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Westspace Gallery Fitout, Melbourne

A front of house re-work features a reconfigurable desk and display unit that echoes the striking herringbone floor.

  • Client Brief

    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.

    Design Response

    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

    Key values

    • 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

    Key materials

    • Custom extruded and laser cut custom folded aluminium
    • Natural and colour anodising
    • Film face plywood (formply)
    • Ikea filing unit
    • Richmond Wheels castors
  • Westspace Specifications

    Core deliverables

    • Concept plan for front of house and desk
    • Documentation for fabrication of desk
    • Fabrication of timber elements

    Services Provided

    • Concept Design
    • Construction Documentation
    • Pricing
    • Fabrication
    • Installation supervision

    Architect

    Workshop Architecture

    People

    Project Team: Simon Whibley, Piran Reitze

    Client

    West Space

    Date completed

    In Development

    Location

    Melbourne CBD

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