Hotels Combined & KAYAK Head Office [DRAFT]

Image Credit : Tyrone Branigan



Project Overview

Nestled in the heart of Sydney's creative hub in Chippendale, Hotels Combined/KAYAK's new office is a hive of excitement in the fast-paced tech world of online travel booking. With a design approach that reflects a whirlwind travel experience, be prepared to arrive at your hotel, have a drink in the lobby bar and choose any global destination to meet in!

Project Commissioner

Hotels Combined

Project Creator

Hot Black


Designers: Hot Black

Project Brief

Spanning two floors within one of Chippendale’s iconic heritage buildings, Hot Black were driven by the fabric of the base building which fostered an aesthetic approach that reflected the design principles and methodology of a travel experience.

When first arriving, you are greeted by the concierge – replacing a more traditional reception greeting with an emotive experience. The team breakout area and ‘all hands’ space represent the extension which is typical of a hotel lobby which embraces the idea of a hotel restaurant and bar!

By combining the user experience of a workplace environment with a travel experience, the principle message developed throughout the meeting zones and open plan space allows the client to tell a story which is emphasised through the use of environmental graphics and materiality synonymous to the brands.

Project Innovation/Need

The conceptual thinking - which became the back bone to the design outcome - deep dived into the inner workings of Hotels Combined / Kayak and analyzed what a real "hotel experience" was all about. What is so enticing about a hotel experience? Why do people love it so much? Whether you're traveling afar, or exploring just beyond your doorstep, the opportunity to escape or delve into different scenery and experiences is so enticing! The design concept merged the notion of a hotel experience and intertwined them with that of a commercial office, allowing Hot Black to play on architectural concepts that functionally work in both settings. The hotel concierge becomes the reception; the hotel Bar and restaurant is the ideal staff breakout space and; the notion of a hotel rooftop - or in commercial terms, level 2 - helped inspire the staff workspace which is where the 'real magic' happens.

The commercial office is no longer "just a place to work" - and that is exactly what our design embraces!

Design Challenge

The biggest challenge was having to complete the project as part of an integrated fitout with the base build. Timing and execution had to be highly considered to avoid major challenges along the way! Complete transparency and strong communication was paramount to ensure that the design objectives were met, whilst also aligning with the construction of the base building. Working closely with the base build contractor as well as the fitout contractor meant that the design aesthetic was upheld, and the best possible outcome was achieved for the client!


There was a strong emphasis on sustainability within this project from both a materiality & finishes perspective, as well as financial perspective. Due to the size of the fitout and long term goals of the client, Hot Black were mindful of future expansion and ensured the design had the ability to grow with the business. This include installing power and data points throughout the site to ensure workstations could be installed further down the track, as well as consciously reducing some of the 'built space' which allows for furniture to be relocated and expansion to happen. This long term vision permits the team to grow organically without significant disruption to the workplace, reduces waste caused by a redesign and ensures longevity in the fit out.

Hot Black also ensured that majority of the furniture, finishes, fixtures and fittings were being sourced by local manufacturers and suppliers. We recognise how important it is to support local Australian distributors and this was identified as a key component in the project brief.

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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