This North Melbourne commercial interior space by March Studio has just won the Workplace & Retail Category Award at the recent Dulux Colour Awards. Architect Rodney Eggleston and his partner, artist Anne-Laure Cavigneaux are the founding directors of March Studio; the studios’ team of architects, designers and makers ensure that its enterprises have a multidisciplinary approach to its processes. And the hybrid design elements used at their own Abbotsford Studio are no exception to this collaborative approach.
The original design of the building is a ‘Japanese Brutalist’ building, that was designed by Eggleston/ Macdonald in 1972; coincidentally the original architect Robert Eggleston is a relative and is Rodney Eggleston’s grandfather’s, brother. Rodney chanced upon the space whilst doing a nearby site-visit and noticed a for-sale sign in the window.
Brutalist style buildings were a design-build movement that flourished from the 1950’s until the mid-1970’s; they commonly used cement and steel in their designs, were hugely practical builds and were known for their harsh appearance. These builds were typically seen in clusters and were often used as government spaces.
The aim of the redesign by March Studio was a softening of the interior – space. This was largely achieved by adding warmth and light through a deliberate experimentation of colour and texture. The monotony of the concrete walls was abated via painted architectural shapes in a large-scale mural style. Other raw finishes were added to compliment the original raw cement design such as ply and natural wood.
On entering the foyer, guests are greeted with an Orchard-Orange coloured ceiling that compliments original features like the popcorn ceiling, the raw cement walls and the warm wood wall-panelling.
This ceiling colour is also repeated upstairs where it frames interior blinds finished in a rainbow of complimenting soft colour tones.
The addition of the colour features and other raw material-finishes has created warmth and a seamless blend of the old and new. This transformation has improved the natural ergonomics of this space and extended the creative possibilities of this design. The fact that it was completed decades later by yet another clever Eggleston and his counterparts is wonderful and significant.