The Cannons House Lobby and Façade refurbishment reinterprets and redefines a 1980s speculative office building into a contemporary participant in the urban conversation of the Flinders Lane precinct. As a regenerative project, the proposal introduces a new entry experience, reclads the existing concrete structure, remediates the existing car park entry and creates new bicycle parking facilities.
The striking foyer renovation explores the illusion of a monumental space larger than its physical size, emphasising the importance of the arrival experience, its contextual relationship and spatial environment.
The existing entry doors and glass foyer were removed to reveal a double height space and allow for the proposed entry to be setback to create a public forecourt. The lower façade and existing columns from the original mid-1980’s DCM building were reclad in polished granite tiles to reflect and reference the materiality of Harry Seidler’s Shell House across Flinders Lane. This reflection of the grey granite three sided forecourt has now been completed to create a genuine courtyard.
This reference to what was the rear entrance to Shell House now provides an opportunity to renew an urban space in Melbourne and strives to enrich the Flinders lane typology.
Challenged by the physical constraints of the lobby, the interior attempts to create the illusion of a larger, more sumptuous experience, defying its physical size.
The use of a selective material palette – planes of bronze mirror, aerated aluminium, illuminated ceiling and granite tiling – are employed to support these ambitions. It channels a nostalgic view of the 1960’s and 1970’s science fiction movies particularly scenes from ‘2001: A Space Odyssey’. The idea was to create an experience that is phenomenology more grand than the actual physical size.
Although it is very small it is a signature of quality and the idea small buildings and small spaces can participate in bespoke materials and ideas.
The extended granite bench with dark leather feature cushions and bronze mirror is also a reference to the ‘Paris-end’ retail stores in the parallel Collins Street.