Mark Zuckerberg hatched and incubated the fledgling Facebook out of a dingy, lived-in college dorm room. Net-a-Porter’s Natalie Massenet stored inventory in the bathtub of her residential London artist’s studio when her company was still a giant a-slumber. Unlike these start-ups, Emilya Colliver’s Art Pharmacy and Culture Scouts will need no revisionism in romantically memorialising the story of its beginnings at The Office Space by Boris and Naomi Tosic.
When so many creative-corporate, Inner-West Sydney offices forgo comfort and style for grit and edge, The Office Space by Boris and Naomi Tosic shines as a quiet, welcome relief. One should not be fooled by the cursory impressions of the Paramount building that houses the offices; the heritage building’s gently-aging exterior belies the Tosics’ deft transformation of a 1940’s art deco site into an inner-sanctum, rich with timber, gilded joinery finishes and high art.
Collaborated between the Tosics and interior design company Woods Bagot, the space is a paean to a shared design philosophy for perfect equilibrium in style and function. Upon entrance, the reception desk is realised more as a concierge service than corporate greeter. The sleek Karlie and warm Sarah, with her enviable shock of hair ringlets, show all the knowingness of ambassadors for the office as they tour you through the place. Past reception, enter left into the office precinct, and left again into the boardroom. It is a hideaway war room replete with American Walnut themes, Eames chairs, and pop-out panels on a custom wooden shelf unit that reveal a cheeky flight of top-shelf whiskies. Continue into the main foyer and peer right, down two hypnotic timbered corridors of eighteen private office suites staggering diagonally away from you. Sidle down to the end of the corridor to find a quaint exposed-glass meeting room. With their high ceilings, Walter Knoll arm chairs and walls wholly moulded from American Cherry Oak, the office suites have all the luxury fittings of a Swiss alpine cabin and the zen ambience of a Japanese temple.
The design value of refined restraint filters down into The Office Space’s mountings of modern and contemporary prints, paintings, photographs and objet d’arts. Familiar art names abound. A 2015 collage of cut-out eyes by Del Kathryn Barton (made specially ‘For Boris’) gazes at you from one office. Ben Quilty’s 2014 Jim Morrison Was Here looms over the main foyer, an abstract painting that looks and feels like a colourful, contemplative Rorschach test. In the common area adjoining the foyer, a golden brass kitchen island is a bespoke sculpture by Morgan Shimeld, modelled to mirror the shape of the Paramount building. Paintings by stalwart 1960s American pop artist, Corita Kent, announce their slogans of protest and emancipation from several rooms, most notably in the boardroom with two works aptly titled We Can Make It (1966) and Right (1967). It is a collection ludic enough to fit perfectly in sentiment with the muted wood environs without being outré, and it is all enough to keep our small team of entrepreneurial creatives thoroughly nourished with inspiration.