20/06/2018 - 11:17

Sandover Pinder to connect with clients as Carabiner

20/06/2018 - 11:17

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After more than two decades as Sandover Pinder, the local architecture firm has changed its name to Carabiner – a rebrand its directors say better reflects the business as the link between clients’ needs and good design.

Sandover Pinder to connect with clients as Carabiner
Michael Henderson (left) with David Karotkin and Peter Giangiulio at the WAIS centre, which won the Public Architecture category at the 2016 Australian Institute of Architects WA awards. Photo: Ryan Ammon

After more than two decades as Sandover Pinder, the local architecture firm has changed its name to Carabiner – a rebrand its directors say better reflects the business as the link between clients’ needs and good design.

The practice was established in 1995, following the merger of Sandover Architects and Pinder & Partners. It provides architectural services across a range of building types, from sport and arts centres to hospitals, clinics, schools and airports in Western Australia and in Asia. 

Current directors Michael Henderson, David Karotkin and Peter Giangiulio, who have been involved with the firm since 1995, bought it in 2000 and kept the founding name until now.

Mr Karotkin said the rebrand of the practice had been under way for the past 12 months, with local advertising agency Meerkats. The name Carabiner refers to a type of shackle used to connect components, usually in safety systems, widely used by rock climbers.

“We wanted to be more visible,” Mr Karotkin told Business News.

“It started with an idea that we needed to actually get the message out about what we’re doing.

“The rebrand isn’t a sign to people that we’re changing, it’s a sign that we have evolved and will continue to evolve.

“Meerkats came up with a ‘visionary Sherpa’ concept – we take clients on the journey and guide them … out of that came Carabiner.  

Carabiner is more of a reflection of who we are; Carabiner is the link, it’s a beautifully designed piece of kit and essential to the journey.

“When you hook that clip on you want to know it’s going to do its job properly.”

Mr Henderson said the choice of Carabiner (over the more traditional use of principals’ names) was based on the desire to reflect the organisation as a whole.

“From our perception, the name reflects a much younger, dynamic brand,” he said.

“The focus isn’t on us individually but on the organisation as a whole.”

Mr Henderson said a name change wasn’t top of mind when the directors bought the business in 2000.

“We’ve always been so hard at the coalface that we’ve been more interested in what we’re delivering to clients than we have about our own image,” he said.

“We’re not rebranding for growth, we’re already growing at a pace that we’re comfortable with.

“This is more about allowing people to understand the diversity of what we’ve achieved. It complemented for me the fact we’re able to pull in multi-threads (of experience) and hold them together and lead.”

Technology and innovation, Mr Henderson said, were one of these multi-threads, with the practice specialising in the next generation of clinical facilities and the impact of telehealth on future building design.   

Mr Henderson said the practice’s work on the Western Australian Institute of Sport High Performance Service Centre in Mount Claremont was an example of Carabiner’s pursuit for innovation, with Mr Karotkin tilting a floor of the centre so that pole vaulters didn’t have to exert as much energy in the lead up to the jump during training sessions.

The firm has also designed the new Cockburn Aquatic and Recreation Centre (ARC), home to the Fremantle Dockers, as well as the Rugby WA Headquarters and the State Netball Centre.

The East Kimberley Airport, Mount Lawley High School and the 30-storey MRCCC Central Jakarta Cancer Hospital (the tallest hospital building in the Southern Hemisphere) are some of Carabiner’s other notable projects, with the team currently working on an integrated marine operation centre in Port Hedland.

The practice has also provided pro-bono services for the revamp of the WA Ballet Centre in Maylands, the North Cottesloe Surf Club, and the University of Indonesia Health Campus.

Mr Henderson said the business’s philanthropic endeavours extended to training and supporting the upskilling of doctors and nurses in Cambodia.

“We want people to be more aware that it’s not just architects sitting behind a drawing board; we have enormous community outreach,” he said.

“We’re not a big practice, we have 20 staff, but when you look at the output, not just our commercial work but also not for profit, we match it and lead most of the bigger organisations.

“We’ve built our own footprint different to the original founders; we’ve identified sectors within the market that we feel our capabilities, innovation and competencies will deliver better outcomes for the client, so I think the practice today is very different to what it was.”

Carabiner has two entries in the WA Institute of Architects Australia 2018 Awards: Cockburn Arc and new builds at HBF Arena that now house the West Perth Football Club and the Wanneroo Basketball Association, including new courts, function areas, player amenities and additional parking.

The awards will be held at St Georges Cathedral on Friday June 29.

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