Wurundjeri people of the Kulin nation
77 Gertrude Properties
200 m2 / 2,150 sf
Converting 77 Gertrude Street was an exercise in a careful peeling back of layers and restraint. The occupants, a mixed-use of creative practitioners, wanted to retain the charm of the terrace but add something less refined. The space now feels playful and exposed…enough to enable the occupants to get messy. Details, such as the Victorian window and doors frames, ceiling roses and cornices are selectively left in place and juxta-positioned against bold colour-field objects, unfinished surfaces and a resistance to neaten them up - allowing the imperfect nature of the materials to become evident. The space is meant to evolve over time, be added to by its occupants and the art, objects and furniture’s’ they create. A substantial collection already populates most spaces, showcasing work that inspires them.
A new kitchen plays with colour adjacencies and raw metal finishes and processes becoming the central communal space on ground floor. Upstairs a large shared meeting space with restored ornate marble fireplace looks out over a Magnolia tree on Gertrude Street. Reclaimed bluestone foundations are recycled informally as bench seating in the rear courtyard, under the large Bottle tree. Occupants are constantly surrounded by both the historic structure and its contemporary additions.
Continuing the theme of old/new - a mix of custom and found furniture was used throughout. A unique 2x2 metre square timber table, made entirely from reclaimed Oregon frames the front shopfront space and encourages a ‘round-the-table’ non hierarchical and collaborative conversation. Minimal steel-framed and coloured work desks offset a revealed brick wall in the ground floor studio, while mirror-finished white surfaces adorn the second storey studios. Simple, reduced light fittings without ornament are used to highlight the more decorative trimmings that were maintained.