Designer Todd Hammond of Sydney based Hammond Studio says that he finds clients increasingly coming to him because of his use of timber in design. When talking timber with clients, Hammond starts with tone and character, breaking the choice down into the spectrum from light to dark: “The darks: people can sometimes see them in a conservative way; lighter oaks may be considered more contemporary, but I find that cherry sits perfectly in the middle”. This was the approach he took when engaged by mining company Yancoal, to design their 1800 msq. new office space in the Harry Seidler designed Darling Park Towers in Sydney.
The company, previously based in a more traditional setting in 363 George Street, were looking for a more productive use of their workspace. Like many other companies their aim was to put staff wellbeing at the heart of the design. Hammond firstly questioned the old cellular office structure and encouraged his client to locate the enclosed offices near the core of the building. He then looked to maximise the experience of the environment the staff who were not in offices by positioning the main shared workspace towards the outside edge to maximise natural light and views of the harbour.
A very engaged and open client certainly aided the process according to Hammond. Alignment on the wish to showcase natural materials and timber led to not only a unique natural stone floor, exhibiting highly fossilized pieces throughout, but also extensive use of American cherry solid timber and veneers.
In his career, working for architectural powerhouses including Woods Bagot and BVN Donavan Hill, Hammond has become something of an expert in American cherry. Having previously specified cherry in a number of high profile Sydney projects including the award winning Paramount by The Office Space and Herbert Smith Freehill’s offices, he was well aware of the opportunities and limitations of this particular species. “My system is that if you’re going to use cherry wood then you don’t try and match it with other timber” he says. With this in mind the Yancoal project has cherry throughout to create a seamless, calming effect. Cherry veneer WoodWall from the Elton Group covers expanses of curved wall whilst solid American cherry joinery visually links with the edging on the Hammond designed workstations. The workstation system was put into production by Seehosu and, like the rest of the office, the sit-stand design puts employee comfort at the fore. The end result is a light, warm, energising space.
The benefits of using natural materials in the workspace to enhance employee experience, wellbeing and productivity are increasingly proven and this is just one reason why we can expect to see much more of Hammond and his team.