SLACK Melbourne – building on the past and future

Breathe Architecture have created a state-of-the-art office for a 21st century tech company SLACK in a historically significant heritage building in Melbourne, the Maltstore. It is the intersection between a distinct past and an exciting future, where the digital, industrial and fabricated meets the natural, crafted and personal. The Maltstore building has layers of character from its past. Built in 1904 for the Carlton United Brewery, it represents a point of technical innovation. Housing Slack in this building reflects a key intersection in time between a distinct past and an exciting future.
The design approach is all about intersections. The intersection in time, space, electronics, data and old-school craftsmanship. Slack’s values of empathy, playfulness, thriving and solidarity represent an intersection between technology and humanity where the digital, industrial and fabricated meets the natural, crafted and personal.
The fit out embraces the qualities and character of the existing building fabric. By expressing the three original silos, it speaks to the past life of the Maltstore.
Spatially, there are two distinct sides. Linked by a timber boardwalk and surrounded by an abundance of lavish greenery, one side is for work and the other, for play. Nestled amongst this concentrated forest at the centre of intersection sits a series of meeting rooms.
The work area encompasses egalitarian style workstations and a series of private ‘phone booths’. Designed with no private offices, a cooperative, thriving work environment is encouraged. The play occurs in the kitchen, café and event space – where everybody comes together.
Materials used throughout the fitout are environmentally sustainable and sourced locally wherever possible. Recycled Tasmanian oak floorboards are locally sourced and nailed rather than glued to ensure future re-use. Meeting room and kitchen tables are made from Australian Messmate, whilst decking detailing throughout utilises Australian Black-butt timber sourced from sustainably managed forests.

Images – Peter Clarke

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