The Missing Link – How blurring lines between business and pleasure created a thriving community

Published October 19th, 2023

Written by MKDC Director Kath Kusinski and as published in Business News. Photography by Osprey and Sum Effect.

In 2017, Brightwater Care Group (BCG) had a vision: to bring the heart of their organisation and their people – both staff and residents alike – under one roof, putting into practice the values of Brightwater’s ‘one spirit philosophy’ to create authentic human connection.

Fast forward to today, the newly opened Brightwater Central in Inglewood, has expanded to become a three-storey building, with two levels of residental aged care sitting comfortably on top of the Brightwater Research and Corporate Services central office. The 128-bed aged care home has external gardens, balconies and courtyards, with access to services such as hairdressing gym and back-of-house amenities (kitchen, laundry) on the ground levels.

Award-winning interior designers, MKDC, who specialise in creating both aged care and corporate workplace environments, know what it takes to combine workplace and aged care design successfully, so it was a challenge they were well placed to accept.

Working with creative collaborators, architects MJA Studio, and their mutual client, they set out to create a one-of-a-kind, world class facility for Brightwater that successfully blended the best of both worlds – aged care and workplace design.

From the inside out, the designed the building drawing on their core philosophy, which centres around the idea that every building needs a heart and soul which ultimately sustains healthy, harmonious living and working. ‘The Link‘ space plays a pivotal role in redefining how to successfully do both.

So what is The Link?

The Link is the space that physically unites and connects aged care residents living over the two storeys above, with the wellness hub and corporate offices – the central entry point to the whole building.

It’s a metamorphic space, functioning like a Swiss army knife of place-making experiences; a beautiful welcoming arrival hall, self-serve concierge as well as a friendly face at the welcome desk, a café and collaboration hub, remote co working space, conference and function space – or anything else you might imagine it can morph into.

Purposefully designed to embody joy and comfort for everyone who uses the space, The Link offers a diverse, inclusive and intergenerational hub which supports connection and spontaneous human interaction – both of which epitomise the key indicators of best practice design for aged care and workplace design. And, even though people live and work on the campus, the need for intimacy and space to retreat is thoughtfully featured in many areas.

Keeping in mind The Link’s broad audience and their many needs, its interiors have been masterfully planned drawing from MKDCs heft bag of design tricks they’ve gathered and honed over the years. Depentia design principle, biophilic design, best-practice diversity and inclusion design factors, and designing for innovation have all been smartly integrated to create a beautifully duality accommodating future growth and intimacy.

This translates to a mix of furniture types, placed strategically to create different experiences. Be it for reflection in solitude or togetherness, each piece is specified for comfort, support and enablement, with natural timbers and fabrics that are aged care appropriate. The colours and shapes were chosen for their universal and organic natural appeal while maintaining contract for those with visual impairment to ensure safety and easy wayfinding.

The space also gives access to gender neutral ambulant powder rooms, complimentary tea making facilities, and a discreet cafe for those wanting something more substantial to eat. It can accommodate large stand-up corporate functions of up to 300 for morning teas and cater for resident movie nights or community art exhibitions, making The Link a functionally versatile and beautifully ambient space for people to enjoy in their own way.

With connection to nature top of mind, The Link also cojoins adjacent parkland at either end. So much so that the dogs from the park pop their keen noses in from time to time, much to the merriment of Brightwater residents and staff!

The combination of all these elements has really brought this community atmosphere to life, blending people’s experiences, movements and sounds inside a generous space. Whether it’s to find solace in a comfortable lounge or share stories with friends and family, everyone is welcome at The Link.