The resounding glory of the Williams Burton Leopardi Studio belies its humble beginnings as a derelict, 300-square-metre space in the 100-year-old State Heritage-listed Darling Building in Adelaide.
This transformation was carried out with conscience and forethought – the former reflected in a design strategy to touch “as little as possible and as much as necessary”, and the latter in the knowledge that a workplace must cater to both physical and emotional needs. To that end, the space was opened up and insertions of steel-framed glazing were added to recycled 1920s partitions to define the studio. Workers can flit between the central kitchen, library or materials room depending on their needs. And if they’re battling against ‘one of those days’, employees always have the opportunity to retreat to the evocatively-dubbed “gin strong room.”
The studio’s design commandingly plays with aesthetic binaries: old and new, masculine and feminine, subtle and flamboyant. The result of these experiments is a harmonious space that welcomes workers and clients alike.