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A Melbourne CBD Apartment That Embraces Its Industrial History

Architecture

Melbourne’s CBD is full of century-old buildings, but rarely do we get to see inside these gems!

This particular apartment is part of a former dressmakers’ factory on Little Bourke Street. Melanie Beynon of Melanie Beynon Architecture, and Megan Hounslow, both formerly of Meme Design, were engaged to renovate the space by the long-term owners, who saw potential for a better living experience. 

18th March, 2020

Melbourne Loft is a project by Melanie Beynon Architecture and Megan Hounslow – former co-directors of Meme Design. Stools from District Furniture. Photo – Tom Blachford

Steel framed window showcase the building’s factory heritage. Photo – Tom Blachford

Melanie has created a more open space with partitions instead of walls to define zones. Semi Pendant by Cult Furniture Dining table, chairs from Angelucci Furniture. Photo – Tom Blachford

Sculpture by Annette Saker. Artwork by Andrew Ashton. Photo – Tom Blachford

A large sliding glass screen divides the master bedroom and built-in robe from the living areas. Photo – Tom Blachford

The client’s – a couple – required only a certain degree of privacy. Photo – Tom Blachford

Stone bench tops by Studio Italia. Photo – Tom Blachford

Hand applied micro cement by SurfaceX. Linen towel by Safari Living. Photo – Tom Blachford

Industrial references continue in the bathroom. Photo – Tom Blachford

Functionality remained at the forefront of Melanie’s design. Photo – Tom Blachford

Linen bedding by Seneca Textiles, rug by Halcyon Lake, wall piece by Safari Living, chair from Angelucci Furniture. Photo – Tom Blachford

Amelia Barnes
Wednesday 18th March 2020

‘We saw the opportunity to open out the space and embrace the heritage of the building.’ – Melanie Beynon

This circa 1870 apartment in the heart of Melbourne’s CBD was originally a dressmakers’ factory, before being divided into units in the 1980s. Ten years after originally purchasing this apartment, the owners engaged Melanie Beynon Architecture and Megan Hounslow, both formerly of Meme Design, to finally overhaul its defined rooms, low light and minimal air movement. ‘They weren’t enjoying the living experience and saw there was potential to improve it,’ says Melanie. ‘We saw the opportunity to open out the space and embrace the heritage of the building.’ It was Melanie’s vision to strip back elements added in the 1980s renovation, and focus on the space’s interesting combination of Victorian and industrial features.

Drawing on New York City loft apartments for inspiration, Meme designed a more open space, with partitions instead of walls to define zones. A large sliding glass screen divides the master bedroom and built-in robe from the living areas to allow a degree of privacy, while introducing a dynamic play of light and movement. High ceilings, solid timber doors, and exposed brick add further visual interest, alongside powder coated metals softened by stained timbers and the stone bench tops tops. 

While adding a balcony to the apartment was unfortunately not allowed, Meme’s design activates the apartment’s windows and doors to better embrace the adjacent laneway. 

With the best of Melbourne’s CBD literally on this apartment’s doorstep, we can safely call this space an inner-city dream!

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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