In Sydney’s Botany neighbourhood, Daniel Boddam Studio have designed a bespoke new workspace for landscape design practice Wyer & Co. that celebrates their mutual kinship with nature.
When Wyer & Co. founding director Anthony Wyer commissioned architect, interior designer, furniture designer and long-time friend Daniel Boddam to transform his Sydney warehouse into a ‘workplace sanctuary’, it was a collaboration in need of no seeding. Having both learnt some time ago of the other’s affinity with the natural world, a longstanding partnership grew organically. This project marks a special milestone in Anthony and Daniel’s partnership, being the permanent creative hub of Wyer & Co. for the foreseeable future.
Both teams’ sustainable and environmental ethos can be seen, felt and touched in the new workspace, with locally-crafted materials and furnishings lending to a genuine sense of repose – similar to that which one experiences in nature. At its core, this was an opportunity to observe nature in an industrial setting and reshape the way the Wyer & Co. team work to better suit their principles and philosophies.
We first caught up with Anthony to chat about this exciting collaboration, specifically how it enriches the ‘9-to-5’ of each employee on-site and fosters an environment of creatively working together and inspiration. Next, we heard from Daniel, who imparted some of the stories and reasonings behind the reimagined warehouse space, specifically how it is designed to be conducive to nature and the Wyer & Co. team.
How is your new workspace a reflection of Wyer & Co. and the work that you do?
Anthony Wyer: Our work and the way we approach each project is design-oriented, considered, and intricately linked to nature. It was important to me that our workspace directly reflected this. The Wyer & Co. HQ seamlessly integrates outdoor and internal spaces with a sense of balance, beauty, and practicality.
What do you love most about the workspace’s locale, the Botany neighbourhood?
Anthony Wyer: Botany is a unique mix of commercial and industrial spaces, charming residential pockets and surprising green corridors. While the location was important, I was drawn to the character of the building and the opportunities that it presented, especially the potential to establish a beautiful garden.
How does the space inspire you?
Anthony Wyer: The sense of calm and openness; coming in every day to a work environment that is generous, free and activated is such a valuable experience when creativity is at the forefront of what you do.
Our practice thrives on a love of design and nature. As a long-time collaborator and friend, Dan understood our company’s needs and our design language. Working in an environment with a distinct and purposeful relationship to nature supports our ethos and encourages the team and I to do our best work.
Where do you gravitate to in the workspace?
Anthony Wyer: I find myself drawn to the communal spaces, the calming muted tones and textures of the break-out rooms, and the sun-filled and robust-feeling kitchen. The gathering spaces allow the team to work together and be inspired by one another while affording time to stop and chat.
Do you have a favourite design detail or feature?
Anthony Wyer: I love the phoenix roebelenii [a type of tree] residing in the foyer. It is such an amazing specimen and was perfect for that space; it brings the outside in and creates a soft umbrella-like effect in the foyer and meeting areas.
How would you describe this partnership?
Daniel Boddam: Having worked with Wyer & Co. for many years on residential projects, our brief for this workspace was to design a collaborative, creative hub – a place that would feel natural, calm and welcoming. We both share an affinity for nature. With this at our core, we could create a sanctuary, as opposed to just a workspace, with verdant landscaping, natural light, sustainable materials and locally designed and crafted furniture. It’s a celebration of simplicity and nature and a direct reflection of Wyer & Co. and our studio.
Could you please name and briefly explain the key sustainable initiatives you have integrated into the design?
Daniel Boddam: Where possible, we specified Australian-made to support our local designers and makers and reduce the carbon footprint from international transportation. Materials and finishes like the salvaged slabs of Elmwood in the central meeting room, the FSC-rated Tasmanian Oak used for all the internal doors, and the cork wall panelling (renewable, biodegradable and sound-absorbent) used in the breakout spaces and Anthony’s private office. We also fitted solar cells to the roof, reducing operational energy requirements.
Which design detail or feature tells the story of Wyer & Co. best?
Daniel Boddam: Anthony’s office was purposefully centrally located between the main meeting room and the open-plan work area; this was essential given Anthony’s desire for an “open-door policy”; we also designed a lounge area in his office to allow for informal meetings.
In addition, the main conference room has two custom pieces of furniture I enjoyed designing and producing. The large central meeting table is an interpretation of my Geo Collection, with rammed concrete legs forming a durable and classic structure. The tabletop was made in Victoria by Hugh Makin from three salvaged slabs of Elmwood sourced from a redundant timber mill. Yakisugi, a traditional Japanese charring technique, was implemented in combination with butterfly timber and cast brass joints. I also love the custom cabinet featuring the most beautiful cork inlay to its façade – not only a beautiful reference to nature but also ideal for pinning up client presentations.