developed further through experimentation with bold, undulating forms. Local artisans were engaged to create bespoke design elements throughout the space.

The design of the Microsoft Learning Spaces challenges the conventional characteristics of high-tech innovation centres instead creating a warm, naturally inspired environment that encourages all people, both young and old, to innovate and learn. This has been achieved by ensuring all spaces are adaptive, and able to shift and change in response to the unique requirements of their ever evolving guests. On a micro level, each space caters for a specific style of learning and this is enhanced by a rich design vernacular that unifies all areas.

Photography: Damien Bennett.