• DEDECE SHOWROOM Darlinghurst, Sydney, Australia | 1996 - 1997

    The conversion of the ground floor of a mid century concrete framed commercial building to a furniture, lighting and tapware showroom with associated warehouse, carparking and office space is an exercise in reduction and reinstatement, returning the space to its original raw and robust state, then carefully adding elements essential to the functioning of the space, but without loss of the clarity and integrity of the original.

    Partitioning, false ceilings and blue aluminium shopfront glazing were removed, existing steel framed windows on Crown Street were retained, while those on Liverpool Street were removed and the openings lowered to floor level to allow for the insertion of a new steel framed shopfront to match the original windows.All existing lighting and services suspended from the concrete slab above were removed to highlight the concrete beams and column structure, with very simple lighting tracks located along the centreline of each bay allowing maximum flexibility in furniture layout.A central wall separates the showroom from back of house areas with a horizontal slot to the office area forming the reception and sales desk.A horizontal datum was established at the underside of the concrete beams, which is marked with a continuous shadowline, running around the entire space.All doors and windows go full height to this datum, with the doors in the dividing wall treated as pivoting wall panels of very large dimension. This scaling up of the elements to match the size of the space was particularly important in the design of the Crown Street window display. Due to the slope of the street the rear of the showroom is almost subterranean, with the existing windows following the slope and becoming increasingly larger as they approach Liverpool Street.With the enormous volume of traffic passing down the street these windows are extremely important for the display of furniture.A simple solid stepped platform would have sufficed but in order to develop a two tier display, taking advantage of the area below window height, a row of over scaled display tables of differing heights was developed allowing furniture to be displayed on the table tops to the passing traffic while also displaying small suites of furniture under these tables, lit by lighting concealed within the table structure.

    To emphasise the space and form rather than detail, the entire space is painted white on all surfaces, and providing an almost seamless transition between the planes of wall, floor and ceiling an off white epoxy resin has been poured over the original concrete slab.This is very much the neutral container, allowing the furniture to take centre stage.

    Photographer: Ross Honeysett

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