Deakin University ManuFutures 2

  • area / size 32,292 sqft
  • Completed 2022
  • Location Geelong, Australia,
  • DesignInc created a space to reflect the innovation and creativity at Deakin University’s ManuFutures 2 in Geelong, Australia.

    An impactful arrival experience and spaces for networking are at the heart of DesignInc’s extension for Deakin University’s ManuFutures 2 hub at the Waurn Ponds campus in Geelong.

    Deakin engaged DesignInc to add 3,000sqm to support ManuFutures’ core mission of building capability in manufacturing through new training, services and facilities for entrepreneurs, start-ups and existing businesses.

    DesignInc Senior Associate Adrian Doohan said the design deliberately located the new Innoveering Centre with robot arms, 3D printers, lasers and other technical equipment for small-scale prototyping at the building entry to ‘showcase work in action’.

    ManuFutures 1, which opened in 2018, was designed by DesignInc with a modular design that allowed for the stage two expansion. The DesignInc team was keen to understand lessons from ManuFutures 1 when designing the second-generation building.

    “Listening to the team at Deakin and the experiences of the current tenant innovators and manufacturers, we resolved to go beyond enlarging the big-shed style set up,” Adrian said. “We were determined to add value by establishing a cohesive ManuFutures precinct and a gathering point for entrepreneurs.

    Early conversations focused on the vital elements of a place dedicated to innovation. A key design strategy was to break down insularity and offer more open and dynamic areas. The client agreed that central to the process of innovation and growth is the need for making connections, networking, and establishing organisational foundations that will support businesses development.”

    To link the building with Country, the DesignInc team connected with local Indigenous artist Billy-Jay O’Toole, a Wadawurrung man and artist whose work was already present on the Deakin University Waurn Ponds campus, to install a 44m graphic along the length of the ManuFutures 2 hallway to make a strong visual statement that connects hub and tenant spaces.

    A central node links ManuFutures 1 and ManuFutures 2 with breakout areas and collaborative workspaces that feel very different to traditional manufacturing spaces. The product development centre and six new adaptable tenant spaces allow new ventures to develop, field test and manufacture products to bring to market.

    For ManuFutures 2, DesignInc took the opportunity to incorporate innovative new building materials developed by FormFlow, a foundation tenant of ManuFutures 1. FormFlow is innovating with world-first technology to produce sharp bends in corrugated steel. From their core innovation, new building products, systems, and sustainability solutions are expected to emerge.

    Design: DesignInc
    Photography: Dianna Snape