Abbotsford Office, March Studio
Architect: Rodney Eggleston
Image credit: Peter Bennets
Located in North Melbourne, March Studio have designed their own studio to test colour and pattern, as they have done before. Designed originally by Eggleston Macdoanld in 1972 for Wes Lofts and Ron Barassi, the original building is a striking ‘Japanese Brutalist’ building. However, with its brutalist style came very brutalist qualities. Colour has been used to transform and contrast the deep concrete tones and lack of natural light, creating a multipurpose environment of creativity and collaboration.
This agenda of softening the interior became the basis for the colour selection. Upon entering the foyer of the building, one is greeted with a ceiling of Orchid Orange that compliments both the colour and texture of the existing shutter board concrete and timber partitions. Making your way upstairs, the Orchid Orange is continued and paired with a simple Vivid White, applied to the existing block-work walls.
In 1972 Wes and Ron were fierce Carlton Footballers. Taking inspiration from this, an original blue Laminex bar, more akin to Yves Klein than the Dark Navy Carlton Blue has been faithfully restored. Here, March Studio have matched the bar with the Dulux International as a nod to local Victorian culture.
The investigation of colour continues throughout the office from the respecified venetian blinds to the repainting of the existing steel structure in a complimentary and very 70’s Woodland Brown. At the heart of the project lies the double height workshop that can be viewed from the office above on all four sides. Pivotal to the project are the Memphis-style graphics that fill the workshop space, designed by graphic designer Anne-Laure Cavigneaux and painted by sign writer, Martin Boyle.
The mural includes hints of the paint colours already used in the project as well as bright yellows, deep reds and cool blues that reflect the colours of the era when the building was designed. The space includes graphics inspired by historic dazzle ships and abstract portraits to break up the rectilinear space and make the workshop feel connected with the office and communal kitchen above.