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BDAV 2014 Building Design Awards

Birkenstock Australia HQ

Winner Building Design of the Year 2014

Winner Non-Residential Design - Alterations/Additions

Winner Interior Design: Non-Residential

Winner Excellence in Use of Timber

Designer: Melbourne Design Studios Pty Ltd Builder: Emac Constructions
Phone: (03) 9077 2240   Photographer: Peter Clarke & Marc Bernstein-Hussmann
Web: www.melbournedesignstudios.com.au Location: Clifton Hill

This is an exemplary design project. As the designers state “this [project] succinctly translates the brand’s core values into joyful spatial experiences, intuitively illustrating Birkenstock’s commitment to quality, craftsmanship, sustainability, honesty and a healthy lifestyle.”

The design team’s control over all aspects of the project is apparent in the uncompromised design resolution. Design consideration has been applied to every aspect of this project, down to the tiniest detail – and yet it never feels or looks overworked.

The planning and integration of various departments, the selection of finishes and materials, and the sophisticated and highly-crafted detailing all belie a mature resolution that reflects the holistic culture of the Birkenstock brand.

The design response has reinvigorated a neglected two-storey building and restored it lovingly, integrating modern detailing and playful reinterpretations of existing structures and building elements. The fitout pays homage to the robust interior fabric – the exposed brick walls, ceiling structure and existing fenestration – and breathes new life into this fabric with integrity.

This project does not just pay lip-service to sustainability. It is obvious from the design resolution that staff well-being and connectivity, customer experience and the Birkenstock philosophy have all been carefully considered. Refined space planning, the selection of natural and sustainable materials, recycled elements, and extensive use of indoor planting and natural light show a rigour and maturity in considering the existing building, its users, customers, and the natural environment at large.

Visually, the project delights, surprises and nourishes at every turn. Detailing such as the real ‘front lawn’, the embossed foot on the front entry slatted wall, the ‘History Channel’, the brick shelving, the doorway from retail to wholesale showroom, and workshop design, all reflect a commitment to craftsmanship, quality and beauty in design.

Birkenstock’s reputation for natural and robust footwear is reflected in design elements such as the open fireplace, rich timbers, the mezzanine space, and even the signage treatments throughout the project.

Architecturally, the designers have created an exciting and beautifully resolved exterior, connecting the various functions of the building via a central courtyard. Sensitive reinterpretation of the existing structure, and re-use of much of the existing fabric, has ensured longevity for this old building.

In summary, every element of this project has been resolved skillfully. The result is a truly beautiful building, highly worthy of the BDAV award for ‘Building Design of the Year 2014’.