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BAR Studio revives heritage

An iconic Collingwood building has been repurposed by BAR Studio into a collaborative and convivial workspace, for a creative roster of tenants to share.

BAR Studio revives heritage

The revered Collingwood building has led many lives. Originally occupied as a wool store, then a chocolate factory, a server farm and even an all-night rave venue – among many other unique tenants – the building also previously housed Everfresh Studio, an Australian street art pioneer, as well as the community radio station PBS and the fashion brand managers Easey Street Group, reflecting the dynamic evolution of the neighbourhood.

The international hospitality design studio, BAR Studio, reconfigured the building. With stewardship over this local landmark, the designers repurposed the space into a contemporary work environment. The building now stands as a collaborative village in the city’s creative quarter, where a community of accomplished creatives, makers and designers co-inhabit.

BAR Studio revives an iconic Collingwood building

BAR Studio preserved the industrial building by giving it a new lease on life, contributing to the ongoing evolution of the neighbourhood. The studio occupies the first floor of the two-story corner building, while the ground floor hosts a curation of public-facing tenants. Renovations and inclusion such as the fresh glazing and extended windows, facilitate a stronger connection between the interior spaces and the street.

As a hub for creative endeavours, the building nurtures partnerships among tenants, local designers and fabrication partners. The space is versatile, potentially hosting education programs, internships, festivals, exhibitions, and events, all supported by strategically placed social areas.

Related: How BAR Studio achieved a mid-pandemic international expansion

BAR Studio revives an iconic Collingwood building

A laneway entry, courtyard and vibrant street art encapsulate the convivial neighbourhood atmosphere. Inside, graffiti art from the building’s previous life as the home of Everfresh Studio —famous for incubating Melbourne’s Street artists — still embellishes the exposed walls, including notable Rone stencil works. An outdoor terrace fosters social interactions and is adorned with native and introduced food plants, paying homage to the area’s urban community gardens and commitment to sustainable living.

Retaining the historic shell of the Collingwood warehouse and renovating the interior amenities, 47 Easey Street stands as an exemplar of adaptive architectural reuse and green building practice. The studio was passionate about retaining the spirit of the building while converting it into highly functional offices optimised for sustainable operational efficiency. BAR Studio engaged local sustainability consultants HIP V. HYPE to guide the sustainability strategy for the project, before appointing repurposing-focussed contractor Revival Projects to deliver the build. Existing materials from the site – namely the brick, timber, concrete, metal and hardware – were respectfully salvaged and reused.

BAR Studio revives an iconic Collingwood building

The fully insulated shell, including thermal windows and rooftop solar panels with battery storage for the generated power, facilitates minimal draw on grid-sourced green power. Enhancing the natural light infiltration and ventilation, the design includes operable windows, a light courtyard, a deck, surrounding greenery trees and garden spaces with walkways, to promote well-being and a connection to the outdoors. Reuse flows into the interior design too, with items accumulated from BAR’s first two Melbourne studios worked into the scheme, alongside new furniture from Stellar Works and custom fixtures from KLS Lighting.

BAR Studio

Peter Bennetts, Paul Barbera

BAR Studio revives an iconic Collingwood building
BAR Studio revives an iconic Collingwood building
BAR Studio revives an iconic Collingwood building

Next up: Art and design with Alexandra Guglielmino

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