Refurbishing or redeveloping a heritage building comes with serious challenges, with extensive limitations placed on designers.
However, heritage retrofits and refurbishments are trending in the Australian interior design sector for the stunning results that can be achieved after breathing new life into outdated buildings by fusing modern and traditional interior elements together.
One development that has found success in its fusion of heritage and modern features is TDA Interior’s $1.4 million fit out at 151 George Street in Brisbane.
The design team, soon to be renamed Amicus Interiors, admit that redeveloping a 2,500 square metre space in a way that pays tribute to the heritage nature of the iconic Treasury Building without feeling antiquated does indeed pose a challenge.
“The fit out was quite challenging in the sense that it was a heritage listed space so we had to be mindful of this,” says managing director Andrew Holder.
Developing a vibrant, functional and modern space for 160 staff members is a challenge in and of itself before the limitations created by working within a heritage shell are even taken into account.
Holder says that rather than view the heritage status as a limitation, however, the team saw it as an opportunity. The interior designers viewed the heritage ceiling mouldings and timber wall accents as something to play with and off of. It is from this that the ‘fusion’ focus design ideology developed.
Not only has this ideology aided in the delivery of a highly unique space, but the use of existing features means costs, time and resources were all conserved.
“We used a combination of existing fittings with new ones and this helped drive down time and costs,” says Holder. “The fit out has a mix of contemporary and heritage elements that work well together to create an iconic and highly recognisable space.”
The juxtaposition of bright patterned carpets, sparkling downlights and metal staircases with the crisp white ceiling mouldings and panelled walls give the space a sense of modern whimsy that achieves the vibrant yet corporate feel the designers were looking to achieve.
Heritage does not have to mean limitation; it can mean innovation. By molding a room around its form and juxtaposing the old with the new, drab and boring can be brought back to life in the same way in which overzealousness can be toned down. While the restrictions are apparent, so are the opportunities.