LocationNorthcote VIC, Australia
Design TeamQuino Holland, Giuseppe Demaio and Ben Keck
Designed In Collaboration and Built byWes Old, Mark Coules, Lachlan Chapman and Maxi Walker
Text description provided by the architects. Assemble designed our studio in Northcote. Our aim was to create a low cost, flexible workspace that would be an inspiring workplace. As a company with design at its core, we felt it was important to use our studio as a kind of three-dimensional showcase for our design capabilities and sensibility.
As architect and builder, we negotiated the design and construction through an organic process in which the design and detailing of the fit-out were improved upon and adapted as the build progressed, making use of the expertise and craftsmanship of the Local Spaces tradesmen while incorporating as much ‘unskilled labour’ (the Assemble team) as possible.
The main feature of our studio, the ceiling is a geometric form comprising triangular, origami-inspired folds of timber battens. The existing ceiling was cluttered with pipes, ductwork, air-conditioning units, smoke detectors and fire alarms – a bit of an eyesore. We wanted to conceal this labyrinth of pipes and tubing while still allowing everything to function. The ceiling design grew out of a process of experimentation, folding different sculpted origami forms in paper. The eventual design was composed of five triangles mirrored and repeated eight times across the length of the ceiling.
All the custom-built furniture in the studio is on castor wheels so it can easily be shifted and the space reconfigured for events and design workshops.
Exposed concrete can be both beautiful and energy-saving. So, we decided to leave the side walls and front part of the ceiling just as they are. This allows the space to benefit from the sun’s rays and the thermal mass effect and we also like seeing ‘the bones’ of the building. In keeping with this ‘inner beauty’ vibe, we’ve also left the marks and notes on the walls made by the builders during construction. The concrete floor slab has been cleaned and sealed with a low VOC concrete sealer. All the joinery is build from sustainably harvested hoop pine plywood. The ceiling battens are also sustainably harvested hoop pine ply. All timber has been white-washed and sealed with a low VOC clear finish. The desktops are finished with Marmoleum, an old fashioned flooring material made from linseed oil and natural pigments. The large windows mean that the space is flooded with natural light all day which means we rely very little on electric lighting.
Assemble also has Assemble Papers, a very interesting online publication exploring small footprint living across art, design, architecture, urbanism, the environment & finance.