Text description provided by the architects. Showcasing the creation of a new life for an old building, Landini Associates brief was to restore the former Collingwood industrial warehouse into the new headquarters base for T2.
The aim was to respect and celebrate the original building, while creating a dramatic statement to represent the T2 company’s ethos. Throughout the building, timber beams, columns and brick walls were sandblasted to bring back their original finish whilst a few scuffs and marks are kept as a remembrance of its history. This was contrasted with T2’s trademark dark,streamlined pallet. Perceived constraints were turned into an advantage, exploiting various levels within the warehouse while designing a unified space. This was due to the site being located on a sloped block through to the rear street andresulted in the creation ofdifferent arrival experiences for both the public and staff.
With the street frontage lower than the general entry, the public is welcomed into the space through an oversized steel framed pivot door into a double height space. Led by concrete steps, guests are greeted by an oversized T2 logo lit by incandescent light bulbs.To the left of the entrance is a Tea Bar/reception, an informal place to stop, drink and chat to guests, personifying T2’s identity. This space also acted as the trial concept for T2’s latest tea-retailing concept T2B, which similarly features a large cast concrete barand Tea Library.
The staff entry is from the upper level rear car park, from where they walk down onto a catwalk in the center of the office warehouse.This acts as the sites backbone, yet separates the space into two, housing different junctions of the business. Both sides of the catwalk feature different faces. One, a cleanfaçade featuring sleek black steel panels that hidethe catwalk, while the other with a timber panels concealing storage systems.
While the rawness and industrial experience is continued upstairs in the tea making, tasting workshop and CEO’s office, a completely different colour palette is employed. Here a white, clean space encourages light and nature to enter the room through the opened windows. The development marks a new era for T2, providing an innovative and functional office space that reflects a deep understanding of culture, urbanity, and of course, celebrates the centuries-old art of tea-making.