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From Fishmonger To Finessed Interior Design Studio

Work Space

The word ‘transformation’ can sometimes be a bit hackneyed in the design world. But when we’re looking at a space that was once a fishmonger in a hard-edged, industrial street, but is now the delightful home of Adelaide Bragg & Associates, it couldn’t be more appropriate!

We spoke with owner/director Adelaide about the evolution of her business across three decades, their first three months in their beautiful new HQ, and the launch of the Bragg & Co furniture range.

5th February, 2019

The new Adelaide Bragg & Associates office. Photo – Lisa Cohen.

Adelaide Bragg founded her eponymous interiors design and decoration firm in 1989. Photo – Lisa Cohen.

‘We are known for timeless, classic interiors, and this is a constant,’ she tells. Photo – Lisa Cohen.

The firm was renting space in Hawthorn but was quickly running out of room,  and so relocated to Cremorne in November 2018. Photo – Lisa Cohen.

The inspiration wall. Photo – Lisa Cohen.

The office is largely open-plan, bar a kitchen and a meeting room. Photo – Lisa Cohen.

Adelaide is known for her love of colour and pattern. Photo – Lisa Cohen.

The inspiration wall is an ‘organic visual feast of colours pattern, texture and ideas’. Photo – Lisa Cohen.

The Adelaide Bragg & Associates team. Photo – Lisa Cohen.

The firm recently expanded to include furniture line Bragg & Co, after seeking designs that would layer colour and texture in their projects. Photo – Lisa Cohen.

Adelaide hopes to add a furniture showroom to the space in coming months. Photo – Lisa Cohen.

Elle Murrell
Tuesday 5th February 2019

‘We love the proximity to the CBD, and the fact that we are surrounded by other creatives, all hidden behind gritty facades.’ – Adelaide Bragg.

From what you’ve just seen it’s going to be pretty hard to imagine this space as an fish shop or even an old garage! But that’s what Adelaide Bragg and her team of interior designers and decorators were working with, when they set out to move their office.

Stacked full of luxury cars, the previous incarnation of the building also housed a little flat with modest kitchen and bathroom. After a major interior overhaul, and the addition of a mezzanine, the space today hosts Adelaide Bragg & Associates on the open-plan top floor, with adjoining kitchen and meeting room, through which continually flow through’.

The ground floor is presently a depot for Adelaide’s new Bragg & Co furniture venture, but will soon become meeting rooms and sample showrooms for this latest arm of the business.

Adelaide, tell us a little about your namesake interior design and decorating business, and how it has evolved since you launched in 1989?

We are known for timeless, classic interiors, and this is a constant. My interiors are very considered, creating the foundations so to speak, with good quality furnishings, which although influenced by fashion, are not overtly on trend, allowing the rooms to continue to evolve over time. Naturally, there will be nods to fashion and with my love of pattern and colour, they are certainly never dull, but they are definitely timeless.

My latest venture, Bragg & Co, has been a natural extension of the business. So often I found myself frustrated when trying to source the perfect lamp, or perfect side table – particularly when seeking to layer colour and texture; it seemed a natural extension to design and produce my own product line. We have a selection of raffia covered furniture, including bedside, eterge, console and coffee tables, in a glorious array of colours and also available in a high gloss paint in any Dulux colour. We look forward to increasing our range, particularly concentrating on items not currently available in Australia, with great excitement!

last year you relocated the business from Hawthorn to Cremorne; What prompted this move?

With strong business growth, we were fast running out of room! Tired of renting, it seemed a natural next step to invest in our own space. We were attracted to Cremorne for its proximity to the city and the grungy-but-creative environment, including many other designers.

What are some of your favourite features of your new HQ?

My favourite feature of our current space, and the one which most people immediately respond to, is the wonderful natural light – so important in design!

We have recently installed our inspiration wall, which is an ever-changing and organic visual feast of colours pattern, texture and ideas. This fills the wall behind my workspace and the whole team often refer to it and add to it.

Open plan is key – it means everybody communicates and all are aware of what is going on in the business – design is such a collaborative affair and good communication is essential.

Most people who visit have the same reaction upon first arrival: the light! And again, they love the unexpectedness of the lovely space in juxtaposition to the industrial looking street. With the elegant yet simple wallpaper softening its hard edges, and our lovely little internal courtyard, it feels welcoming and happy.

What kind of atmosphere have you’ve tried to create here?

Although the office does have some Adelaide Bragg touches, such as the raffia-covered walls, and of course, an ever-changing range of Bragg & Co lamps and tables, we have purposefully kept our environment light and simple – nothing to distract or interfere when creating schemes.

Now you’re set up in your beautiful space, what are you turning your attention to next?

I have a feeling of true excitement and anticipation surrounding Bragg & Co. Now that we have made the leap (which was a little daunting at first) I feel it is just the beginning – there are so many possibilities – and I so look forward to seeing our range evolve and expand.

Design wise, I am very much looking forward to this year, and the future – business is strong and I have the most wonderful clients with exciting projects giving me not only a lot of design freedom, but also the ability to shop around the world, which is inspiring.

Again, I am at a stage in my career, whereby I am in a constantly evolving space and business, which gives me the chance to start to give back and share my knowledge and experience; to develop young and talented women who are starting or growing their careers. I had the benefit of learning from a wonderful mentor when I first started and I feel it is my duty but also the greatest pleasure to perpetuate that generational learning.

Type of space

Two-storey retail and open-plan workplace

Number of employees

10

Moved in

November 2018

Key contributors in this fit-out

Our business now employs a wonderful range of creative expertise, with excellent technical skills combined with free-thinking passionate creatives. Kevin McCarthy, our builder, is a fixture. We love him. Our needs are always evolving meaning we continue tweaking our space.

An office should be…

Flexible! Based upon my own experience as a full-time working mother, it is important to me that my workspace is a welcoming, supportive culture for working women.  I would think that all of ‘my girls’ would agree that we have accomplished that. I think of it as a ‘soft’ office.

There’s flexibility that allows people to manage both their personal/family and working lives around the office. I also think that generational support is so very important – my staff is made up of older women such as myself, with teenage children, women in their 20s and 30s just starting their families and younger women at the beginning of their careers being able to see that it is possible to have children and continue their career.  We even have a grandmother, our wonderful bookkeeper – the sharing of knowledge between the generations is enriching for all.

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The Design Files acknowledge the Traditional Custodians of the lands on which we work, the Wurundjeri people of the Kulin Nation. We pay our respects to Elders past and present.

First Nations artists, designers, makers, and creative business owners are encouraged to submit their projects for coverage on The Design Files. Please email bea@thedesignfiles.net