Manunda Place, Darwin – Sissons Architects

Designed by Sydney based architects Sissons, Manunda Place is Darwin CBD’s newest commercial precinct.

Nestled in the heart of Darwin CBD, Manunda Place is a nine-storey mixed use tower, thoughtfully designed with a striking entry lobby, a roof terrace with panoramic views of the Darwin Town Centre and Darwin Harbour, and a cozy lobby café featuring NOMI’s Jasny side chair. We sat down with Nick Sissons, partner at Sissons Architects, to talk about their design inspiration for the project and to know more about their brand.

What is Sissons design ethos?

Our design approach is all about finding the key issue that is unique to the project, and using that as the generator for the creative concept. At Manunda, it was the idea of building in the tropics that provided the catalyst for our design response. We are also very keen about clearly expressing the uses of a building such that they can be easily understood by the casual observer. For us, the sunshades were a great example of the building expression being closely tied to its solar performance – we made the shades a distinctive earthy copper tone to relate to the geology of the Northern Territory.

What do you think is the key to good design? 

Asking questions! The more that is known about the site, the brief, the climate, the urban context, the better. We also spend a lot of time getting the diagram right – once the problem has been solved with a key move or element, then the rest falls into place. However, finding the key design move takes time and effort. Good clients give us the time to investigate all the options and permutations, and join us on this path of discovery, providing vital feedback at every step.

Tell us about your inspiration for Manunda Place. What elements and factors did you consider when designing this space?

Manunda Place was inspired by the top end – the tropical climate, the colour of the iron rich soils and the prevalence of lush planting. The site’s location presented an opportunity to regenerate this particular part of the Darwin CBD. It was previously occupied by a vacant building that added little to the streetscape and had effectively laid dormant for many years. We felt that there was an opportunity to reinvigorate the public domain with a high-quality building that provided generous shaded colonnades and widened footpaths to make it more welcoming. We were also very keen to assist with the re-greening of the city with new planting beds, street trees and upper balcony planting. This assists with the creation of cooler microclimates making the city a more comfortable and welcoming place to be. For us, the ground floor experience was a key component of our approach – the retail activation and the lobby café were seen to be opportunities for people to socialise, spend time and collaborate with others.

We’re thrilled to see you’ve incorporated the Jasny Side Chair into this project. What made you decide to select this piece for Manunda Place?

We have been long time admirers of the NOMI range and this project was the ideal opportunity to incorporate one of your designs into our lobby café space. Furniture selection is an important part of creating great architecture, and you can’t just choose any old chair. We wanted natural materials that were both beautiful and comfortable. For us, the Jasny Chair was the ideal choice, complementing the space with a subtle touch of design flair – we are delighted with the result.

Designer – Sissons Architects
Development Manager – Podia
Client – Sandran Property Group
Jasny Side Chair – Designed by Stephanie Jasny
Photography – Simon Whitbread

Explore the Jasny Side Chair


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