Salvation Army Headquarters

The designers workshopped on how best to unify a disparate range of the client’s divisions to reinforce their team identity and develop internal efficiencies to maximise use of the challenging run-down building. The diverse accommodation program included: counselling rooms; a prayer/multipurpose room for 300; recording studio and media room; the client supplies shop; a breakout space for 700; open-plan workspaces; meeting-rooms, end of trip facilities and a central connecting stair. The client’s colours: red, blue and yellow were given new hues via satellite imagery of Australia’s landscape in the design concept and integrated into the three levels through furniture colour selections, fabrics and signage and in the custom designed carpet tiles. Cost effective raw materials of ply and polished concrete were used alongside warm tones of timber to give a more casual residential feel. An abstract composition of plywood struts and laser-cut steel forms the double height reception wall was inspired by the connection of the client to the local and wider community. In the Chapel, a simple plywood cross is wall-mounted and backlit signifying the beliefs of the people of the client in a room which also functions as a multi-purpose room for 300 people. This room opens onto a social space dominated by a 24m long wool rug in the client’s red.

The use of Shaw Contract carpet tiles ensures that the health and sustainability agendas for the project were exceeded. The simplicity of customization allowed the design team to incorporate elements of the client's corporate branding into the flooring. The extensive Shaw Contract range provided the designer with essential flexibility to develop an effective overarching design narrative. The client’s palette of red, yellow and blue was allocated to a floor and echoed in fabrics, furniture and carpet tiles. The linear and directional pattern on the carpet tiles was employed to define circulation routes throughout the large open plan floorplates. The ‘warehouse’ aesthetic enabled the designers to achieve an impressive fitout on a low budget, using low-cost and raw materials. Nuance carpet tiles played an essential role in softening the look and feel of the scheme to facilitate a balance between the contemporary high performance workplace and the nurturing holistic space that the client needed. The carpet’s acoustic properties were an essential contribution to the vast open-plan floor plates for a team that were used to working in smaller spaces. The flexible configurations of the carpet tiles were used to define work neighbourhoods and circulation spaces in the flooring composition which also included hard finishes for highly activated spaces such as the staff café. The flooring solutions for commercial buildings need to be extremely hardwearing as well as aesthetically pleasing. The product met both these criteria. The client is extremely pleased with the ease of maintenance.

The catch call for the client project was “…how to care for the carers”: This was a challenging building transformed into a nurturing space for a team on the front line. The former Rabbitohs Rugby League Club in Redfern, an inner city suburb of Sydney, is now home to a very different occupant. The client occupies three floors bringing 450 staff together from four different locations. For the 130 year old organisation this has meant considerable cultural change and investment. The firm recognised the client’s vital social contribution and offered to help with the project being a focus of our pro-bono program for the past two years. The design team worked how best to unify a disparate range of client Divisions, to reinforce their team identity and develop internal efficiencies within a challenging run-down building and a restricted budget. The design focus centred on the health and wellbeing of the client as they deal with the difficulties some in our community face. Through access to fresh air, natural light and a connection to outside spaces overlooking the Redfern Oval, places of respite and reprieve allow the client workers to march on. Creating engaging and adaptable layouts supported this strategy along with a central stair and a breakout space capable of accommodating 700 people. This is a low budget project built on good will and in good faith.


Sydney, Australia

Design Firm

Bates Smart


  • Large Office
  • Collection


    Products Used

    nuance tile
    filter tile


    2017 Design Award Category Winner