Sydney Airport Duty Free – capturing the topography of the harbour

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Inspired by Sydney Harbour bays, beaches and headlands, the Sydney Airport Duty Free store is a prime example of the versatility of timber.

The retail layout captures the topography of the harbour inlets as seen from the air. Just as the harbour foreshore is different in every spot, so too the curved timber display stands are each unique, in shape, height and size.

Ten stands vary from small low inlets to steep escarpments, from deeply eroded caves to shallow beaches. On top of each display tufts of living Australian plants cascade over, referencing the green flora on top of the cliffs of the harbour.

The layering of Australian hardwoods represents the layering of Sydney's topographic sandstone formations. The 250 linear metres of shelves are made of recyclable, ecofriendly plywood, with edges exposed. The rich and varied hues of the variegated layers of sandstone are reflected in the colours of plywood. The wide range of colours meant that multiple birch species in varying colours could be picked while still retaining the same distinct grain of wood.

The design has generated interesting spaces that are both efficient and beautiful. The organic curves created out of timber takes people back to nature.

 


Timber veneer has been used to finish the curved walls of each unique joinery piece for the Sydney Airport Duty Free store. The individual grains and colours of the veneer strips have aided in representing the layering of Sydney’s topographic sandstone formations.

Birch Veneer on plywood has been used for its distinct grain, flexibility and wide range of colours. Birch Veneer was chosen for its strong yet flexible properties, giving it the ability to follow the curved walls with ease. Inspiration for the design was drawn from Sydney’s topographic sandstone formations and the sedimentation layering that is revealed through extensive weathering.

The rich and varied hues of the variegated layers of sandstone are reflected in the colours of the birch veneer. The wide range of colours meant that multiple birch species in varying colours could be picked while still retaining the same distinct grain of wood. Birch veneer being readily available made it the economically considerate option. The 250 linear metres of shelves are made of recyclable, ecofriendly plywood, with honest exposed edges.

Timbers used in this case study:

Interior

Joinery Cabinetry: 

Plywood with Birch veneer finishes

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