Repurposing a Melbourne warehouse

by SUZANNE MIAO on May 16, 2012 in Interiors
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A refurbished former warehouse in the up-and-coming Collingwood district of Melbourne symbolises the ongoing transformation of what was once an inner-city industrial area

Sometimes, it’s the little things which make the difference. And then other times, it’s the big things – like the double-height feature wall at the new offices of Skilled Medical in Melbourne. ‘Quirky’ doesn’t quite cover it, made as it is of old doors salvaged from the demolition of the previous fit-out of the space. “We had a lot of doors, but not a lot of rooms, but we really wanted to figure out a way to work with the old doors,” says Donald Holt, founder of Melbourne-based Hola (Projects), which also has an office in Hong Kong.

This the team did by stacking them vertically on top of each other, two doors high. Needing to mitigate between the architecture and the workspace, the wall of doors becomes a backdrop. “One door is actually functional,” adds Hold, “as it provides access to the IT room.”

The interiors devised by the Hola team – which also includes the company’s co-founder Chris Lalogiannis (who heads up the Hong Kong office), as well as Hilary Brand, Joey Law and Thomas Burless – are many things. Raw, assembled, bespoke, salvaged, functional and, perhaps more so than anything else, humorous. See, for example, the chandelier in the conference room, assembled of polycarbonate light tubes to resemble a many-pointed star, designed by Burless and dubbed ‘the Dondelier’ after Holt.

He and Lalogiannis say the overall ‘look’ of the space is specific to this particular client, the result partly of a unique situation in which Skilled Medical had actually purchased the entire building and therefore had a deeply vested interest in how the space was devised. “We were very lucky as the client was completely engaged and wanting to contribute and be involved,” says Lalogiannis. “It made a huge difference.”

Read the full story, ‘What’s old is new’, in the June 2012 issue of Perspective magazine!