Reduce, Reuse, Recycle


The construction industry is responsible for a quarter of all CO2 emissions worldwide. Therefore, in addition to energy-efficient buildings, sustainable interior-design solutions are also increasingly being sought after. The sustainable and resource-friendly design of real estate company Kernel Property’s own offices is an inspiring interpretation of the famous reduce, reuse, recycle motto.

Kernel Property’s unusual approach to design with strong color contrasts is evident even before you enter the offices. Photo: John Marmaras

Generator of innovative ideas

When Steve Urwin came to Sydney more than 30 years ago, he was the construction manager of the high-rise at 1 O’Connell Street. And this is the very same building that houses his innovative real-estate company, Kernel Property, today. During his quest for the perfect base, Urwin was seeking somewhere that reflected his company’s values in terms of the interior design. In other words, he wanted to embrace and adapt the existing design to requirements instead of replacing it with something new. In the end, the company found the perfect solution in a former generator room. They repurposed the space and literally turned it into a generator of innovative and inspiring ideas.

Despite being transformed into offices, the industrial charm of the generator room is still apparent. Every item of furniture tells a story. Photos: John Marmaras

A second life

Kernel Property’s resource-friendly approach to design plays a key role in its own workspaces. The office is furnished with high-quality materials, most of which have been reconditioned. The carpeting and glass partition walls to the conference room came from a demolished office and are reused here. The wooden sections on the inside are made of what were once library shelves and the decking on the patio comes from the refurbishment of Urwin’s own home.


The task chairs in Kernel Property’s offices haven’t been reused but are made to last and last. The company picked Wilkhahn’s classic FS-Line, which turns 40 this year and is considered a prime example of sustainable product design. This chair lasts and lasts, requires hardly any maintenance and can therefore be passed on to other generations. Because instead of just providing or selling new office chairs, Wilkhahn has been giving customers the option of having existing models revamped and updated for decades. But it wasn’t just the sustainable aspects of the FS-Line chair that impressed Kernel Property, its ergonomics and timeless elegance are a perfect match for the office concept, comments Kai Schindlmayr, workplace director at Kernel Property:

The FS-Line Chair has been a valuable component of our workspace for many years. The chair is lightweight to maneuver but extremely durable and tough. Our staff find the chair very comfortable and the ability to recline comes in handy when we are stuck sitting for long periods. What I really love about the FS chair is its smooth lines and profile, a great option for any type of workplace. For us, the chair is simple and easy to use, without any complicated adjustments or levers. Our office is a well known component of the Kernel brand, we have reused and recycled nearly all our furniture. For us the Bauhaus aesthetic of the FS chair integrates well into our overall identity.

Multifaceted transformation

In addition to the innovative and sustainable design, the room wows with its ability to adapt. Because the office can be turned into an event space for around 100 attendees in no time. The screens are attached to a motorized winch system that pulls them up into the ceiling. The Confair folding tables by Wilkhahn (design: Andreas Störiko), which can be folded up, repositioned or rolled to one side in just a few easy steps to clear the space completely, are ideal in this case.


Kernel Property’s sustainable concept proves that repurposed rooms, reused materials and timeless office furniture are more up to date then ever. At the same time, they also have their own particular charm because each and every detail has its own story.

The Confair folding tables can be folded up and rolled to one side in a few easy steps to turn an office into a venue for events. Photos: John Marmaras

Further information

This video shows how the office becomes an events venue.


Take a look at the booklet, published to mark the 40th anniversary of the FS-Line.


Our 2020 – 2022 Sustainability Report with Environmental Statement and the updated 2021 Environmental Statement give you a comprehensive overview of why, how and with what impact on people and the environment Wilkhahn office furniture is designed, produced and sold.


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