SJB Melbourne StudioMelbourne VIC Australia
After 40 years the inner suburbs of Albert Park, Port Melbourne, South Melbourne and Southbank, the SJB team moved its design studio into a heritage warehouse in a laneway in Melbourne’s CBD in July 2016. This move heralded a cultural shift within the organisation, responding to the needs of both our clients and team members, while also supporting the City of Melbourne’s strategy of retaining and celebrating the unique aspects of the CBD’s laneways through activation and diversity.
The warehouse building at 18 Oliver Lane is of architectural significance being the first conventional building in Australia constructed wholly of reinforced concrete. The building, completed in 1907, was designed and built by noted engineer, John Monash (later Sir John Monash) and builder/entrepreneur, David Mitchell (the father of Dame Nellie Melba).
The building’s materiality has been left to show through – brick walls, concrete ceilings and timber floors ensure the true texture remains clearly evident. Recessed arches, hexagonal columns and time-worn steps all remain. A monochromatic white palette forms the background of the interior scheme with details in black steel. Colour is introduced through feature walls painted in typical Bauhaus colours, patterned hand-woven rugs and an eclectic mix of furniture and accessories. Large timber framed windows along the east and west facades of the building ensure that break out spaces and meeting rooms (rather than private offices) enjoy the abundant natural light and views beyond.
Always intended to be more than a ‘working space’, the SJB studio has been designed to be spatially flexible, calm, yet inspirational – a New York/Soho loft with a Bauhaus twist.