DesignInc Sydney Studio

Entry way and waiting area at DesignInc Sydney's new studio at 126 Phillip Street.

Our new home at Level 12, 126 Phillip Street marks the next step in DesignInc Sydney’s evolution—a story of house-proudness and Country-inspired stewardship. The project unfolded as an opportunity to redefine our workspace: a new, low carbon home for over 100 staff in the heart of Sydney’s CBD.

Beyond meeting functional requirements, our aim was to create an environment that not only supports our practice, but is the embodiment of our core values. The design journey is a showcase of our dedication to Designing from Country, harmonising principles of flexibility, communal interaction, craftsmanship, and a warm sense of togetherness.

Gadigal Country
Sydney, New South Wales
Nguluway DesignInc, DLG Shape
Project Contact
Nathan Humphries
Luc Remond
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DesignInc Sydney from across the lobby
DesignInc Sydney from across the lobby open space

Country-inspired collaboration spaces

The ‘Brackish Space’ concept, led by Nguluway DesignInc, is inspired by the flow of sweet and salt water—and shapes our workplace as a nexus for connection, exchange, and serendipity. Placing ‘people space’ at the forefront, the design is rooted in spatial diversity, accommodating various interactions through thoughtful organisation and inclusivity. At the heart of our design lies a conscious partnership with DLG Shape—an indigenous business certified by Supply Nation, embodying our commitment to our Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) and First Nations support.

Workplaces are diverse in nature because of the people that use them and by the way they are used. Over the course of a single day, our workplaces will need to support a range of different interactions. Accommodating these interactions requires a variety of flexible spaces and settings.

A large communal kitchen, visible from the entrance, serves as a showcase to the building and visitors. Abundant greenery and modular forms enrich the space, providing a harmonious blend of functionality and aesthetics. Varied workspaces, both introverted and extroverted, promote inclusivity and diverse interactions, fostering a sense of belonging and pride.

We’ve created a new home to showcase our practice to our clients, our collaborators and other tenants in the building. The design has a transparency and openness, intentionally focused around our communal space, providing a social heart and point of connection.

Nathan Humphries
Principal, DesignInc Sydney

Decarbonising our workplace

A great home is a green one—proudly, the fitout achieved a low carbon output.

The building sector in Australia is responsible for one-fifth of all emissions nationally—placing an increased emphasis on the delivery of net-zero buildings to tackle the climate emergency. The significance of this is more prominent as Australia’s building stock is estimated to double by 2050 based on the 2019 level.

DesignInc’s approach was led by a lifecycle analysis report that detailed strategies for decarbonisation. While the average office fitout equates to approximately 1,800kg of CO2 per square metre, our fitout resulted in an estimated 17kg of CO2 emissions per square metre. This low-carbon solution is attributed mainly to the adaptive reuse of existing assets, including the office’s structural composition and layout, combined with the specification of low-carbon materials. 

Approximately 85% of the existing fitout and furniture has been repurposed, reflecting our dedication to minimising environmental impacts. Extensive planting and indoor landscaping contribute to a healthier indoor environment, complemented by the selection of a 5-star Green Star rated building. Modular forms and joinery can be disassembled at their end of life, able to be recycled and reused for the next tenancy or project.

This was a great opportunity to practice what we preach in terms of sustainable design principles, whilst testing our new tools for measuring embodied carbon.

Paul Wallace
Principal, DesignInc Sydney

Designing a new way of working

We successfully transitioned our staff to new technologies and work dynamics, engaging our team of designers and architects in a collaborative process that required deft stakeholder management. Surveys, working groups, and transparent communication became the linchpin of a change management strategy, ensuring alignment with our team members and stakeholders alike.

Audrey Weathered

Audrey Weathered

Senior Interior Designer, Sydney

Asa Zhong

Asa Zhong

Interior Designer, Sydney

Emma Ong

Emma Ong

Project Designer, Sydney