2019 Melbourne Design Awards

spaces, objects, visual, graphic, digital & experience design, design champion, best studio & best start-up, plus over 40 specialist categories

accelerate transformation, celebrate courage, growing demand for design

Image Credit : Ben Glezer


Project Overview

A playful interpretation of the optical phenomenon of prisms - designed to give varied visual stimulation at different times of the day.

Project Commissioner


Project Creator

Studio Y


Yaron Kanor, Dana Barely-Katz

Project Brief

Ambience wanted us to create a work space where people wanted to work, one that was as equally captivating and enchanting as it was productive - all while fulfilling their ethos of ‘Making light work’.

Our concept was based on optical prisms, which can break light into its constituent spectral colours. We captured this phenomenon in space through the use of colour and angular lines which visually connect walls, floors and ceilings. The result is a central open area with more intimate zones scattered throughout and defined by bright pastel colours and glazed panels with a dichroic window film.

Flexibility was another key element in the design, which incorporates a variety of spaces available to use outside of the central workspace including meeting rooms, a library, quiet cubbies and a recreation room (complete with a custom-made table tennis table). Each space was designed to cater for a different type of activity and offers a different level of privacy – this layout allows employees to choose their working environment throughout the day, which can increase overall productivity.

The result is a bold, highly visual, stimulating and vivacious workspace that inspires and impresses throughout the working day. It's audacious nature is one that has been met with wonder from staff, clients and visitors alike.

Project Innovation/Need

Light is the foundation of this design. As well as using lighting practically to create a productive and functional workspace, light has also been used as a material and artform to colour, texture, divide and create the overall sensory experience of this space.

The space was designed to give varied visual stimulation at different times of the day, from mesmerizing natural sunlight, to mind-bending prism effects and arresting backlit colour gradients, with colours becoming denser and shadows more dynamic – depending on time. In fact, the workspace literally changes colour and light at every minute of the day.

This layered and compelling space is perceived differently from every direction and allowing visual connections throughout, altering perceptions of depth and range, thus giving employees ‘more room to breathe’.

Design Challenge

The initial design experimentations were as equally resplendent as they were complex. Dedication to detail was king. All downlights were custom painted to live harmoniously in their allocated colour zone and linear LED extrusion was painstakingly assessed to be placed for greatest effect and interaction with the dichroic film and seating arrangements.

Working hand-in-hand with the dichroic film is a huge lighting feature; a custom-design, backlit, double layered acoustic panel in the ceiling. This was created to provide mood-calming and smooth illumination for staff, and to not clutter or confine the space with messy suspended fixtures. It creates a track-stopping and awe-inspiring moment whenever visitors or staff enter the space for the first time.


Ambience Office was designed with the impact on the environment in mind. We used products such as Caeserstone, Spectrum Rubber and Bolon flooring, InStyle fabrics for the upholstery and InStyle Ecoustic® panels . These are all recyclable, Greentag certified, compliant with international and national environmental protection standards (including the Green Building Council of Australia) and made from either natural or recycled materials.

This workspace is also sustainable in the way it allows for business growth from a small to mid-weight company without the need to redesign or rebuild. We tested this during our space planning, and created a bespoke design of partitioning between desks that can be easily expanded and rearranged as employee numbers grow.

As the design is based around natural lighting, this has reduced the need for as much artificial light within the space.

This award celebrates innovative and creative building interiors, with consideration given to space creation and planning, furnishings, finishes, aesthetic presentation and functionality. Consideration also given to space allocation, traffic flow, building services, lighting, fixtures, flooring, colours, furnishings and surface finishes.
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