The Central Development a 2015 Design Is…Award Market Winner

Shaw Contract Group conducted interviews with all firms of Market Award winning projects from the 2015 Design Is…Award program. As part of this process, we share a portion of the response on our blog for readers to learn more about the winning projects.  These are their stories.

Here, Josephine Maruca-Parker addresses the design process for The Central Development in Crace, Australia.


Describe this project in one word.


How does this project demonstrate how design can impact users in a space?

GID is committed to excellent interior design in aged care with a design philosophy focused on creating non-institutional urban environments with the user group at the core of the design process.

The collaboration between designer, architect and builder helped to generate sustainable outcomes for the client in terms of the environmental footprint of the project. Design consideration was taken in planning the apartments allowing for optimum natural light. This natural resource works with energy efficient materials so as to enhance the thermal properties of the apartments in Canberra’s winter months. The apartment was specifically designed for the end user in mind. The kitchens and bathrooms are streamlined and modern in aesthetic however have been planned and designed to allow for accessibility compliance and adaption to support ageing in place.

The success of this project is evident over the short few months that the facility has been open. The client and Crace residents love the development especially the Club House building, which is constantly booked out for functions and events. It is the end users opinion and experience of the end product which is testament to good interior design.


Design is a process. Explain your journey.

Gilmore Interior Design was engaged by the client for all stages of The Central development in the new Canberra suburb of Crace.

GID worked in collaboration with Canberra based architects AMC Design + Management. The development consists of 6 buildings with a combined total of 127 apartments, 8 two-storey townhouses, a Club House and several commercial premises. The client provided a clear brief of objectives – the creation of a sophisticated, high quality living environment. The architectural character was to be attractive and comfortable, incorporating contemporary forms and materials. The interior design was to reflect the architectural character with a modern palette of finishes and fixtures.

The brief was integral to the design concept. It was GID’s vision to produce an interior that worked in unison with the contemporary architecture of the building; balancing the refinement of modern design with a palette of rich finishes to make an environment warm, welcoming and timeless in appeal – bridging the gap from the exterior to the interior.

Kitchens and bathrooms within the apartments were ergonomically designed to comply with accessible codes to allow for adaptability for residents of all levels of ability and mobility. The apartments are a definition of great design as they can be easily modified to suit resident’s needs as their abilities change with ageing.

The design of the Club House was very important to the client as they wanted this building to be an integral part of the development and the larger Crace community, becoming a key component in the physical and social lifestyle of the residents.

The Club House is an example of a design solution that is sophisticated, attractive and comfortable for the people living within the space as well as those visiting – answering all elements of the original brief.

The success of the completed project is entirely due to the fact that the client had a clear and succinct brief and vision from the beginning of the project. The brief was clearly communicated to all consultants involved, making the process efficient as the project team was on the same page trying to achieve the same goals, which in turn saved the client time and money.

The project is an example of innovation and sets a new standard for the future of retirement and aged care design in ACT, serving to unite all members of the community by designing spaces that foster intergenerational interactions and a high quality of life. Resulting is a non-institutional environment that showcases the importance and relevance of interior design in the retirement and aged care sector.


What are the most important lessons you’ve learned through this project that you’d want to share with the designers of tomorrow?

1. It is important it is for the interior designer to be involved in the construction documentation stage of a project.

The contract for The Central allowed for the architect to coordinate and supply all construction documentation. The designer fed the architect information via mark-ups of design development sketches and interior finishes schedules. Due to the fact that the designer had limited involvement during this project stage, there were a number of subtle details that were over-looked by the architect

2. The difficulties of a consultant working on a inter-state project.

Due to the fact that the project was based in ACT and the design firm is based in Sydney, there was limited opportunity for the designers to be on site during the construction period.

This resulted in a number of defects being picked up once the construction stage was complete, making it difficult for defects to be attended to quickly.

3. The advantage of an interior designer being engaged for the specification and procurement of furniture, artwork and decorative items.

The inclusion of this stage within the design scope allowed the interior designers to hand over a completely finished and coordinated space to the client.

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