GroupGSA is an Australian design practice specialising in interiors, architecture, landscape and urban design, with around 200 employees across Australia and Asia. In, 2017, they merged with Artillery, a smaller, Melbourne based interiors practice which focusses on workplace design. The merger resulted in a new business arm – GroupGSA+Artillery, and, the need for a new workspace for a dedicated team of 25 staff in Melbourne’s CBD.
The studio is housed within a 1920s former Red Cross Concert Hall, with old, steel windows that open to allow the breezes in, and offer views through the Plane Trees on Exhibition Street. This enviable old building features parquetry flooring, high ceilings and intricate mouldings; the ideal backdrop for an inspired new fitout!
GroupGSA+Artillery Principal Sonja Duric explains ‘our company culture celebrates the freedom to think differently, promoting a barrier-free attitude to problem-solving’. The design of the studio reflects these ideas, offering flexible, open-plan spaces which encourage collaboration and creativity.
The fit out was designed by the team collaboratively, and hand-built by GroupGSA+artillery designer and furniture maker, Nick Leong. It features movable furniture and A-frame writing boards to nurture great ideas. Large layout benches provide areas for standing collaboration, brainstorming with materials, and opportunities for more fluid client meetings. A meeting room pod (complete with lush vine growing on the roof) can adapt to a standard roundtable meeting, or tables can be flipped and moved away to accommodate more chairs for the company’s regular educational ‘FEASTs’. ‘Our last FEAST was about biophilia, which was fitting under the shadows of the Pothos vines above, and the calming mural painted by Bianca Ioiacono‘ Sonja says.
Artwork is another key feature of the space – in addition to the work by Ioiacono, the stage features a mural by Australian artist, Greg Ades and the fun kitchen is adorned with a mural of gold and green leaves by pop culture street artist, Nani.
Wellnesss and sustainability were key considerations for the new studio, and there was a particular focus on the idea of connecting with nature. Above all, the space is designed to be totally flexible. All the furniture is designed to be packed down and moved to allow for performances in the space, movie nights, or yoga during lunchtime wellness sessions!
Type of Space
Single level, open-plan office
Size of Space
Number of Employees
Melbourne Studio 25 (Group GSA nationally and internationally = 200+)
Completed Renovation In
What kind of atmosphere have you tried to create here, and why?
Wellness, responsibility and sustainability are all ingredients of the new studio, with particular attention paid to the innate need to connect with nature.
A workspace should be…
…uplifting, inspirational, creative, comfortable, socially responsible and encompass healthiness. There should be music, collaboration and areas for concentration. It should give you permission to do all those things without it being hard. It should be alive. It should celebrate craftsmanship, diversity and art.