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Music Company in Sydney

In 2013 The World Is Round designed the new 1500m2 Sydney offices for EMI Music whose objective was to create a place of work that celebrated inspiration and imagination; simply put; they understand that creativity breeds creativity. The chairman wanted a “second home” that supported co-existence in the workplace focusing on art, culture, food, commerce, lifestyle, fashion and travel but above all music. The building was originally occupied by furniture showrooms. The space was re-designed with Hutchinson St being the non-descript entry point. EMI could see the opportunities in showcasing their music brands and local artists to the busy road and public from the Flinders Street facings.


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A ruthlessly scrutinized budget by the head office overseas mixed with an ‘’old fashioned’’ building owner, an unreasonable residential strata (22 apartments live above) and high end commercial builder made this project challenging, with constant complex project navigation occurring daily for 18months. Underneath the ‘cool’ is the defining principal that collaboration and conversation is critical to the productivity and quality of work that a creative company produces. The unification of transparent offices with open bench style work settings surrounded by EMI’s rich heritage, memorabilia and curated artworks was a holistic approach to creating a ‘’gallery meets work’’ space.  An ever-changing collaboration with local artists is greatly supported by EMI showcasing a host of works in 2 retail-oriented windows facing Flinders Street. A firm supporter of the arts, EMI have exhibited many well regarded street, classic and sculptural artists; getting back to their routes of supporting creativity. Now offering a definite point of contrast with their competitors, both in creative ambition and as a statement of internal values, “designed for all’’ the EMI community is housed in a dynamic cohesive multipurpose space that seeks to create and strengthen organizational links through clever workplace settings and shared creative recreational facilities.


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With a focus on intense responsive service, research, work strategy, building process and technology the architects strived to create functional form and space, and generate innovative opportunities for EMI. 

"Their commitment, vision and passion to EMI have been second to none. He is an extremely passionate designer with the foresight to be able to communicate at all levels of business and take on broad comments and issues raised by the many people that were involved in our project. He listened to our requirements and always found practical solutions without comprising on his design and ethical focus". 

Mark Poston, Chairman


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All finishes, products and engineering were continuously tested to ensure there alignment with EMI goals of green design. Minimum lighting and power use, recycling, photocopy tracking, floor kill switches to turn of standby power and a top of the line air con unit; all ensure EMI’s continuous dedication to social responsibility. Various reuse and second hand furniture has been used mixed together with Knoll, Herman Miller, Tom Dixon and Mooi as part of their commitment to setting industry-leading standards to protect the biosphere, conserve natural resources and reduce waste. Repeatedly working with 3dimensional design, the architects presented the client a multitude of design options for many of the recreational areas. Testing these 3d opportunities allowed the client to build a trust very quickly with us. Exploration of ideas was the management teams primary goal in ensuring that EMI obtained maximum ‘’bang for buck’’. This was consistently used to negotiate the budget overrun with OS which was incorrectly set from the project beginning.


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The base building floor, walls and ceilings are concrete. This gives the space a pronounced ‘’raw honesty’’ however it was important to ensure the space didn’t feel cold and stark. There was a relentless aim to introduce warmth in material and palette utilizing such finishes as teak, copper, raw timber and warm colored glasses. The space makes an impact as bold colors, feature furniture and art collide within the industrialized shell.  The space in subtly divided into 2 sides, the red side binding the boardroom red into the stair red, and the yellow side linking the café yellow in with the stair yellow. The obvious corporate use of red has been restricted to a few key areas. 

Photos by Tyrone Branigan