In 2016 QIC embarked on a centre-wide amenity upgrade at Westpoint Shopping Centre. The objectives were an aesthetic refresh, increased pan count, improved parent rooms with accessible features, and a strong focus on inclusivity with the addition of two Changing Places facilities. They also placed heavy emphasis on providing an enhanced user experience, which informed details of the design. The first three amenity blocks have been completed, with seven more underway.
The redesign started with a fundamental space planning exercise. Functionality and efficiency were critical requirements so the layouts needed to be completely reworked. The resulting outcome not only increased the overall pan count and created a more balanced male to female pan ratio across the centre.
It also made space for larger, more accommodating parent’s rooms and added accessibility throughout.
Possibly one of the biggest achievements were the two Changing Places facilities that were carefully designed to ensure every person of every ability could use and enjoy these amenities. Both facilities are now registered on the Changing Places map and set a benchmark for future projects building Accessible Adult Changing Facilities as part of the new BCA requirement added shortly after the project’s completion.
In addition to spatial changes, convenience was maximised where possible, including design features such as purse shelves, bag hooks, ‘all-in-one’ wash stations with concealed hand dryers, full-length mirrors and a beauty bar to enhance the experience for users.
The parent’s rooms were a big focus for QIC, with a large amount of space dedicated to them. The brief was to create something that hasn’t been done before. To realise it, boundaries had to be pushed with everything from form to function. Traditional ‘rooms’ were reimagined into cocoon-like structures that interacted with the surrounding design; walls were replaced with abstract tree trunks and hanging canopies to create divisions in space; custom light fittings mimicked bees and clouds in the sky – everything had to be bespoke. The functional elements within the design became features in themselves.
Beyond the aesthetics, the space had to be exceptional in performance, convenience and accessibility to ensure a fully inclusive design was achieved. The parent’s rooms became a place of refuge; an inviting and comfortable environment for both parent and child to relax and re-energise.
Because there were no precedents for the concept, every detail had to be carefully considered and workshopped to ensure the outcome looked exactly as it was designed. Physical models of the cocoons and trees were built to articulate intricate detailing to the client and builder; full scale prototypes of the custom designed bee light fittings were built; bespoke graphics were printed onto mosaic tiles; and numerous hours were spent sketching ideas to design every last hook, waste bin and mirror.
Amenities are often treated as spaces of necessity. Challenging that way of thinking, QIC committed to providing their customers with something more. As a result, the design team were able to push design boundaries and set benchmarks in the industry by proving the human experience can be enhanced in any space.
Builder: Construction Control
Expertise: Retail Interior Design
Location: Blacktown, NSW
Associate/ National Interior Design Manager