Rous County Council

As businesses evolve so do the requirements of their workplaces to adapt to change in practice, culture, and social enterprise. When Rous County Council in co-ordination with Barker Architects engaged Matthew to redesign the public face of their Lismore offices in 2017 the requirements of the brief weren’t just physical, they were social.

The existing Public Spaces were carpeted; fluorescent throwbacks to the early eighties nestled within a nineteen sixty’s building framework. Throw in some yellow paint, apricot laminate and random office partitioning and you have an interior calling out for help. Assistance was also required to the Planning as functionally the Public Spaces were also failing to perform.

The primary tasks were to re-design the Lobby (Level 2 Entry) and Reception on Level 4, including their ancillary spaces such as the Elevator, Corridor and Staircase. The brief was to increase Reception’s footprint to accommodate extra staff, disability inclusion and a public/private workstation. In addition to this, Guest Seating, Signage, Way-finding, Lift Access, Security and Privacy (visually and audibly) had to be addressed as well as new Lighting, Electrical, Audio and Fire Services. Level 2 took within it’s envelope two seperate tenants including other public service providers such as NRMA. Rous County Council has three departments under its jurisdiction and adjacent staff offices needed to be accommodated.

Physical Brand Image was a blank canvas. The decision to imbue a Sense-of-Place to the Northern Rivers head office took precedence over adhering to the graphic design palette. Level 4 Reception (located in the core of the building) did not afford the luxury of natural light therefor delicate lighting solutions were created to blend task and ambient requirements. High-quality materials such as recycled timber, wool and porcelain were used in tandem with the lighting to create an earthy, welcoming and atmospheric space; both fresh and cosy. Acoustics were balanced with perforated ceiling panels, textured surface treatments and wool carpet to absorb ambient noise. The Material Palette was carefully chosen to stay consistent as it moved through a building full of old renovations while adhering to Australian Standards with regard to Disability Code requirements. The Rous County Council Narrative was also reinforced with archival photography which Matthew chose, reworked, and curated to imbue a historical narrative, adding depth and diversity to the internal landscape.

The value in a well-considered workplace is more than just the some of its parts. It supports its staff physically and mentally, encourages Best Practice and sends a message to your clients that you care about your position within the landscape and the affect it has on its environment.