Wilkhahn Asia Pacific Showroom and Factory
Wilkhahn Asia Pacific made a decision to collocate their factory and their showroom in a large industrial warehouse in Alexandria to demonstrate their commitment to honesty and integrity in a product’s production.
For the second time Bligh Voller Nield have had the pleasure of working with Wilkhahn in the redevelopment of their factory and showroom. The concept of the first Wilkhahn Asia Pacific project was to engage visitors in the production process leading to the finished product. And again, the collocation of factory and showroom has been used strategically to demonstrate Wilkhahn’s holistic approach to the process – products are part of a life cycle which is given expression in the project. There is a blurred edge between factory and showroom, production and display.
The building is entered via a dramatic ramp which leads through the factory, across a garden, and terminates in a viewing platform, enabling the progression of manufacture and assembly to be understood and allowing the movement, sounds and smells of the manufacturing process to be experienced. The platform transfers into the showroom, where the customer is positioned high above the showroom floor allowing clear visibility of the final products. The platform forms a mezzanine for administration and sales staff with a series of demonstration ‘rooms’ below. A stair allows descent onto the showroom where the furniture is curated in a series of simple displays across the floor.
The structure of ramp, platform, stair and mezzanine, clad in birch plywood, are treated as a dramatic insertion into the existing warehouse space with the organic quality of the birch contrasting with the industrial steel structure. The seamless detailing of the plywood acts as an organic visual foil to the robust steel shell of the warehouse, allowing the furniture to be the focus.
2007 RAIA NSW Interior Architecture Award