Senator supports sustainability through design: Liminal Spaces designs a workspace for an Australian Senator that takes cues from the political terrain

As a member of the Australian Federal Parliament, Senator Lisa Singh’s work environment is more than just a generic office. It is where the community prevails and the views of Australians matter. Liminal Spaces’ design approach considered the principles at the heart of the Australian Labor Party movement.

Inspiration was taken from former Prime Minister Ben Chiefly’s 1949 speech that introduced the ‘Light on the Hill’ phrase, viewed as the crux of Labor’s philosophy. In response, the interiors reflect the political client with splashes of red representing the colour of the Senate while references to ‘The Light on the Hill’ infiltrate the office through the way glass is segmented and the laddered joinery climbs.

Light is maximised at higher levels, leaving the lower glazed levels obscured and stepped. The carpet maps a bird’s eye view of the hill’s contours. The pinnacle is highlighted by red referring to the point of arrival and the Senate colour. This together with other earthy colours generates connectivity, association and a representative working environment. The fitout is a showcase of Tasmanian design, craftsmanship and together with its community focus is an exemplar of social sustainability. Many environmentally sustainable measures are incorporated and importantly the new workspace displays how new life in recycled buildings can be generated.

The existing ceiling slab and services were exposed and painted. Dropped ceilings were used only where required and angled to maximise the natural light in from the existing external highlight windows. Airconditioning was replaced with passive ventilation and only heating installed. The existing awning windows were repaired so that all are now operable.

Furniture was mostly recycled or otherwise sourced from Australian designers and suppliers. Ideas-based design that manipulates space, incorporates sustainable principles and considered visuals has delivered an engaging, dynamic and meaningful workplace environment.

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