Inspiration on show

This commercial showroom is designed to both welcome and inspire creative professionals
Bold blocks of vibrant colour are stationed in display case, furniture, glass, interior design, product design, shelf, shelving, table, red
Bold blocks of vibrant colour are stationed in this reception area.

An inspired presentation of a product will always attract more sales than a predictable one. This is especially true if the customers are architects and interior designers. So, a commercial showroom should be less an extension of the warehouse and more akin to a fashionable art gallery.

When The Laminex Group commissioned designer Luke Cannon to redesign its commercial showroom in Sydney, the brief was for a space that would update, inform and impress.

The Laminex Group was keen to shake off perceptions of its brand as being old-fashioned, and needed a display area that would incorporate all its brands, which include Laminex, Formex and Formica.

In addition, the company's project team wanted a soft-sell space that would encourage those in the industry to spend some time and get to know the products in a relaxed environment. The Laminex Group's commercial manager Ian James says that, above all, the showroom had to be inviting.

"We wanted it to be warm andwelcoming, so that people could drop in for a cuppa and a chat."

Cannon's first task in the redesign was to open up the space by removing the existing bulkheads. He then installed recessed lighting that simulates skylights in the ceiling. This created an impression of space, and it gave customers clear sightlines across the room from the front door.

The company's products are demonstated in this light floor, flooring, furniture, glass, institution, interior design, product, table, black, gray
The company's products are demonstated in this light box display.

Behind the reception area are laminated panels with Customart graphics. The bright orange and red were chosen to promote a feeling of warmth and comfort, and to make a strongly contemporary visual statement. Like most of the display walls throughout the showroom, the graphics can be replaced for a fresh look.

Once a visitor's attention is captured in the reception area, the next step is enticing them to linger in the showroom. The scent of freshly brewed coffee emanates from the cafe, which has three distinct seating areas. The stools around the counter, the long couches and the Design Wizard' computer terminal cater for guests.

The floor, benchtops and graphics are made from products in The Laminex Group, demonstrating both the brand's practicality and design flexibility.

"Rather than overwhelming people with information, they can see how the product has been used," Cannon says.

The showroom has very few walls, but sliding screens can be reconfigured to alter the feel and function of the space. The fitout can cater for one-on-onepresentations or an industry functions for up to 350 people.

Sliding screens made from aluminium glazing framing with clear Corflute insets conceal a meeting room that is used for both staff and client meetings. The partitions are lightweight and easy to slide out of the way.

The smooth texture of the electric light cubes architecture, floor, flooring, furniture, glass, hardwood, interior design, table, tile, wood, teal
The smooth texture of the electric light cubes contrasts with the stones on the floor beside them.

A variety of temporary displays have been set up in what the designer terms "inspiration spaces". These areas introduce new products and applications to visiting architects and interior designers and stimulate their creative imaginations, says Cannon.

"Having a series of eye-catching spaces encourages the visitor to wander through the entire showroom," Cannon says.

Currently the display features a series of box-themed installations, including distinctive electric light cubes. The display area, like the cafe, is defined by use of a different Laminex flooring.

Cannon tackled the display of the product samples by enlarging eachindividual sample to 15cm square andby making a feature wall out of their rows of colour.

Jul 18, 2003

Credit list

Interior and graphic design
Thomson Lilley Design, Melbourne
Floors First floating floor in Prima Apple Vera from The Laminex Group; Gerfloor in Creation Mineral Slate, Metallica Moon and Metallica Meteorite
The Phantom Light Morpher from Laser Lighting
Sliding screens and tracking system
Macleod Aluminium with Corflute inset
Couches and coffee table
Stylecraft box seating
Wall-mounted graphics in reception and kitchen
Decorative stones
Main contractor
Dulux in Seed Pearl, Baker White, Harbour Blue, Designer Grey, China White and Light Chervil
Reception desk, kitchen bench and wall gallery
Andrew’s Custom Joinery
Graphic design
KBR Design
Lightbox display system
Australian Slatwall Industries
Curved graphic display
Fusion panels from The Laminex Group
Cappucino machine
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