Wheatley, a partner of architectural firm Gray Puksand, also completed the restoration and renovation of the Dymocks headquarters on the sixth floor.
For the Dymocks employees who have worked above the store for decades, the heritage features — including the partition walls installed for the original tenants — made the space far from an open book.
When Wheatley first saw the offices, they were dark and disorganized. The glass windows opening onto the hallway were covered to provide privacy, and doors were cut through the partitions designed to separate shops.
“It was like a rabbit hole — doors were misaligned, it made no sense, it was totally disorganized,” Wheatley said of the Dymocks headquarters on the sixth floor. “It was almost as if an architect hadn’t looked at space for 100 years.”
She ran into another problem: because of its monumental status, the corridor that runs through the center of the headquarters and is recreated on each floor.
Dymock’s real estate director and finance director Cathy Tiberio said that compared to the old dark offices, now every staff member had natural light. “It’s a beautiful HQ that’s really authentic to the site,” Tiberio said.
The original partition walls have been retained, but removed at the windows to allow light into the offices and create an open-plan office.
Each floor of the building has elaborate and unique tiling in the marble floors and stained glass windows. On the tiles in the hallway of Dymocks headquarters is a fylfot, a symbol used by ancient civilizations. The fylfot’s legs face the opposite direction to the swastika used by the Nazis during World War II.
Signs on the walls tell visitors that the 1920s building’s architects incorporated the fylfot into the original floors as a symbol of well-being.
The location at 428 George Street has been used by Dymocks for over 130 years – making it one of the longest examples of continuous retail and office use by a single company in the state.
Dymock was unmarried and when he died his sister Marjory, wife of John Forsyth, was the beneficiary of his estate. Since then, the Forsyths have run the company.
The Morning Edition newsletter is our guide to the most important and interesting stories, analysis and insights of the day. Register here.