New identity for Sydney’s underground retail hub

Gray Puksand use brand identity design to revitalise 52 Martin Place. Photo: Tyrone Branigan

GRAY PUKSAND has completed the refurbishment of 52 Martin Place for REST Industry Super and Colliers International.

This sees the underground concourse and retail hub in the Sydney CBD revitalised for the first time in 25 years. The concourse connects Martin Place train station with Elizabeth Street and includes a mix of 18 service retail and food tenancies, and dining zones with seating for 135.

The redevelopment was staged to ensure minimal interruption during the trading period with works completed after hours. Layers of ceiling finishes applied over intervening years had left the starkly lit lower ground concourse with ceilings as low as 2.3m. These were peeled back to reveal the base building conditions from which the design team could begin to develop their vision to bring the retail hub into the new millennium.

Holly Maxwell, interior designer at Gray Puksand in Sydney said the challenge was to work with the building restrictions to achieve as much height as possible and create a unique interior on a relatively small budget.

“In the end we were able to achieve a 3.2m ceiling height in the main dining area and 2.5m at the Elizabeth Street entrance. We also had to consider the floor which has some steep angles and undulates up and down throughout the space. Over four metres it might jump up 300mm to 400mm. It was a real brainteaser but we’re getting great feedback from tenants and users of the space,” she said.

“We introduced angles as a motif after considering the floor plan. Angular shapes became a design tool that we used to imbibe the space with its own sense of identity in companion with the graphic elements. We also selected dark charcoal wall tiles to give the space a sense of calmness and warmth and had them custom cut to suit the graphic approach to our design.”

Custom lighting is a feature of the central dining area. Photo: Tyrone Branigan

The central dining area features an organically shaped banquette with green planting and a light feature of individual reflective hexagons in black, brown and gold acrylic mirror which are set at different heights within the slatted ceiling.  The ceiling undulates at different height to this central point and features low glare linear lights as a component of the lighting designer’s brief. Occasional wall sconces dotted throughout the main dining area add another layer of detail.

Expansive feature walls integrate green planting, bronze mirrors and timber panels or chopping boards in various of shapes and sizes which are engraved with simple lines or words that relate back to the food offer.

The refurbishment has created a calming haven for CBD workers and has granted the retail hub a much needed sense of identity.

Photo: Tyrone Branigan

52 Martin Place’s retail renewal includes a mix of 18 service retail and food tenancies. Photo: Tyrone Branigan

Gray Puksand’s redesign of 52 Martin Place, Sydney. Photo: Tyrone Branigan

Communal dining adjacent the entry to Martin Place Railway Station. Photo: Tyrone Branigan

www.graypuksand.com.au

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