Orchard Manufacturing Co. Offices – Rowville

  • Client Orchard Manufacturing Co.,
  • size 31,754 sqft
  • Year 2019
  • Location Rowville, Australia,
  • Industry Food / Beverage,
  • BENT Architecture was tasked with the design of the Orchard Manufacturing Co. offices, a national health company, located in Rowville, Australia.

    Orchard Manufacturing offers a new approach to factory design, one which creates a happy and healthy workplace inspired by nature.

    As a company, Orchard Manufacturing espouse a natural ethos, yet it’s hard to imagine an environment further removed from nature than a manufacturing plant! Inspired by the ideology of artist and activist, Friedensreich Hundertwasser, this new production facility is different. It takes the spirit of the surrounding natural world and weaves it through the interior of an existing warehouse shell.

    Harnessing the vegetative spirals of Hundertwasser, the spirit of the landscape – expressed through colour and texture – is encouraged to flow from the nearby indigenous reserve into the interior of the production facility. These elements ebb and flow around the interior, informing the selection of finishes and materials and even inspiring naturally undulating floors.

    The project creates an engaging and vibrant work environment, the antithesis of the sterile and oppressive environments we typically associate with production facilities. Colour, texture and organic shapes create an uplifting and exciting space, bringing a smile to employee’s and visitor’s faces alike.

    The brief for this project was to create an innovative and engaging workplace that would not only meet the practical needs of a new production facility for Orchard Manufacturing but would also reflect the natural origins of the company.

    The creation of an inspiring work environment that represented the natural ethos of the company was an essential part of the brief. The existing building was adjacent to a nature reserve, yet there was no interaction or relationship between the industrial building and its natural landscape. Incorporating the natural landscape in an interior environment that is, by necessity, sterile is problematic. Our approach was to take the spirit of the surrounding natural world and weave it through the interior of the existing warehouse shell, using colour, texture and organic forms to create an uplifting and exciting space, bringing a smile to employee’s and visitor’s faces alike.

    Beyond the passive design principles we incorporate into every project, this project was all about social sustainability: creating a sustainable workplace by connecting people to light and natural materials.

    The design also aims to break down hierarchies and give everyone a sense of belonging to the one company. Flows established in linework and decorative expression reinforce the connection between the different parts of the organisation. The production area in this scenario is the spiral referred to in Hundterwasser’s quote; the point where the products are created. The journey through the interior spaces culminates in this via the elevated walkway.

    This design is a paradigm-shifting approach to the design of production facilities; the creation of a new type of workplace. Traditionally, the arrangement of a production plant is subservient only to the needs of the manufacturing process with little care for the human experience. This new approach recognises the needs of workers and the potential to embody the identity of a company.

    Meeting rooms overlook the factory floor and production staff can see (and wave to) visitors entering below. The result is a site-responsive and engaging workplace which allows productivity and human experience to co-exist; a production facility that reflects the natural ethos of the company and a healthy and engaging workplace for all. It sets a new benchmark for manufacturing workplace design where a company’s success is indelibly linked to the human experience of its staff.

    Design: BENT Architecture
    Photography: Tatjana Plitt