Designing i2C Collingwood

Designing i2C Collingwood

Nestled in the quirky streets of Collingwood lives the Melbourne Team’s new home – the Interiors Studio’s proudest achievement!

It really is our proudest achievement, but it has also been our greatest challenge! Where do you even begin with the design of your own firm’s new studio?

We treated it like any other project and started with our WHY – “Inspiring ideas to enhance the human experience” This is such an integral part of our company philosophy so as the Interiors Studio we really felt the design of the office needed to embody this concept from every aspect.

We knew we ultimately wanted to create a space that encourages collaboration and cultivates creativity without feeling like a typical office environment. Beyond that, we needed to design a space that consciously became a place people actively wanted to spend time in. It is a well-known fact that the firm was quite literally built on beer. 19 years ago i2C was born when our two founders set up shop in an old pub, complete with its very own functioning beer tap! The tap has become quite an iconic feature (and sometimes integral to our most creative designs!) but most importantly, it represents the value of just sitting down for a chat. We believe the best work is done through human connection so this new space, whatever it became, needed to actively facilitate the bonding of the team professionally, but even more importantly on a personal level.

Designing i2C Collingwood
Designing i2C Collingwood

Now the fun part began! As an architectural practice, and a collection of right-brain thinkers, we all had a lot to say about what the design should be. You could almost say we were our own worst client!

After countless workshops, meetings, discussions, email threads and endless chats around the beer tap as to how exactly were we going to achieve this, the team came up with some amazing ideas! As the Interiors Studio, it was then up to us to collate all those ideas and bring them to life. It was a tough job, but somebody had to do it.

We took inspiration from the bones of the existing building we were soon to call home. 3/29 Cromwell Street was originally built as a two storey warehouse, all red brick, giant timber trusses and exposed steel. The raw nature of the industrial style really resonated with i2C as an architectural company, but in true i2C fashion we wanted to make sure our playful side also shone through!

Naturally, the team has grown along the way and with the growth came new inspiration and design thinking. Anyone who has visited our office lately will have seen the leafy green influences of our new Sustainability Lead, the savvy branding and visuals of our new Graphic Designer and the signature vibrancy of local Melbourne artist Bradley Eastman’s (Beastman) street art that has brought 3/29 Cromwell Street to life. Just the other day we spotted a couple taking wedding photos in our carpark with the mural as a backdrop!

Designing i2C Collingwood
Designing i2C Collingwood

Our office is and always will be a work in progress, but only two years in we’ve managed to make it feel like our home.

So come on in! Let’s take a closer look!

Behind the dynamic Beastman mural, through the weathered timber doors and up the stairs is a hive of life and activity!

Designing i2C Collingwood
Designing i2C Collingwood

The converted warehouse features a mix of raw materials and vibrant colours, with a strong essence of i2C’s playful and unconventional nature thrown in. The industrial aesthetic begins with a bold orange shipping container jutting into the open entry stairwell and follows through with bright, recycled accent furniture pieces where you least expect them. Pallets are scattered throughout the Studio in the form of wall claddings and partitions with expressed structural elements and exposed fittings complementing the existing raw timber roof trusses overhead. Underneath these you’ll find the team working away amongst the winding collaborative workstations, grouped and gathered together in their day-to-day functions.

It’s not all work and no play though! The vibrant façade of the building finds its way inside to the courtyard at the heart of the building, where Beastman’s vision really comes to life. The colourful, geometric mural is offset by lush planting features created by Plant Image. Our new Sustainability Lead is definitely a fan, spearheading a biophilic campaign with encouragement for more planting right throughout the interior. Watch this space!

Want to visit us? The door is always open! We can see you in our bright orange shipping container (aptly named ‘The Container’) that houses a meeting room equipped with the latest and greatest conferencing tech, or the ‘The Long Room’, our large boardroom with a handy large expanse of magnetic whiteboard – perfect for our no-holds-barred Friday morning Design Sessions! If you’re after something a little more low key we’ve got the sun-drenched mezzanine; pull up a repurposed beer keg and sit around our upcycled hot pink table with us. And if you hang around long enough we can sneak downstairs and pour a few cold ones from our in-house beer tap, we’ve even got a handy little courtyard beer garden nearby!

So how’s the fit?

Not bad if we do say so ourselves!

In all seriousness we’re pretty proud of what we’ve achieved. We’ve managed to successfully create a community rather than an office and through the collaborative design we’re able to work with freedom and flexibility not normally seen in the typical workplace. Our studio has noticed an increase in skill and knowledge sharing amongst young and old(er!) with the ‘open-door policy’ that the space embraces and regular creative collaboration amongst the team, taking our projects to the next level.

i2C Collingwood Studio

Associate, National Interior Design Manager, Magdalena Uscinowicz

Photography: Blake Brockdorff