Collingwood Apartment by Rob Kennon Architects

  • Rob Kennon Architects create a modern and artistic experience in their refurbishment of a Collingwood home located in the former Foy & Gibson department store.

    The converted building, in an inner-city Melbourne area rich in history, houses a three-storey warehouse renovation originally designed by McBride Charles Ryan Architects. Recently reworked by Rob Kennon Architects in collaboration with i.d Built, the Collingwood Apartment now feels fluid and transparent across multiple levels; featuring spaces to entertain as well as unwind. The team of collaborators have articulated a forward-thinking and refined approach to apartment design while preserving the fabric of one of Melbourne’s old gems.  

    The living room welcomes guests to mingle and converse around the plush Tufty Time sofa by Patricia Urquiola for B&B Italia.

    The neutral interior finishes allow for an array of artwork to bring the space to life. Notable pieces in the living room also include the Alanda Coffee Table by Paolo Piva for B&B Italia, Halycon Lake rug, Highwire Tandem Pendant by Apparatus Studio and Capitol Complex Armchair by Pierre Jeanneret for Cassina.

    The Collingwood Apartment redesign focused on maintaining the volume, light and transparency. The semi-rigid framework of the existing factory setting gifted the apartment with a considerable garden area, drawing nature inside.

    The design team set out to create moments, not zones in the apartment. The floor plan reflects this refined openness throughout, with the only doors in the house being to the bathroom areas. Rob Kennon describes the home as ‘public,’ with the individual spaces of sleep, work and play merging to become one.

    This approach required an understanding of the clients’ rituals and routines to achieve a practical, thermally and acoustically-efficient home within the brief. The home includes nooks, galleries, areas of light and shade, reading spots and conversation spaces to enhance the experience of its inhabitants, complete with a kitchen designed to provide an energetic centre.

    Indoors, a unique shard structure acts as a centrepiece for the home. Rob Kennon Architects’ approach was to “reinforce these core aspects of the design by giving space and clarity to the shard by opening up the plan on the ground floor”. The curved structure, at 8-metres-high, faceted internally and smooth externally, allows a void for a sculptural staircase. This not only brings quiet minimalism to connect the spaces but also produces a geometric feature wall on the other side.

    “A surprising outcome of this project was the abundance of filtered light that travels and bounces through the open volume, emphasising the curved shard.”



    – Rob Kennon

    The dining room features a custom-designed steel frame dining table with the tabletop in Ice Green by Signorino and the Beetle Dining Chairs by GamFratesi for Gubi.

    The kitchen features the Hay Revolver Stool, complete with a Super White dolomite benchtop and splashback.

    Careful consideration for depth and tone was involved in the material choices throughout the refurbished interior. To highlight the strength of the shard structure, Rob Kennon Architects selected restrained materials, such as solid American oak timber flooring, putty grey paint and Fibonacci platinum tiles. The faceted side of the shard is lined with aged brass while the curved side bears Venetian hard plaster made from recycled marble, creating a serene descent down the stairwell.

    Spotted gum timber was selected for the outdoor decking, to continue the refined materiality into the garden area. Fittings complement the muted palette, such as brushed nickel taps from Brodware and a traditional white bath and basin.

    Furniture and art were selected in conversation with the clients to reflect their personalities. The quiet architecture allows for the spaces to be filled with unique pieces. The inviting living area on the ground floor features the navy Tufty-Time sofa by Patricia Urquiola as well as the Alanda Square coffee table by Paolo Piva from B&B Italia. The Halcyon Lake rug compliments the home’s grey walls and provides a connection between the different furnishings of the living area. The bedroom areas exude calm, with soft greys and simple furnishings.

    The dining area is bathed in light from the floor to ceiling windows, which allow the outdoor space to be a part of the home. A custom steel-framed dining table with Signorino Ice Green stone top is surrounded by Gubi Beetle dining chairs, anticipating a dinner party, or a relaxed Sunday morning breakfast. The spaces within the home are enhanced by a series of different art pieces which add personality and intricacy.

    Rob Kennon Architects’ collaboration with i.d Built fuses traditional architecture with contemporary design, creating a fluid environment with a pleasant surprise at each new level.

    “The context informs the approach in dividing the spaces through programs, instead of walls; blurring the boundary, giving a sense of freedom to the spaces and encouraging the communication to be three-dimensional through the levels.”


    – Rob Kennon

One Response

  1. …truly inspiring design + build!!
    …thanks for the home tour to see my painting in situ – excited to visit soon (when travel restrictions allow)!

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