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A celebration of community in a pint-sized space: Technē’s makeover for Monumental Ice Creamery

A compact space in Albury, NSW, undergoes a transformative redesign by Technē Architecture + Interior Design, marking the tenth anniversary of Monumental Ice Creamery.

A celebration of community in a pint-sized space: Technē’s makeover for Monumental Ice Creamery

For the Monumental Ice Creamery in Albury, a new decade in business marked an opportunity for transformation. The 10-year-old establishment commissioned Technē to renovate its 56-square-metre shop, resulting in a refreshed interior design that balances aesthetics, functionality and community-oriented messaging.

According to Dana Hutchins, Technē’s Albury studio leader and associate director, the firm recognised the potential to frame the space in a manner reflective of Monumental’s unique character. She explains: “We saw the blank canvas as an opportunity to frame the space in a way that speaks directly to Monumental’s distinct character as a welcoming, genuine and dependable pillar in the community.”

Technē’s design strategically addressed the lack of adequate space within the gelateria. The revamped layout facilitates a more efficient flow for customer service and seating, while also creating extra room in the kitchen for staff and ice cream production. This spatial optimisation mirrors the broader objective of the redesign – enhancing the user experience while reflecting the relationships Monumental has established with its local customers, known affectionately as the ‘Monumental Family’.

Design features throughout the ice creamery underscore this community-centric ethos. Personalised elements, such as A1 boards created with Kindred Design and flavour boards hand-painted by Killing Time Studio, provide a tangible link between the establishment and local events or suppliers.

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The design effort extends beyond aesthetics to encompass the quality of the ice cream itself. Technē ensured this by incorporating speciality Italian gelato equipment, replacing the previous second-hand machines. This upgrade caters to the production and preservation of Monumental’s vast array of over 100 rotating flavours, illustrating that enhanced product quality can be an integral part of an architectural redesign.

In terms of interior aesthetics, the design draws inspiration from photographs of a 1950s ice cream cone signage from an erstwhile petrol station. Meanwhile, elements of the classic Australian milk bar are noticeable in the refreshed design. The interiors, adorned by Brent Seach with pastel hues of lemon yellow, eucalyptus green, and pale pink, combined with Monumental’s signature orange, create a rich visual experience. Material choices such as blackbutt plywood and hardwood further contribute to the overall sensory appeal, offering a unique texture and warmth.

Practical elements have been thoughtfully addressed in the redesign. Technē incorporated a custom-designed automated blind, awning and lighting system to protect the gelato from the sun’s heat, considering the site’s eastern aspect. The system optimises natural light and enhances the shop’s visual appeal when raised.

The completion of the project, carried out in just four months, is the result of various local collaborations, including Allan’s Flat Engineering and Corowa Signs. This collaboration fits well into the community-focused narrative of Monumental Ice Creamery. Owners Matthew Vogel and Shannon Clark echo this sentiment, noting that the local community’s reaction to the redesigned space has been overwhelmingly positive.

Technē Architecture + Interior Design

Caitlin Mills

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