Westspace Gallery Fitout, Melbourne
A front of house re-work features a reconfigurable desk and display unit that echoes the striking herringbone floor.
West Space, one of Melbourne’s leading contemporary art spaces, wanted to renew their existing front and back of house areas – to extend the ways that the organisation could support their exhibiting artists, staff, and community. In addition to providing a variety of office, meeting and event spaces, the design also creates informal meeting and working areas within the front of house space.
We wanted to consider how the architectural identity of West Space could be considered separately to the space it occupies. After-all, its current location in Melbourne’s Bourke Street is the latest of three homes for the Artist Run Initiative that began 7km to the West of the CBD in Footscray.
The central question that arose from discussions with the client was how could the design support the creative community of West Space? How could it provide activity based workspaces for its employees, support the groups that use the gallery for presentations, film screenings and book readings, provide facilities for exhibiting artists to meet and work.
Given the natural funding constraints and to provide for a future that may elsewhere, our idea was to develop a rich architectural response from something that, in a very ordinary way, provides flexibility and consistency across many thousands of locations: the suspended ceiling grid.
Customising this off-the-shelf system into a spine of gold anodised aluminium panels, we developed a design that suspends not only lights, services, data and power cables, but also the work surfaces themselves.
In this way the diverse community of West Space, gathering around a computer screen or the opening night bar, are connected into this suspended infrastructure; an organisation using intensely, but enduring beyond, the physical space it occupies
Westspace Design Characteristics
- Single visual and configuration system
- Clear, simple concept related to location
- Flexibility and variety
- Simple, logical construction system
- Visually strong but not overwhelming exhibited work
- Custom extruded and laser cut custom folded aluminium
- Natural and colour anodising
- Film face plywood (formply)
- Ikea filing unit
- Richmond Wheels castors
- Concept plan for front of house and desk
- Documentation for fabrication of desk
- Fabrication of timber elements
- Concept Design
- Construction Documentation
- Installation supervision
Project Team: Simon Whibley, Piran Reitze
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