Tuesday, June 11th, 2013 - Communications Collective

Sydney Lord Mayor Clover Moore last night opened a new studio for HASSELL – the design firm responsible for some of the most important projects currently helping re-shape Sydney.

Four hundred invited guests attended the studio launch at Walsh Bay. The new studio, in Pier 8/9, will be home to approximately 125 architects, landscape architects, urban designers, planners and interior designers.

Established in Adelaide in 1938, HASSELL is celebrating its 75th anniversary year. It is now an international design practice, operating studios in five Australian cities, five in China, two in South East Asia and two in the United Kingdom.

In Sydney, HASSELL is working on projects including Sydney International Convention Exhibition and Entertainment Centre and the associated public domain known as Darling Harbour Live, a new glasshouse and tropical centre at the Botanic Gardens The Biome Top End, Sydney Light Rail project from Randwick and Kingsford through the heart of the CBD to Circular Quay, the bid for the North West Rail Link enhancing travel along the Sydney North West corridor., the Westconnex urban renewal project,  Taylor Square Bike Hub, ANZ’s new Sydney head office workplace andHub Sydney a collaborative co-working venue.

The new studio takes up 2,636 square metres in the historic Pier 8/9 at Walsh Bay. It is adjacent to the planned Barangaroo Headland Park and in the heart of the Walsh Bay creative industries community.  Pier 8/9 was built in 1914 to store and load wool onto ships bound for Europe and has a wonderful tough, industrial character.

The move to an industrial wharf building re-imagined for a new purpose continues a HASSELL tradition – the company’s Shanghai studio is in a former motorcycle factory, in Brisbane it is housed in a transformed bakery and in Melbourne it occupies what was once a clothing warehouse.

HASSELL Sydney Managing Principal, Matthew Pullinger, said the move to Walsh Bay brings a new impetus and energy to the studio.

“We are celebrating our new studio with a major contribution to Sydney’s Vivid Festival of Light, Music and Ideas,” he said.

“Our designers have produced four separate Vivid installations that are drawing hundreds of thousands of people to the city’s streets.

“The Vivid installations may appear modest compared to some of the projects we work on. But they give our people a great opportunity to extend their creativity and sense of fun. It also demonstrates our commitment to making a contribution to enlivening creative places and the cities we live and work in.”

The new studio is designed to reflect the engaged, collaborative culture HASSELL has fostered over the years. It is focused on a large double height creative hub that reveals the historic fabric and function of the building. This space facilitates everything from incidental get-togethers, to formal presentations and even performances for larger groups.

The main studio space on the mezzanine level overlooks the hub, placing our design process on display, visible from both the entry below and throughout the large characterful workspaces.

“Our carefully designed studio environment, situated in a finger wharf on Sydney Harbour is a truly amazing place to work,” said Mr Pullinger. “And with the official launch it showed that it is also a great place for celebration.”


Here is a description of the four Vivid installations by HASSELL designers.

The Dalgety Line by David Tickle and Emma Townsend is a site-specific installation that seeks to reconnect the city and the Harbour, responding to the original position of two assets of the Dalgety company (a wharf and a wool store), as well as a 2012 proposal to split the Millers Point area into two suburbs, disconnecting the hillside settlement from the waterfront. The Dalgety Line seeks to reconnect Millers Point with its historic waterfront, both literally and conceptually. It runs along and across a portion of Hickson Road, suspended above the ground and tethered sensitively to buildings and urban elements. Marking the western threshold of the Vivid Festival, the line creates a sense of arrival or departure for people passing beneath it.

Field of Colour by Nicholas Elias and Clinton Weaver is a series of illuminated coloured tube clusters. Each cluster has the same geometry and spacing except that each is rotated in a slightly different way. The installation accentuates the quality of the site, as it is a quiet and calm piece of work with no strong narrative. Its abstract nature means that people can engage with it and interpret it in their own way.

Rats by Jason Hammond, Sarah Meyer and Bridget Tregonning references the invasion of rats that took place in 1900 in The Rocks and Walsh Bay area that resulted in an outbreak of bubonic plague. A program of quarantining the outbreak area followed, as the Sydney Harbour Trust demolished all the existing buildings in the area and created a new rat-proof sea wall to stop rats breeding in the area. The invasion of rats can be seen as the single most defining factor in the development of the area as it is today and the design team used this idea to create the random effect of rats floating the water of Piers 8 and 9 in Walsh Bay. The rats – which try to evoke the slightly eerie feeling of eyes staring out from the dark at passers-by – were crafted by the design team themselves, completely out of material that are associated with the sea and water.

Walsh Bay Whispers by Grace Tham looks to the Walsh Bay Wharves and the significant role they played in Sydney's founding history and maritime past. The wharves were hubs for settlers, traders and travellers, each with their own colourful tale to tell. This installation aims to bring those secrets and stories back to life, capturing the essence of the era when the wharves were first built and the area was a bustling centre of Sydney. Using light and sound to inspire imagination and evoke emotions, Whispers is an immersive experience of discovery and delight where nothing is as it seems. The installation is best described as real-time public theatre and features a custom-built brass and crystal chandelier, ghost illusions, reclaimed doors and windows from historic sites and an emotive soundscape designed by David Pickvance. 

Thank you to the sponsors who supported our installations:
Waterman Group, Contemporary Furniture Design, Domus Lighting, Production Resource Group (PRG), MySmartCTI, Stowe Australia, UNSW, Media Architecture Institute, AHL, Light Force, Point Of View Lighting Design and JHA Engineering, David Pickvance

For further information, interviews or images please contact:

Genevieve Brannigan


Communications Collective

0411 037 109


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Communications Collective

Communications Collective is a team of highly experienced communications professionals known for our creative, focused strategies and flawless project delivery.

We have extensive expertise across government, corporate, health, not for profit, lifestyle, construction and the arts and pride ourselves on working in partnership with clients, stakeholders and the media to deliver campaigns with innovative approaches that positively shape public image and enhance bottom line.

Contact us for more information and case studies.

Genevieve Brannigan
P: 0411 037 109
W: communicationscollective.com.au/


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