The Porter

  • 2016

  • Architectural
    Interior

Designed By:

  • Gensler

Commissioned By:

Haworth

Lend Lease

Designed In:

Australia

The Porter, located at 1 O’Connell Street, Sydney, offers an inspiring destination outside of the traditional office, to engage with business colleagues, clients and friends. The unique space and multipurpose facility promotes collaboration and community. This design model reflects the current cultural shift in how people work.


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  • CHALLENGE
  • SOLUTION
  • IMPACT
  • MORE
  • The membership take-up and user surveys confirmed a resounding success in meeting the intended needs of those for whom The Porter was designed. This was a user-based and co-creative process. The Porter offers an experience that inspires innovation and challenges traditional ways of working for tenants and guests of 1 O'Connell. The Porter is a destination outside of the traditional four walls of the office to engage with business colleagues and friends, 'it feels exclusive and sophisticated, and yet simultaneously welcoming and relaxed.' Separated into a series of areas, the flexible design has the ability to respond to the needs of the guests while complementing the architecture of the building and precinct.

  • The Porter was designed to be a collaborative, bespoke and highly curated space for tenants and guests of 1 O'Connell. The levels and variety of usage support and validate the initial design brief based on market research carried out when the business case was built. The variety of meeting spaces ensures that tenants of all sizes and industries can benefit, navigate and use The Porter. Spaces include; The Studio, Atelier, Library, Lounge(s) and VC rooms. The Porter represents a multipurpose facility with the ability to support vertical community events that connect the tenants and the precinct. The inherent degree of flexibility has facilitated experiences beyond those foreseen in the original concept.

  • Health and safety concerns were integrated in the design brief creating an experience of wellbeing. Safety features became design elements, i.e. tactiles on the steps are also a bespoke design. The Porter encapsulated the organic spaces design process to ensure best practice of sustainability, based on a cycle of Create, Evolve and Sustain. In every way possible, materials have been recycled, manufactured in 0 landfill facilities and future-proofed by designing a second life in addition to the relevance of the initial application. Furniture and finishes can be re used, partitioning walls are created of recycled workstation frames and the power is on a timer ensuring that it powers off outside hours of operation

  • The industry response to the build quality of The Porter has been resounding accolades. Attention to detail and finish quality were not compromised even when project value engineering was required. The real value has been demonstrated by the lack of wear and tear after 2 years of solid use. Careful consideration to brand alignment between the character of the space and those who use it is manifest in the materials and construction. The success of this alignment is demonstrated every day by the members, traffic and usage of The Porter. The look and feel as well as the resilience of the materials has worked very effectively. Such design elements include the exposed ceiling, wooden floors & bespoke carpet.

    The commercial success of The Porter can be measured in the value that the space has added to the 1 O'Connell asset. The refurbishment, aimed at repositioning 1 O'Connell as a premium building, maximising occupancy and welcoming a diverse range of blue chip tenants. The building climbed to 97 percent occupancy from a low of 14 percent. Amenities such as The Porter, add value to buildings and their financial success, however, The Porter changed the paradigm of what a building amenity can and should be. Its classic design and flexibility reduces the requirement for tenants to build their own meeting spaces and in turn minimises their lettable area within the building, thus reducing their rental payable.

    Designer by Gensler, The Porter represents cutting edge innovation. When launched, the inclusion of a space within a commercial office building had not been completed on such a grand scale, and the usage of the space as a sophisticated lounge had not been seen in any other Premium grade CBD office building. For Haworth, Lendlease, the tenants and members of The Porter, the customer experience is a world first, in terms of how a building can create an overall brand experience and destination. The innovative use of flexible furniture, state of the art technology and the inclusion of hospitality aspects allows the space to easily adapt to the different requirements of users.

    Through its design and servicing restaurant, The Porter encourages social interaction and collaboration, facilitating a vertical community. The flexible and technology driven characteristics, combined with the first class hospitality and customer services, encourages both building tenants and other members and guests of the community to interact, reflecting a cultural shift in how people work. The social return on investment has been vast. Driven by; The Porter being able to be used for alterative usages such as yoga classes, company cocktail parties and interesting public debates, by creating a vertical community within an office building and by providing an inspiring space that encourages innovative thinking.