The benefits of art in your office design


The art hang continues inside the pavilions so each doubles as a meeting room and gallery for entertaining clients. Here, Callum Morton’s Pie Eyed (2000) portraits watch over proceedings. Sightlines through the space are preserved with the use of transparent and translucent layers. Interiors: Chenchow Little. Image: Aimee Crouch.

When Bresic Whitney decided to use art as the focal point of their office design, they never would have guessed the benefits they would reap. In part two of this article (read part 1 here), their architect Tony Chenchow explains his approach to their office design.

For Tony Chenchow, the brief and the warehouse space provided an ideal canvas for their analytical approach to design. “First of all, we asked what is the role of a real estate agent in the age of electronic media, when you don’t really need a shopfront? Secondly, we have a client in Shannan who is well known for his contemporary art collection and therefore the imperative was to combine a gallery space into his agency. The third factor was that we wanted to capture the essence of Bresic Whitney being the epitome of an inner-city agency. By looking at those situations that don’t normally come together, we were able to think about the work space in a totally different way,” he explains.

The space had the considerable benefits of excellent proportions and natural light on all sides. He proposed keeping the interiors as raw as possible, preserving its concrete beams and ceilings and exposed services, then adding layers of sophistication. Urban design principles order the space. A series of independent pavilions – ‘the buildings’ – are placed in a grid formation to function as both meeting rooms and art pods. Concrete floors become ‘the streets’ while a series of pergolas link spaces that house workstations and provide a canopy for trailing greenery that brings nature in to soften the industrial edges.

“We wanted an open work space where people had the freedom to walk wherever they wanted… a space that would be quite liberating and very fresh… one that is conducive to communicating, brainstorming and collaborating” says Tony.

From every angle, artworks add an element of surprise. “We have created some really interesting areas and platforms to view art that are most unusual and unconventional, especially for large scale works of 3m and 4m,” says Shannan. The space is finished with translucent and transparent layers so you can look across the space and through the objects to discern the art. “We wanted it to be seamless between where the art gallery starts and ends and where the real estate office starts and ends,” adds Tony.

Both the office design and art collection are a bold statement for a boutique agency. “It is a big investment for a small business but I think it is a worthwhile and well-considered investment in the Bresic Whitney brand as well as in attracting the right people and retaining them”. This is a business that is not afraid to challenge the conventions of the real estate industry. “We’ve always tried to walk a different path to other industry leaders and it’s a path that we feel is true to us,” concludes Shannan.


Bresic Whitney:

Chenchow Little:

Images: Courtesy of Bresic Whitney.

Content production: Freya Lombardo