A Warehouse Conversion with an Edge
Pitch Architecture + Developments has transformed a remnant of Richmond’s industrial past into their bright and social new office space
Located on a tranquil tree-lined thoroughfare among residential homes in Melbourne’s vibrant and multicultural Richmond, an old commercial kitchen warehouse has been converted into an open-plan and characterful office space by and for Pitch Architecture + Developments. ‘As architects, we spend a lot of our time in the office, creating, drawing and problem solving. It’s important that the staff work in a functional and relaxing environment so they can feel comfortable and relaxed enough to create, push boundaries and maximise their potential,’ says Alex Chan, business director of Pitch.
A large graffiti mural by local street artist SET IT OFF of Maddie, Jedy and Betty, the company directors Bo and Alex’s three dogs, adorns the building’s exterior. ‘Our approach to work is accurate but easy going at the same time, the journey in architecture and construction is often demanding, so why not enjoy ourselves in the meantime,’ Chan shares when asked about the mural.
Inside, the design team has created an open-plan layout with a large kitchen and a games room, with most of the first floor space reserved for a communal relaxation area, all of which reflects the studio’s character and philosophy of ‘relaxed, efficient and collaborative with a flat office structure’.
The bare concrete surfaces were replaced with organic design features such as a curving stairwell, a raised platform floor of raw birch plywood and a large cylindrical void that feeds natural light into the main office space.
The pared back and simple palette was chosen to highlight the site. ‘Being in an old commercial kitchen warehouse, we wanted to use natural materials to reflect the rawness of the existing fabric of the space, while using the natural tone and texture of the materials to add warmth and diversity to the space,’ Chan explains. ‘Birch plywood flooring, joinery and wall panelling pair with natural seagrass sisal flooring to create a strong contrast with the existing brick walls and give a warm and relaxed vibe.’
‘We love the rawness and natural changes of these materials over time. The unpredictable nature of marble patterns and plywood’s variations through colours and tones make us appreciate that no one piece is the same. In some way, this is also how we see every staff, client and job as different from one another; we appreciate and celebrate the differences,’ Chan concludes.
Text / Babette Radclyffe-Thomas
Images / Ben Hosking