Exploring the concept of an ‘urban reserve’ — a place of protection, belonging and comfort — The Living Room breathes new life into a primary community service in Melbourne’s CBD, offering free, confidential, and judgement-free healthcare and support for individuals who are, or at risk of, experiencing homelessness. Set in Melbourne’s bustling Hosier Lane, the interior incorporates honest and robust materials, nature-inspired colours, and a familiar design language, contrasting the centre’s gritty urban setting with approachability and warmth.
The new design capitalises on the site’s full potential, delivering increased washer and dryer facilities, medical suites, triage and consult rooms and meeting rooms, and improved multiuse and training facilities. User shower and toilet facilities are doubled, while the capacity of the ‘drop-in centre’ is increased and operationally improved with new technology. The inclusion of a dedicated women’s lounge attracts vulnerable female users, while the integration of wellness services, such as hairdressing and massage, bolsters the centre’s impact as a place of holistic respite and recovery.
The desire for an uplifting community hub to support the physical, mental, and social wellbeing of its users inspired a soothing palette of durable materials, donated or delivered at reduced rates by local suppliers. Warm, painted brick walls and timber accents create a residential feel, offset by blue upholstery, playful tessellated tiles, periwinkle carpets and vibrant pink stair risers — painted by the designers and builders in a team-building exercise. Buttery-coloured kitchen laminate is complemented by veined stone and terracotta-toned floors, with verdant planting fostering a feeling of vitality and wellbeing. The quality of the new interior generates pride and worthiness in visitors, inspiring a feeling of hope.
Furniture: Schiavello, Herman Miller, Walter Knoll and Les Basic from Living Edge, Haworth, Freedom. Lighting: Muuto from Living Edge, Hay from Cult, About Space Lighting. Finishes: Godfrey Hirst, Laminex, Dulux, Corsi & Nicholai, De Fazio, Academy, Artedomus, Tarkett, Kvadrat Maharam: Fittings & Fixtures, Reece, P.R.King & Sons, Classic Architectural Group, TPI Products, Lo&Co
Photography: Sharyn Cairns