What kind of society would we live in if architecture and design were merely just jobs instead of expressive art forms that articulated the beliefs and values of people, organizations and cultures? This is an age old question which faces designers every single day.
In conjunction with Australian health care provider Medibank, a creative collaboration of designers set out to express the values of health and wellbeing established by the company and in doing so have done far more than just their jobs.
Perhaps to the average person it’s a very cool set of stairs yet when you consider it from a design point of view it’s a successful and impressive feat of creativity.
Traditionally we place so much emphasis on the places and spaces we are going to and we forget to acknowledge the importance of the transitional points which get us there.
In this particular case the stairs are the focal point and they certainly don’t disappoint. They are not as much as a distraction to the eye yet more of a piece of art the eye can’t stop looking at. They are levels upon levels of curvilinear vibrancy, acting in an abstract way to shape the boundary of a light filled void space which sets the scene for this beautiful building.
They truly serve an important purpose.
Located in Melbourne’s Docklands, Medibank Place is a statement piece promoting the companies beliefs of ‘better health for everyone’, from customers to the people who come to work there every day.
The design of the new workplace was a further extension of a major cultural change from Medibank who have taken a particular focus on preventative health and wellbeing.
The aspiration of Medibank is to create one of the healthiest workplaces in the world. With this in mind the design teams of Chris Connell Design, Kerry Phelan Design Office, Russell and George and HASSELL Architects collectively set out to make this vision a reality.
It’s a workplace which is emphatic of movement, flexibility, freedom, creativity, interaction and engagement; all points which we associate with positive physical and mental health. It’s amazing to think the endless possibilities good design can have and in this case it now sets the benchmark for healthier workplaces and hopefully in turn a healthier society.
The buildings form has been established so that employees are able to roam freely and work in any of the 26 different work settings at their disposal. These spaces range from indoor quiet zones and collaborative hubs to wifi-enabled balconies and the buildings public park.
The stairs act as the heart of this operation and are a key piece of design in achieving successful movement from zone to zone. The intention behind this being that staff feel both empowered whilst encouraged to move around during the day which is crucial to staying healthy.
In essence these stairs are Medibank ‘walking the talk’ when it comes to promoting better health and equally important are an example of careful, considerate and socially conscious design. On any given day they can take you on a new and unique journey to being a better person and this is what good design is all about; changing lives and inspiring minds. – David Mousa. (Photography Earl Carter)