2019 Sydney 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



Project Overview

The Sydney based team of leading retail design firm, the Greater Group, have recently completed Diamond Exchange, a high-end diamond showroom located in Sydney’s central business district. From concept development though to delivery, this adaptive re-use project was a comprehensive fit-out located on level 5 of The Georges Building, one of Sydney’s oldest and most prestigious heritage buildings. A combination of existing heritage features mixed with fine joinery detailing and lighting accents work together as the ultimate setting for high quality diamonds and jewellery.

Project Commissioner

The Thomas Group

Project Creator

Greater Group


Josh Gregg, Vanessa Gilatre, David Sevior, Agus Zaenuddin, Reza K. Putra

Project Brief

As existing clients, The Thomas Group decided to appoint the Greater Group to design and build their latest Diamond Exchange Sydney Showroom. Forming part of this decision was the recent success of Diamond Exchange in Melbourne, the first Diamond Exchange showroom from 2017.

From the outset, the design intent was to celebrate existing heritage detailing, a feature that reflected the craftsmanship of the handcrafted rings inside the showroom. The existing pressed steel ceiling design was restored to its former glory, offsetting the minimal showcase joinery found below. Accents of rose gold helped bring some of the brands' personality into the space via two large curved mirrors, which were nestled under existing arch structures. A large steel glazing partition with period references was installed to split staff zones from the main retail space and was painted black to link with the showcase glass cabinets and pendant lighting references.

Both the dark walnut joinery and floor finish added further dimension and mark as a transition between the richly decorated heritage details and the more contemporary sections that surround the products and seating zones. Diamond artworks were designed and created by a local illustrator, which reflect the inner workings of in-house diamond specialists and form part of the brand story that is Diamond Exchange.

Project Innovation/Need

Respecting the existing heritage features required attention to detail, spatial planning and the design at large. Nothing could puncture the original ceiling detail, so all lighting pendants and tracks needed special bracing and attachments. The larger partition wall required a modular steel transom system that could not only fit the existing tight access but span the full width of the space once connected. This forced all support to the walls and avoided anything structural into the ceiling above.

Design Challenge

The cautious interventions that attempt to preserve and celebrate the special atmosphere of the original building condition forms part of the success of this design. The carefully restored ceiling creates an aesthetic that is full of history and detail, balancing the finer craftsmanship of the jewellery below. Items needed to be modular and streamlined to negotiate the strict and incredibly limited site access condition, including all joinery and steel partition wall. The products themselves required display trays that could adapt and change to a variety of formats, resulting in a range of tiles in different shapes that could be configured as required.


At Greater Group, we deliver efficient design solutions that address operating costs and emissions. By providing solutions that re-use and re-program materials and spaces, we suggest design elements and specification options with the implicit intent of making stores greener. Our designers actively look and specify for products and fittings that promote energy saving and/or carbon reductions.

For Diamond Exchange we ensured that fixtures and finishes were aligned with the latest sustainable standards. We also made the decision to keep the existing timber floor, helping to reduce waste. All materials were manufactured locally.

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