Acknowledgement, diversity & empowerment

The design team proposed early on that it was important to provide appropriate representation of indigenous culture as an integrated and considered component within the project. This approach would also embody the company’s core values of diversity and inclusion.

As part of the process, we worked closely with Ausgrid’s Indigenous Representatives and indigenous artist Lucy Simpson to conceptualise imagery and design that would reflect Ausgrid as a business.

The Concept

Ausgrid is the largest distributor of electricity on Australia’s east coast, providing power to over 1.7 million customers. The conceptual foundations intuitively explored elemental forces in nature and ways of connecting narratives through energy.

Lucy is a Yuwaalaraay, Fresh Water woman from north west NSW, and as a designer her inspiration is driven from the natural world, memory and experience. Lucy’s conceptual research centred around traditional indigenous fire-stick farming and care of country. The concept evolved to look at lightning, the strike to the earth, the spark that ignites, and from that, the growth and the new life that is a timeless cycle.

In Yuwaalaraay this cycle is known as Baayangali and it means
‘the system in the natural world by which everything connects.’

Creative Execution

With a clear focus on lightning, spark and renewal as conceptual anchors, Lucy provided original designs to translate into the built space through environmental graphics, soft furnishings and a large-scale painted mural.

Through delicate reworking Lucy’s bold patterns were adapted to suit the various zones within the workplace. With a total of 19 floors to adorn it was necessary to allocate specific themes to grouped levels to meet project timelines. Fortunately, the artwork allowed for a variety of patterns within each theme to be explored to provide more opportunity within the storytelling.

The three connective themes were spread across the typical floors, with a bespoke combined theme applied to the executive floor. The graphics were applied throughout the levels to the boardroom and meeting room glazing panels, staff locker banks and connective walls.

The podium level which is used for community events and activities received an original hand-painted mural completed during NAIDOC week that was brought to life through another collaboration with renown muralist Meg Minkley.

The final location of the mural made good use of an otherwise large and unsightly mechanical bulkhead, however provided a unique canvas that echoed the physicality’s of the concept and completed a story unique to Ausgrid that begins above and rests underfoot.

Ausgrid was awarded Gold at the 2020 Sydney Design Awards for Graphic Design – Environmental category.
It was also a finalist in the 2020 AGDA Design Awards in the Spatial category.
Both of these awards celebrate creativity and innovation in the intersection of communication design and the built environment.

GroupGSA Graphics team:
Ant Newman – Graphic Lead
Barbara Beckmann – Senior Graphic Designer
John Dobie – Graphic Designer

Gaawaa Miyay
Lucy Simpson – Lead Indigenous Artist

A Drawing A Day
Meg Minkley – Muralist

Photography credits – Luc Remond
Video credits – Guerilla Creative

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