Warren and Mahoney Melbourne Studio

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Warren and Mahoney’s new Melbourne Studio celebrates its authentic anchoring within Wurundjeri Country whilst acknowledging its New Zealand Māori heritage.

Situated within the newly renovated Queen and Collins precinct, it identifies the strong synergies and coming together of both cultures, counterposing an iconic neo-gothic backdrop. In a world first, the new studio is conceptualised on strong cultural narratives which bring together First Nations and Te Ao Māori perspectives. Upon entry, the tri-cultural thinking reveals the cultural depth with distinctive hand painted artwork, inspired by Country, inscribed onto the original concrete columns set against the striking gothic arched windows. These illuminated columns create a journey of mnemonic markers that lead you a through a spectrum of workplace experiences.

The arrival experience welcomes staff and visitors into this deeply layered social space, embracing togetherness and diversity. It is a multimodal space where we can showcase our work, celebrate our success, eat, talk and listen. At the centre of the 690sqm workspace footprint, the convergence of two cultures is amplified - a collaboration zone cloaked with interwoven charred timber planks which reference traditional fire burning practices and geometric patterns from both cultures.

Entering the central space through either of its its dual portal uncovers an energised space lined with richly coloured and highly patterned acoustic panels. The patterns etched are an expression of breaking barriers, encouraging original thought, extraordinary diversity and collaborative outcomes which design deserves in these times.

The workplace design strategy was influenced by a series of workshops with our local team and our international workplace experience. It incorporates a variety of workplace etiquettes that serve the needs of our clients and our team, ranging from vibrant to introspective, ‘Showtime’, ‘Airtime, ‘Playtime’ and ‘My Time’. These are manifested in a unique way in Melbourne, allowing us to choose places to create, celebrate, collaborate, or meditate as each day evolves. Spaces incorporate intelligent technology that enables seamless connection with clients and collaborators whether small or large; and with teams within Warren and Mahoney’s “One Studio’ network of offices; any of whom could be located remotely in the post pandemic age.

The material palette is highly tactile and reference experiences of nature, colours and textures of Wurundjeri Country. Spotted gum timber encapsulates the glazed walls of meeting rooms; deep green accent tones line the entry and social spaces, and ochre tones glow within the central jewel of the collaboration zone. Folded linear wall panelling provides visual richness and high quality acoustics - all underpinned by a calm neutral backdrop which allows the key cultural signifiers to be enhanced throughout the space.

The cultural expression is nuanced, echoing history and memory, while evoking a Country centred approach rich in meaning, encoded rather than interpreted. This new dynamic space acts as cultural lens to enhance experiencing togetherness, a deeper understanding of land and context - grounded in heritage and future focused.

Designed in partnership with Jefa Greenaway, Cathy Drosinos-Greenaway and Maya Wong of Greenaway Architects

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