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 : Peter Clarke Photography Armelle Habib Photography

Project Overview

Civilex workplace is a project that exemplifies client engagement and collaboration. The client has staged the move of the office as part of a cultural transformation of the business and the brand.

Today, the staff, management and founders greet guests and family members with a new sense of pride they share
and show around their new workplace they call home.

Woven into the fabric of the design are their aesthetical industrial elements, which resonate with the engineering and civil focus of the company, but more importantly the threads of their family-orientated culture, wellbeing and a sense of belonging.

Project Commissioner

Civlex Victoria

Project Creator



Harry Nguyen - Designer
Ling Gui - Designer

Project Brief

Civilex was turning 10. This project was a turning point from a small business that started with two founders and over the years grew into disjointed departments, teams and sub-companies. The biggest challenge was to bring
together all members of the organisation into one shared space where all of their business processes are accommodated, building a unified cultural workplace - tapping into the company's values.

What stood out was how responsive the client was in embracing our design statements, such as the massive green wall at the entry, a fun and vibrant kitchen and outdoor area, as well a private professional business-lounge
executive area.

Project Innovation/Need

The design evolved through understanding the company's corporate values and business workflows. We created a central breakout hub where food is shared, informal meetings are held and organic interactions naturally occur. We carefully crafted different zones which facilitate meetings, project collaboration or deep work.

This project is an example of good interior design because at its core - are values essential to good workplace environment: wellbeing, safety, culture, innovation, respect and relationships. A sense of unified belonging is achieved through the people within the space designed.

Design Challenge

The conditions of the site were ghost-like, where the interior was dust-filled and used as a storage site for forgotten vintage cars.

Having had many different functions in the past, the previous life of the tenancy became evident in the demolition process. Varied wall finishes appeared when an empty shell was presented.

In what is now the open office area, columns were scattered at various points. Positioning of the workstations in unison with the columns was important as relocation or removing them would incur a large expense.

Instead of treating this as a problem, we have turned them into a feature - where varied wall and floor surfaces were amplified and treated. We removed the ceiling alltogether and designed spaces to suit the column configuration.

The columns that remained were utilised as points where soft-wiring connected to banks of workstations. The columns were painted black to appear complete as part of the workstation system.


The designed workplace uses locally sourced materials that compliment the fitout, as this not only benefits our local industry, but also reduces the carbon footprint of the goods being delivered to site.

Floor to ceiling tilt doors in the open office area brings the feeling of inside/outside work environment. On sunny days the large doors open up completely allowing employees working at their desks to enjoy the feeling of being outside.

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.
More Details