Studio edwards opens 408 Smith

Noticing the spread of vacant shops in Collingwood, local architects studio edwards decided to create a new workspace with a generous and entrepreneurial spirit. They took on a converted shop on Smith Street (number 408, to be precise) in a bid to bring new life into the area by offering sub-lets to start-ups of all shapes and sizes.

The building includes the architects’ own workspace and they’re offering the front area for new businesses, events and brand activations. Well aware of the burden of long leases upon fledgling business endeavours, studio edwards sees 408 Smith as somewhat of an “Airbnb, but for retail.” The space is envisaged as a base for design-focused brands and collaborators to experiment and create.

Rental of the space can span a period as brief as one day up to a couple of months. To reflect this flexibility, the fit-out of the space stars an internal cocoon-like lining made from stained timber; an aesthetically-neutral yet striking intervention. Sensibly, this lining was designed for easy removal at the end of the lease.

Further to that aim, furniture made from plywood and aluminium can be reconfigured to suit the tenant’s needs. “The aim was to create a flexible space within the overall volume of the building by combining the materiality of wood in an internal cocoon-like space. Bringing the space to life through adjustable display elements, furniture and lighting to allow the ambience to change with its use,” explains studio edwards.

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