K.P.D.O.’s Melbourne studio space is a synthesis of the firm’s interests and methodology. They created a minimal white and silver gallery space as a backdrop to their explorations of colour and materiality. The space is singular, but allows them to curate moments within the office, whether they be new directions for clients or explorations for themelves.

The studio is located at the corporate end of Collins Street, what use to be called ‘the big end of town’ – home to banks and legal practices. K.P.D.O. is in a mid-rise 1980s commercial tower. The team loves the serrated facade, which creates bay windows just above tree height, and the rear of the office overlooks the National Trust-registered Garden of The Melbourne Club. They are in the middle of the city but their studio feels like it’s in a tree house.

The studio space reflects K.P.D.O.’s process and how the team generates ideas. Amongst the buzz and intensity of a commercial world, they have created a space where they can practice the craft of design. For all the advances in digital technology, their success has been to pair developing technologies with traditional explorations of the craft of construction and the nature of materiality. For K.P.D.O., it’s all about the detail, and an understanding of the tactile nature of materials.

K.P.D.O. likes to fly under the radar. In a profession given constant affirmation by social media, they prefer to do things the old fashioned way. That’s not to say they don’t use the most current programs to design and document their work. The idea though, comes from a different place. Yes, they do like the internet. However, they also like books and magazines, especially old magazines. They are fortunate to have a library of material going back to the 1960s and they still voraciously collect current editions of Domus. They find the printed page has permanence and gravitas. They are also inspired by art and film. They love the ephemeral qualities of space; the way a space makes you feel. Beyond planning, volume and materiality there are intangibles that can cause a thrill. They use film as inspiration, but also as part of the design process and to present the work. Concurrently, they work at the micro level to understand how materials come together, and at the macro level they use digital and VR modelling to understand how a space will feel. They believe in innovation through an understanding of craft.

Photography: Anson Smart