Myer extends its downtown tradition to Melbourne’s Docklands in an elegant new BVN building
November 29th, 2010
WORDS PAUL MCGILLICK
PHOTOGRAPHY JOHN GOLLINGS
Melbourne is a city of traditions and Melbournians treasure connections to the past. They like that sense of continuity which is invariably linked to a place, a building or an institution.
Now, nothing is more Melbourne than the Myer department store – although it is actually just one of 67 stores across the nation, the first having opened in Bendigo in 1900. Positioned right in the middle of the CBD, it is the ideal location for a department store. The problem was that the early 20th Century building was not working as a head office with all the activities that implied. It was, says Damian Glass, Myer’s PR Manager, “a rabbit warren”.
“The brief,” explains Jane Williams, BVN’s joint principal architect for interior design on Myer’s new Docklands head office, “was to create a contemporary new workplace that would support their retail business. And that was quite an interesting journey for us to go on as architects – having worked with lawyers and bankers – because this is such a unique business and there are very few retailers like this in Australia.”
The value of a co-located head office and store was the ready access to the shop floor and there were people who were nervous about moving head office away to Docklands. But the Lonsdale Street offices posed all sorts of logistical problems – moving stock and samples in and out, viewing products and setting up presentations – while the absence of natural light was an obstacle to assessing the suitability of clothing.
Read the full story on page 98 of Indesign magazine Issue #43, in stores now.
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