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Emotion and the business of art: thought piece

At The Office Space, the style and culture of our share office workplaces in Surry Hills are equally important to us as their functional purposes. Our modus operandi is to create new forward-thinking and aspirational workplaces that inspire and motivate our office residents. We build, equip and service intuitive environments for small to medium-sized businesses, with the idea that by doing so we will enhance the creativity and productivity of those working within them. This translates into the carefully designed fit-outs, stylish furnishings and a considered curation of artworks displayed at both of our office locations on Reservoir Street and within Paramount House.

As identified by Professor Adam Atler in an article on ‘team culture,’ elements such as an open plan and other design features that encourage interaction and common and purpose-free ‘thinking’ areas are essential in achieving stimulating work environments. At The Office Space, we seek to take this a step further and raise the benchmark in workplace environments. We believe beautiful design is worth paying for. And this investment creates an authenticity and quality in our spaces that cannot be replicated.

For Naomi and Boris Tosic (Directors of The Office Space) the vast selection of artwork within their workplaces has a personal significance that is inextricably linked to their achievements in business. The Office Space sets itself apart from other co-working spaces by a deep and deliberate investment in its fit-outs and design pieces. The result is a less transient, more stable and authentic workplace.

Our Reservoir office, now 12 years in operation, is best suited to start-up companies and small to medium-sized businesses, from freelance writers to architects, analysts, consultants and designers. All floors are significantly hung with works by innovative Australian contemporaries including Paul Davies, Dion Horstmans, and David Bromley amongst others. In keeping with the light-filled spaces and modern hero furniture scattered throughout, the sculptures and brightly coloured canvases inject a kinetic and upbeat aura across the levels. ‘The Guan Wei triptych in our reception area is a stand-out piece for me as he’s a very significant Chinese artist who’s had to seek political asylum in Australia because his work is quite controversial,’ adds Naomi Tosic.

The internationally acclaimed Paramount by The Office Space offers a more elevated professional platform and has been critically lauded as a work of art itself. Set within the walls of a heritage-listed Art-Deco icon, custom built by Elan Contruct (another of the Tosic’s businesses) and designed in conjunction with renowned architects, Woods Bagot, it is the sum of exquisite details. As a testament to the design integrity of the original building, all finishes within Paramount are custom-made, from the sumptuously curved American Cherry wooden office walls that echo the contours of the building, to the seamless joinery and the burnished brass custom-made office numbers by Daast.

In late November this year, Boris Tosic won Australian builder of the year at the Darch Horse Awards for which Paramount was one of the builds he was nominated for. The award recognises and celebrates outstanding contributions by non-architects in the pursuit of a high quality built environment. Paramount was also recently shortlisted for the Belle Coco Republic Interior Design Awards for best Commercial Interior and the Australian Interior Design Awards for Best Workplace Design.

Over 35 pieces from the Tosic’s private collection are installed throughout Paramount’s office suites and communal areas. Unlike most corporate hangs, the pieces co-exist harmoniously and have connection to the space. Some were purchased specifically for Paramount, whilst others were commissioned. ‘It’s an environment in which to pause and focus, so the presence of the artwork contributes to this ambience significantly,’ adds Naomi. The art offering at Paramount, from the incredibly moving diptych commission ‘Jim Morrison Was Here,’ by Ben Quilty to the silkscreens by US pop artist Corita Kent, and work by Richard Larter, through the custom-built Morgan Shimeld brass bar (2015) in the atrium, has a personal and memory-laden significance to the Tosics. But none more so than the series of Julije Knifer ‘Meanders’ (1985) scattered between office ten and the glass meeting room.

In an excerpt (below) from Museum Magazine, Boris describes the first Knifer piece he encountered: “I went and saw a friend in Croatia, he’s a gallerist in Zagreb. I went to his house for lunch, and one of these paintings was leaning on the floor. I thought ‘GOD, who is that?!’… I said to my friend: ‘I really want it.’ He said I couldn’t have it… I had such a journey to actually find this thing. It took me like 15 years! I went home and said I want it. Two days later, he calls me, and considering that I loved it that much, he and his wife would sell it. I bought an original. 1962.” When asked what inspires them most, the Tosics agree it’s art.

It has a personal significance and is linked to their achievements in business. ‘It’s a big emotional investment for us – kind of a reward for success in business that enables us to acquire things of beauty and permanence that will outlive us all,’ adds Naomi Tosic. ’We hope our residents are just as moved by our collections.’

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