When the much-loved Surry Hills’ Porteno restaurant was set alight by a fire in its exhaust system back in 2015, the Argentinian eatery packed up its salvaged remains and moved to Holt Street, leaving its former home vacant. Fast forward six years and with the help of the Byron Bay-based Those Architects, the building now plays host to fashion brand Aje.
Those Architects have completely stripped back, refurbished and fitted-out the building, branding it unrecognisable compared to its sullen, smoke damaged state. Offering 760sqm of commercial space, the building’s identity has been rediscovered, giving the fashion brand a contemporary headquarters in an opportune location.
The practice began the design process through peeling back the layers of the building, and making an incision in the roof to encourage the influx of natural light through the implementation of a glass atrium. The textural palette, featuring a number of natural materials, reflects the Aje aesthetic in an architectural manner, looking to create a home for the brand as opposed to simply a workspace.
All the functional work zones revolve around the glass atrium, with the building’s character resuscitated. Strong geometric elements are contrasted with the soft curves of the furniture and joinery, ensuring the space is neither too concentric or too rigid. Limestone and travertine strongly influence the material palette, while up-cycled timbers accented with brass bring a sense of warmth to the space.
While the building barely resembles its former existence, Those Architects have ingeniously pulled back the singed layers of this Surry Hills building and nurtured its character back to full health. What has resulted is a robust, contemporary workplace that personifies the tenant in its textural palette.