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ProjectPlanex Factory

Description

Melbourne’s South East is a powerhouse of Industrial activity. The accepted habitat for this building type are endless Industrial Estates consisting of basic box shed structures fronted by a smaller glass box housing the office component. These buildings belie the fertile thought and imagination used by the very same Industries. Planex is an Australian designer and manufacturer of innovative steel office storage systems. Their new purpose designed factory, office, and showroom complex in Hallam embodies many of the principles adopted by Planex since they began in 1972. The design of the building attempts to integrate the many disparate functions involved in their manufacturing process. The design also attempts to overcome the traditional model of the small and comfortable office block sitting in front of an enormous Spartan shed. The fabric of both components are linked via the ‘greyness’ of concrete, one being concrete panels and the other split face concrete blocks. Dark metal cladding and red highlights refer to the finished Planex products made from raw grey steel. To add shape to the exaggerated lengths and heights of the building, cantilevered fascias are adopted. Driving past on The Princes Highway the building sits within a crowded industrial neighborhood, yet it stands alone in its simplicity. The Client was anxious to integrate the manufacturing culture within the front of house offices and showroom. The result is a very democratic work space where all employees have easy visual access to the entire process. Upon entering via the front you are able to look through to factory floor in order to appreciate its size and activity. The location of the staff canteen also reflects this egalitarian approach with its prominent position at the front of the factory with a view of the encircling landscaped gardens. Colour can be introduced to the interior via the displays of Planex products along with a setting of Charles Eames plywood chairs in a primary red, the corporate colour, which echoes the use of that colour on the exterior detailing. At night these punches of colour can be clearly seen from the highway and act as a super sized shop window for Planex. Planex demonstrates that an Industrial Building need not lose out in the Architecture stakes.

Industrial Powerhouses can be beautiful.