ICC Sydney Interiors
Convention and Exhibition Centers
ICC Sydney is Australia’s bold new International Convention, Exhibition and Entertainment precinct, at Darling Harbour, designed by HASSELL + Populous. The challenge was to create a cohesive whole with the three world-class venues, while at the same time giving each building its own identity.
The scale of the buildings also challenged us to ensure they were outward looking if that was possible or else we celebrated this scale in an imaginative way. We embraced the large internal volume of ICC Theatre with its “black box” auditorium, wrapping the building in a layered mesh façade to provide visual depth through an ever-changing play of light through reflections and shadows.
The form, colours and material choices of all three buildings take reference from their location echoed in the Interiors of each building providing an innovative yet cohesive solution.
The cool, reflective style of the convention centre mirrors the natural beauty of its waterfront setting. Silvers and whites along with cool grey and blue hues for the interiors reference the colours of the harbour and reflected sunlight. The material palette is purposefully neutral to ensure any event is the focus but native Spotted Gum timber is used to balance this, providing warmth and richness. Signature spaces such as the Grand Ballroom contrast the neutrality with a deliberate identity. An impressive 3,000m2 event space, the Grand Ballroom is able to host 2000 people for banquets and commands spectacular views of the city skyline while featuring a ceiling of mirror-polished blades to invoke the memory of chandeliers, reinterpreting the grandeur of Ballrooms past.
The Exhibition Centre is inspired by Tumbalong Park as well as the heritage of the site, which once housed trading docks and warehouses. The Centre’s enormous scale of nearly 100,000m2 is camouflaged by the landscape terraces that reference the heritage topography but help reduce the overall visual size of the building. Its material palette uses timber greens and browns to draw the Parklands in, while whites, blacks and greys throughout the massive halls promote a strong graphical but minimal environment, allowing exhibition event branding to be the star. Again, the Spotted Gum timber makes a subtle connection to the native landscaping while also being very hard wearing.
ICC Theatre is informed by the gritty urbanity of surrounding suburbs combined with the vibrant energy of housing Sydney’s largest concert venue and balanced with the surrounding landscape of the Chinese Garden of Friendship. The interiors use strong reds, referencing the red carpets and curtains of yesteryear, but also symbolizing the vibrancy of the action inside. At night, the rest of the building recedes and the illuminated red interior public spaces project to the outside world.
ICC Sydney is Australia’s premier convention, exhibition, and entertainment precinct. In its highly successful first year, ICC Sydney delivered 755 events in 2017, generating $785 million in delegate expenditure, of which almost $560 million came from visitors outside Sydney. ICC Sydney also demonstrated global leadership with Darling Harbour Live consortium members winning 25 awards and accolades that recognise excellence in design and venue management.