Gateway Business Lounge

Image Credit : Phu Tang & Rohan Venn



Project Overview

Located at The Rocks, the Gateway Business Lounge presents a mix of formal / informal and bookable meeting spaces for tenants of the Gateway Building and visitors of The Rocks. To compliment the business lounge and lobby, an operated cafe offers grab & go’s as well as cold and hot drinks through a small commercial kitchen designed by the Hot Black Hospitality Team. Located at The Rocks, this design celebrates the nature of sandstone and its morphing properties. Evoking drama and movement, our suspended mesh creates shifting contours throughout the space. The interior aesthetic connects to the existing lobby space for cohesion whilst represents a new bench mark for delivering a premium space for its visitors. Over-flow meeting spaces are compensated through boardrooms, lounges and meeting spaces on mezzanine level as well as the Dexus BMO. The end result has been a huge success and its user groups have commended the boundary pushing design.

Project Commissioner


Project Creator

Hot Black Design

Project Brief

With its historic and highly visible location, The Gateway has a commanding presence at Sydney’s Circular Quay adjoining the iconic Customs House and just minutes from the Opera House, The Rocks and MCA.

The brief was to maximise the available NLA from the lobby and to create a functional & enticing space to the tenants within the building. With the iconic Sydney landmark The Rocks neighbouring the building, inspiration was drawn from the exploration of contour lines, organic rock formations and investigating how sandstone material can morph and change over time. The design needed to be subtle, calming with muted tonal sections while also showcasing pockets of visual excitement.

The Business Lounge needed to comprise of multiple work settings and furniture configurations, allowing for various levels of privacy and use of space by those who frequented it. Ease of work was supported throughout the different areas, ensuring access to power was effortless and flexibility was encouraged. In addition to the work settings, a catered cafe for day-to-day needs was designed by the hospitality team at Hot Black, which also meant the business lounge could offer an additional service in the form of a function space, too.

With the architectural layout just as iconic at the building, a winding trail of gentle light was designed to create ambience around the Gateway Business Lounge. Delicate yet powerful, the lighting complements the unique architecture of the space, enhancing the dramatic effect of the feature ceiling.

Project Innovation/Need

Whilst the project required many innovative solutions, one of the most stunning & captivating innovations was using the alphamesh - which hung from the elaborately high ceilings - to create a point of difference and to emulate the concept of the morphing properties of sandstone from the original concept. At night they are lit up to transform the space for events, adding depth and excitement to an otherwise vast void. In addition to complementing the lighting services, the alpha mesh also acts as an installation art piece, whilst covering up many unappealing services of the exposed ceiling which would require a costly and less-enchanting outcome.

Design Challenge

The biggest design challenge for the Gateway Business Lounge was both working with the existing conditions of the floor plate & working within an irregular architectural envelope. Whilst form is beauty, a key consideration needed to be functionality too. This meant our conceptual inspiration and story had to be strong, in order to draw out the best solutions for the space. Embracing the organic nature of rock formations, the curves and contours soon became opportunities to carve out pockets and coves to complement the need for varying work settings. Working with, and not against, the existing columns that were positioned quite erratically around the space allowed us to further create a feeling of fluidity and carved out a natural path of travel throughout the lounge.


With wastage always forefront in our mind for design, we capitalised on an opportunity to utilise tiles leftover from the lobby refurbishment completed prior to the Business Lounge to clad all of the mezzanine and interior walls. In addition to the tiles, we were also able utilise leftover Elba stone throughout the space to ensure this product would not be thrown out and wasted.

The majority of the furniture and specifications were locally sourced for the Business Hub & cafe. In addition to supporting local suppliers, it was an additional benefit to source Australian products because the lead-times were minimised despite the COVID crisis.

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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