Interview #43 Gavin Harris

Text: The Andrews Group
Interview: Gavin Harris
Case: Reece by Futurespace

All around the world, architects and designers are using BAUX Acoustic Tiles and Panels in exciting projects for great brands. In a series of newsletters, we aim to introduce you to a selection of projects and the mind masters behind the designs of these acoustic artworks. Why? Because there are endless design possibilities to share with the world. We simply will call these newsletters Interviews #.

Could you tell us a little about this project? What was the client brief? 

The project is called ‘The Works’; it’s a culture hub, a support hub for Reece and all its network branches. We designed and created over seven levels; there are two floors, which are client and partner floors – ground and Level 1 – connected by a curved, sculptural stair. These are all spaces to come together, collaborate, and illustrate Reece’s position as an industry leader. There is innovation tech, the latest bathroom fixtures on display, and an education/training area that opens to the cafe desks.

Then there are the working floors connected by another stair, a mix of work, campfire zones, small and large meetings, and training rooms – all those agile spaces that support. The ratios have changed slightly since COVID-19, so we had to redesign them. However, the settings we had in place were proper regarding better social connections.

Their original HQ in Burwood was one very “siloed” building, so we had to work against that. Hence, the stair that circulates and connects people. It has a curved landing to encourage visual connection, and when walking on the stairs, you turn to look over the floor and team.

People are still working from home, so it’s important that every time you have a chance to be in the presence of colleagues, it increases the opportunities to talk, learn, and catch up. The physical design is very much about enhancing people coming together.

What key decision factors first led you to choose BAUX products for the space?

The building that Reece moved into is an old Rosella factory. All but the façade was demolished, and a new 7- 7-story building came up from the centre.

It’s pretty industrial, paying homage to the old warehouse – exposed soffits of raw steel, and we wanted a texture that played against that and gave it a softness.

We’ve used BAUX panelling in meeting, quiet, and wellness rooms. We experimented in different ways and with shapes, celebrating the strength of colour. Colour was a big part of The Work’s fit-out. The BAUX blue is beautiful and sits within the Reece brand as well.

How has the experience met your expectations? What are the reasons you are happy with BAUX acoustic panels?

We’re very happy with BAUX because it meets our expectations. We loved the accuracy of the panels; when we worked on the curved walls in the training rooms – faceted by using pieces – the junctions and joins were very accurate. Even though it’s an industrial feel, we needed the accuracy, refinement, and attention to detail that the BAUX team brought.

Acoustically, the rooms are great; the acoustician signed off on it in the decision-making stage, and the results are there.

What is the importance of a well-designed acoustic environment for this project?

Acoustics played a vital role in this space. On a typical floor, we have workstations, quiet rooms, phone booths, and a myriad of spaces that are all close together (we need to utilise space as much as we can). We need them, too. Could you perform to their promise when wespace? And they do. I think that’s what’s important about the product and how it’s installed. We installed it at the end of the project in a short period, and it looked after itself.

Schiavello did the fit-out, and Prima did the joinery. There was never any negative feedback. The job was just done well, with everything running smoothly.

What would the dream BAUX project look like?

I think it would be interesting to use the product holistically, to see it moving through space and structures – using it everywhere, and we can use it everywhere.

Bringing it into the workspace in division screens, a vast, curved panel would be excellent. It has texture front and back, so it would be interesting to see what it’s like as a product that sits in the open. That could be interesting: a beautiful frame that lets it float off the ground; perhaps it can move.

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