Through the Godfrey Hirst business, our long-standing history dates back to 1865, a textile manufacturing success story that grew exponentially from the 1960’s, when the McKendrick family introduced local manufacturing of broadloom and modular carpet tiles and the importation of on-trend hard flooring from around the globe.
In 2018, the Godfrey Hirst business was acquired by Mohawk Industries, the world’s largest flooring company, which positively expanded our product offering and capability of the company on a truly global scale.
Today, backed by a strong local heritage we have production, distribution and sales facilities throughout Australia and New Zealand supporting over 960 Australian and New Zealand employees and their families. One such site, is an historical wool store, built in 1874 that sits within our South Geelong operations on the banks of the Barwon River. This incredible old wool store has operated as a very humble head office for Godfrey Hirst Australia.
After the challenges of 2020 and working from home for much of the year, we set out to revive the beauty of the original wool store and transform our head office to maximise the collaboration, creativity, and innovation that work-from-work best provides.
Employee wellbeing and architectural integrity were mandatories in a finished design that features a covid-safe open plan central hub, re-exposed brickwork and pitched wooden ceiling, accentuated original timber trusses, an array of living plant life, and the rediscovery of natural light that now reaches all corners of the building thanks to the refurbished external windows and floor to ceiling Manhattan-style black steel internal window framing for all offices.
With sustainability at the heart of our business, any hardwood, glass or other reusable or recyclable materials that were no longer needed in the building were carefully sorted and sent off for responsible disposal and repurpose. We are soon to announce the voluntary net carbon neutrality of all operations right across Australia, certified under the Climate Active program. This includes all activity at our newly renovated head office, where the carbon emitted by every laptop, every employee commute, every lunchbreak and more is offset each year by way of local reforestation, and renewable energy projects abroad.
Naturally, the carpet and flooring were an integral aspect of the design! Here at GH Commercial, we know the power of good workplace design and how that can impact productivity, overall job satisfaction as well as improved health and wellbeing of building occupants. We also know the desire to engage with nature is innate to the human experience, and when aspects of nature are brought into the environment, known as biophilic design, that need is met. And what better floor to achieve this than the carpet planks from our Relaxing Floors Collection, manufactured right here in Geelong.
Relaxing Floors are specially designed to incorporate ‘fractals’, a term for the infinite and random patterns found in nature such as leaves and trees. Fractals have been scientifically proven to reduce stress and improve the wellbeing of those around them and in this case gives occupants eyes a break from the digital world and deliver the essence of nature to the office. This visual language is the core of Relaxing Floors, a Declare® Red List Free certified carpet plank system designed by 13&9 Design in collaboration with Fractals Research and the team at Mohawk Group.
With four products, each with eight distinctive colourways, Relaxing Floors offers seemingly limitless layout options to transform workplace and multi-residential spaces. Our GH Commercial design team did just that, with a custom-coloured compilation of ChillD, MellowD and RestD carpet planks in a bespoke layout that also incorporated Fractal Ground to provide a visual break from the complex cohesion of hero patterns. Inspired by the plumage of owls, Flight in Western Screech from the Mohawk Owls Collection also cleverly delineates offices from the central open plan hub with a series of visually seamless walkways. All tied off with wet areas adorned in a terrazzo inspired Mysto vinyl plank from IVC Commercial.
Now manufactured and stocked locally, the Relaxing Floors Collection provides greater pattern capability and colour placement, pinpoint stitch accuracy for a durable and custom tile and plank offering. Contact your GH Commercial architectural representative for samples, layouts and to discuss your next flooring solution.
Project: Godfrey Hirst Whitehouse Project
Product: Relaxing Floors Collection
Builder: Hamilton Group
Photography: Dino Zukan