Six months ago, The Studio asked UNSW Interior Architecture students to imagine the new The Studio Incubator in the Sydney Startup Hub opening in January 2018. And imagine they did! We wanted to be inspired by this next generation of more than 90 student creators and integrate their ideas and solutions into our new work space. The results are impressive.

In this newsletter, we bring you a snapshot of some of their work. An exhibition is also in the planning in the new Sydney Startup Hub and will include models and drawings. Dates announced soon.

The Sydney Startup Hub is a new initiative supported by the NSW State Government. Set across 11 floors, the Hub includes four incubators (The Studio, Stone & Chalk, Fishburners and Tanks Stream Labs), a community and events space, a landing pad for regional entrepreneurs, meeting spaces, a cafe and more and will accommodate up to 2,500 people. 
The Studio, as one of four anchor tenants, has been working hard towards opening our doors in late January. Applications to be a resident are now open and you can apply via the EOI on The Studiowebsite.  We’ll be launching a new website soon and it will include events, workshops, masterclasses and other activities we've got planned for 2018.

We look forward to welcoming you to The Studio@SSH soon!

Chantal AboucharNewsletter Editor, November 2017

The Studio / UNSW Built Environment Project
by Dr Alanya Drummond, UNSW Built Environment


The workplace can be a daunting typology for any designer, let alone university students. Workplaces are large, complex, strategic beasts and their design requires in-depth analysis of professional processes and culture. And let’s face it, any project with ‘work’ in the title can sound a little boring.

At the start of semester we faced Interior Architecture honours students in their third year of studies at UNSW Built Environment who had just completed an exciting exhibition scheme and had high expectations for their next project. We needed to find them a juicy brief. Then along came Chantal Abouchar, founder and CEO of The Studio. One of the differentiators of the UNSW Interior Architecture program is the opportunity to work with real clients and live projects; rather than operating within a hypothetical vacuum, our students are frequently encouraged to design in response to authentic briefs.

The Studio offered one such opportunity with their current programme: a co-working incubator to support startup businesses in the media and tech sector. Talk about juicy. Co-working is being hailed by many as the biggest disruptor to workplace design since Activity Based Working reared its head in the nineties. And serendipitous timing enabled our students to produce in tandem with The Studio's actual design development and construction process.

The cohort worked meticulously to produce inspired solutions to the real-world brief. Clearly, this bunch wanted to impress their client (a good sign for prospective employers!). Proposals all addressed the key objective of coaxing early-career innovators into Australia's tech ecosystem and fuelling their industry acceleration. Chantal was offered work settings that were flexible, modular and adaptable to enable the cross-pollination of ideas and skills; one of the major benefits of co-working.

Students expressed their speculative ideas through 3D digital models of the space which were sliced and diced to produce plans, section and perspectives. Laser-cut physical models were also produced thanks to the Built Environment Digital Fabrication Laboratory.

Dr Alanya Drummond, Course Convenor, UNSW Built Environment
Iva Djurakovic, Associate Lecturer, UNSW Built Environment
Bruce Watson, Director, Interior Architecture, UNSW Built Environment
Tutors: Kate Belgiorno-Zegna, Tina Cerar, Antoinette Trimble, ChrissyPartl, Claire Smith

Guest Jurors: Chantal Abouchar (The Studio), Colin Brown (Arena Design), Rebecca Wood (Woods Bagot),
Russel Koskela (Koskela), John Millington (Atticus*), Dr Donna Wheatley (WMK architecture)

Marcus Cope-Williams
Client’s Choice Award winner


Marcus’ objective was to create a space that seamlessly transitioned from a social and recreational area on one side of the floorplate into a high focus area on the opposite side, whilst also allowing for users to define the purpose of a specific area at any given time. This strategy was realised through an adaptable furniture scheme applied throughout the space; varying component formations produce endless spatial opportunities and enable a wide range of behaviours to be supported.



Kate Riley

Kate aimed to support the startup journey by humanising the workspace to create a personalised work experience. Her design solution offers spaces targeted towards each of the four cognitive stages that occur when completing creative tasks: focused thinking, discussion informed by intuition, feeling and the senses. Occupant engagement is enhanced by the ability to choose a work environment designed for the task at hand.


Leo Yuliang Wang

One of the biggest threats to workplace culture today is technological saturation dampening our natural sense of empathy. In response to this issue, Leo produced a strategic environment that fosters a culture of inclusivity and human interaction. Here, budding technologists are encouraged to develop user-centric products and a sense of community is fostered via food and leisure, which act as a source of tactile stimuli in the café and workstations.

Zarah Baitz

Zarah designed a transformable, innovative and collaborative space to nurture each stage of the creative experience and keep pace with the constant evolution of the tech industry. Zarah’s strategic planning promotes adaptability and agility, and she has carefully considered human interaction at both larger and smaller scales.  

Joanne Feng

Joanne’s scheme aimed to facilitate and cultivate cultural diversity within the Australian technology industry. To achieve this Joanne drew on science fiction, which often idealises a homogenous society in which cultural diversity has already been obtained and a sense of acceptance is fostered; this essence has been distilled into her Studio Incubator proposal where the space allows individuals to be inextricably connected and accepted within their environment. 

Beate Goik

Given the high rate of startup failure, Beate chose to design a scheme that would support an iterative approach to early career entrepreneurship, and encourage a process of trial and error. Beate’s design solution enhances the transfer of knowledge between individuals at different phases of a startup’s lifecycle via a digitally enhanced physical environment. This new mixed reality allows a freedom of movement and thought throughout the creative process.

Maia Guppy-Hall

In response to the trend of working outside the prescribed office, Maia’s designed a working environment that boasts the intimacy and identity associated with the home, and the accessibility and sense of community found in a local neighbourhood. The success of Maia’s project lies in the constant interplay between structure and fluidity; the creation of concentrated pockets and zones, as well as flexible and nondescript areas, all connected by a dialogue of curved and linear design elements. 


Emily Capel

Emily’s process sprang from the statistic that half of all startups fail in the real world; in response she proposed an incubator environment that would provide in-house testing to enable supported failure and activate a supplementary process of development. Emily’s scheme aims to strengthen relationships on a micro and macro scale; between individuals and startups alike.

Kiara Carroll

In Kiara’s scheme, the ‘Studio City’ is a demonstration of voyeuristic applications within the workspace; a notion of the ever-watched innovation within the startup sector. The overlay of the city scape onto the floor plan leads to the inclusion of a small-scale city scape, developing into a spatial and graphic illustration of elements that we see at the human scale. 

Esther Lau










According to Esther’s research, standing out is one of the primary challenges for those joining the technology industry today. Esther’s design exudes a sensory quality to enhance creativity and encourage users to push the boundaries of their imagination. Toned down lights, ambient noise, and the smell of natural elements combine to establish an environment of calm within which influential ideas may grow.

Jiayin Lin

Jiayin’s design promotes the short collaborative moments that occur throughout a working day, and are so integral to successful working relationships. The intersection of the form, floor patterns, tracks, colour and moveable furniture are all a conceptual metaphor for “meeting points” whilst promoting the communication between the different functional spaces. 


Interior Architecture honours students in their third year of studies at UNSW Built Environment worked meticulously to produce inspired solutions to the real-world brief





Cameron Sandercock, 

This article was published in The Studio Newsletter. Chantal Abouchar, Newsletter Editor, November 2017.  To subscribe email