The Porter Davis headquarters has been inspired by some of the most stylish corners of the globe, from Paris to New York and Milan. We spoke to lead designer, Monika Branagan of The Bold Collective.
Interface: Can you tell us a little about the Porter Davis brief?
Monika Branagan, Design Director at The Bold Collective: Porter Davis is a residential construction company and they believe that people’s homes are the ultimate expression of who they are and have developed their World of Style design process and showroom to enable their clients to express themselves through their own home styling and interior design.
They engaged us with a clear brief. The main objectives were to accommodate 300+ staff within one floor-plate at 720 Bourke Street, reflecting their World Of Style design process within the workplace. Previously their staff was widespread across 7 locations throughout Melbourne, so a key objective was to reducing their office space from 7000 to 3000 sqm by heavily auditing the usage of office spaces and desks and transitioning to Activity Based working.
Interface: And what was your process in envisaging the project?
Monika Branagan: The initial stages of the design process included sketch planning and applying the different styles to the most appropriate areas. For example we identified early on that the Porter Davis ‘Resort’ styles of Ubud, Portea Beach House, Tokyo and Malibu would be best suited to the contemplative, quiet areas positioned on the wings of the building and the more visually busy styles such as New York, Milan and French Industrial in the client facing and breakout zones. We then began overlaying suitable finishes and materials to the different areas including designing bespoken graphics for table tops, fabric screens and locker fronts.
Interface: How did Porter Davis’s ‘World of Style’ ultimately influence your approach?
Monika Branagan: The aesthetics for the project reference Porter Davis’s World Of Style model, where clients are invited to participate in a style evaluation to assist in the design of their new home inspired by global destinations. A Berlin home for example, would have classic lines, aged timbers or concrete floor, large white walls, factory style lights and gritty feel to fabric textures. A Fifth Avenue New York home might feature dark timbers, black furniture, stone, luxurious velvet upholstery and chrome and glass highlights. These 60+ styles form the cornerstone of the new Porter Davis workplace.
Interface: So the space is then sectioned into various themes, inspired by certain cities?
Monika Branagan: A New York arrival and reception area greets visitors entering the workplace, including a sleek reception desk with turned timber legs, cut crystal decorative lighting, a recycled timber herringbone strut ceiling and New York loft mullion detailing to the glazed meeting room partitions. Walking further into the space you encounter a French Industrial inspired kitchen / breakout with subway kitchen tiles, open grid ceiling and industrial fixtures and fittings.
The Melbourne area includes local street art, custom printed work tables and screens referencing iconic Melbourne locations and grid city planning. The Resort areas of Bali, Maldives and Portsea are strategically located in quiet areas at the wings of the floor plate and include a suspended swing and large comfortable lounges to encourage contemplation. The London area includes a large Union Jack graphic with a Banksy-inspired stencil to a brick wall partition. Also within the workplace are both Nautical Hamptons and Classic Hamptons areas with navy and white striped fabric booths, rope-wrapped table legs, portholes and decorative oars. These themed areas provide a clever design solution and playful, residential feel to the core objective of providing an activity-based workplace for 300+ employees.
Interface: Porter Davis features Interface’s Human Nature series. Why did you choose to work with this format?
Monika Branagan: We selected the Interface Human Nature Series for the Porter Davis project as this range provided warmth and texture linking the various styles together. We had a variety of the planks in the Human Nature Shale colour throughout with the Kiwi used in the resort area of Ubud and the Slate colouring in the New York areas for a moodier effect. The skinny plank format allowed us to play around with the transitions to create an interesting effect at the junction of the different styles