by Jerry ElengicalDec 11, 2021
Reflective windows rendered in colours of autumn define the exterior of the Piccolo House, the new headquarters and benchmark development by the Piccolo group in South Melbourne, Australia. Designed by Wood Marsh architecture, the project joins luxury residential apartments, commercial spaces, onsite parking and a penthouse office occupied by Piccolo, in one unified space. The collaboration illustrates the mutual respect shared between the Australian developer and architecture firm, cemented in shared philosophies of “quality, boldness and refinement.”
Situated in close proximity to the iconic South Melbourne Market, Piccolo House’s aesthetic and design is prompted by its site context. It emerges from its heritage legacy right below, as an ordered, concrete monolith with precise cut-out openings that are angled subtly, revealing accented reflecting glass elements that “reinterpret the autumnal tones of the brickwork in the neighbouring laneway. Akin to a block of stone being carved into, the mass references the lintel as a symbol of strength providing the structural framework for the building,” share architects Roger Wood and Randal Marsh, Founding Partners, Wood Marsh.
The multi-use building’s unique island site allows its architecture to be expressed along all its faces. Apart from housing private tenancies within, the original Victorian terrace building that addresses Dorcas Street was restored and reinstated as an active commerce centre contributing to the streetscape, connecting with the neighbourhood. “The Charles Street laneway references Richard Giblett’s paintings on the contemporary metropolis and reinterprets it into physical urban art using the materiality of Corten and various shades of steel. By night this intervention becomes illuminated, drawing similar ideas to the artwork of Dan Flavin, by painting the street surface with light. The illumination of Charles Street also creates a sense of safety through passive surveillance,” says the firm.
The interior design mimics the structure’s exterior, inherently connected with the architecture. Mirrored glass and blackened metal greets one at the entrance of the Piccolo House, accessed by the entry via John Street. Autumnal tones carry over to the mirrored glass in the roomy lobby. Sheer black curtains cover the floor to ceiling windows that adorn the insides, with sleek furniture and coloured rugs that provide some visual relief to the clean interiors.
The four levels that sit above house well-crafted one and two bedroom apartments with picturesque views of Melbourne’s urban skyline. According to the design team, the Piccolo penthouse office at the upper level employs silver travertine to “reinforce the solidity of the building, and to make an appropriately elevated interior response to the overarching idea of stone being carved away.”
Here, the colour palette intentionally transitions into a duskier theme, with dark timber, black and bronzed metal decorating the spaces. The mirror and fittings inside the bathrooms are done in black, mirroring the floors and walls covered in black marbled tiles with white threading.
Wood Marsh fluently unites the new and old, exterior and interior, retail architecture and residential design within the Piccolo House. “Piccolo House stands as the embodiment of its developer and owner as a successful model of a progressive build-to-rent property and a new home for Piccolo’s own office,” says the firm.
Name: Piccolo House
Location: 5 John Street, South Melbourne, Australia
Year of completion: 2020
Client, Developer: Piccolo
Architect: Wood Marsh