Geoffrey Bartlett

TODAY we feature the uniquely colourful and creative home and studio of Melbourne sculptor Geoffrey Bartlett, in Collingwood.

Geoffrey shares his converted warehouse home with his daughter, Emily Bartlett, a talented photographer (who also shot and pitched us this story about her Dad!) and their dog Robbo!

Geoffrey’s sculptures are currently on show in an exhibition entitled 1988 – 2017, running until June 4th at Australian Galleries in Melbourne.


Lucy Feagins
Supported by Dulux

The Collingwood home of Melbourne sculptor Geoffrey Bartlett. Above – the formal living looking into the hallway, adjoining the dining room. Photo – Emily Bartlett.

The formal living room with tall Japanese-inspired doors, which lead to the master bedroom. Photo – Emily Bartlett.

Geoffrey has used bold colour throughout to delineate different zones within the warehouse. Geoff’s sculpture Study 3 (Revised) 2014 sits atop Danish cabinet. Photo – Emily Bartlett.

The formal living room adjoins the master bedroom. Self Portrait 1996 by Geoff, Danish couch c1970 and the cushions purchased on a recent trip to Istanbul. Photo – Emily Bartlett.

Geoff’s bedroom with walk-in-wardrobe. The bed linen is French and the Persian rug was purchased in the 1980s. The painting over hanging the bed is by Geoff’s close friend Roger Byrt. Photo – Emily Bartlett.

Geoff chose a reflective metallic finish around the fireplace area to separate it from the surrounding white walls. The Italian 1960s armchairs were reupholstered in French embossed floral fabric. Photo – Emily Bartlett.

The bookcase was originally built by Geoff in the 1990s, however it was later converted to a sculpture showcase for his own works and those of others. A sculpture by his close friend Gus Dall’Ava sits bottom centre. Photo – Emily Bartlett.

Geoff developed the showcases for this sculptures along with a bookcase, and chose contrasting black laminate. The leather couch setting is Swedish, purchased in 1990 from Design Warehouse. Photo – Emily Bartlett.

The upstairs entrance features Geoff’s sculptures Flight from Copper Temple 2013 (left) and Pineapple Beetle 2003, as well as antique Chinese cabinet,   Italian lamp c.1960, and print by John Neeson. Photo – Emily Bartlett.

Geoff’s art book collection was purchased during his many trips overseas. His sculpture Self Portrait With Head Dress Copper, 2012 sit on the marble bench top alongside a Gus Dall’Ava timber sculpture. Photo – Emily Bartlett.

The formal dining room features an Ironbark table made by Geoff in 2000 and Danish leather chairs from the 1970s. The 1920s French chandelier was a recent acquisition, and anchors the spacious open area. Photo – Emily Bartlett.

The recently renovated kitchen includes dark-stained timber floorboards, while the vibrant orange wall and white cabinetry act as a counter point. Geoff made the island bench using Tibetan Rosewood. Photo – Emily Bartlett.

Geoff features his collection of eclectic plates above the stove. One plate is given to him for his birthday each year! Vintage copper pendant lights by Jo Hammerborg. Photo – Emily Bartlett.

A section of Geoff’s studio on the ground floor. Shelves store his bronze moulds. Photo – Emily Bartlett.

Geoffrey Bartlett and his dog Robbo in his studio, on the ground-level floor of his Collingwood home, surrounded by his sculptures, which date back to 1988. Photo – Emily Bartlett.

Lucy Feagins
24th of May 2017

Geoffrey Bartlett purchased his enviable Collingwood warehouse back in 1990 (*sigh*), after seeking out a large, versatile space to accommodate his sculpture practice. However, it wasn’t until 2010 that he converted part of the building into his home – he now lives and works here, along with his daughters, using the ground floor as his sculpture studio.

Built in 1888, the building was initially a slipper factory. Later, it was used for the production of moleskin trousers (!), and then became a furniture factory. In the 1980’s it became vacant, until the building was residentially zoned in 1990, when Geoffrey discovered it.

Whilst on the hunt for a new studio space, Geoffrey came across this building quite by chance. ‘It was a hot summer’s day, up around 40 degrees, when I went past this vacant building,’ he recalls. There was no sale board up, but Geoffrey was overcome but the unique presence of this building. After sneaking a peek through a broken window, he immediately knew it was for him!

‘When I went into the building to look around, it had wonderful proportions, and I realised the ratio of the length, width and height were the proportions of the Golden mean,’ Geoffrey elaborates. ‘There is something about this, which sits well when you’re in a space’. Another drawcard was the flexibility of the building, and the potential to change it in the future – a consideration which definitely paid off when Geoffrey converted the upper levels into a residence in 2010.

Major renovations were required to turn the factory into a functional workplace and home. Rob McGauran of MGS Architects was originally enlisted to re-configure the space, though many additions since then have been driven by Geoffrey himself. It’s a uniquely versatile building – at present the ground floor houses Geoffrey’s studio, whilst his daughter Emily lives on the middle floor, and Geoffrey’s own home occupies the upper floor.

‘This building is unusual, and I’m really enjoying living and working in the same space,’ the artist says. Since moving in, Geoffrey has also been surprised to discover a deeper connection with his local neighbourhood. ‘I love the complexity and multidimensional nature of Collingwood, there’s a cacophony of mixed uses and a great variety of people, occupations and small businesses,’ he adds. As fellow Collingwood folk, we wholeheartedly agree!

1988 – 2017‘ by Geoffrey Bartlett
May 16 to June 4th
Australian Galleries
35 Derby Street, Collingwood, Melbourne

Sculpture, Bird In Flight 2007, by Geoffrey Bartlett on display in his Collingwood home/studio. Photo – Emily Bartlett.

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