Birkenstock Australia HQ

Melbourne Design Studios

This is an exemplary design project. As the designers state “this [project] succinctly translates the brand’s core values into joyful spatial experiences, intuitively illustrating Birkenstock’s commitment to quality, craftsmanship, sustainability, honesty and a healthy lifestyle.” The design team’s control over all aspects of the project is apparent in the uncompromised design resolution. Design consideration has been applied to every aspect of this project, down to the tiniest detail – and yet it never feels or looks overworked. The planning and integration of various departments, the selection of finishes and materials, and the sophisticated and highly-crafted detailing all belie a mature resolution that reflects the holistic culture of the Birkenstock brand. The design response has reinvigorated a neglected two-storey building and restored it lovingly, integrating modern detailing and playful reinterpretations of existing structures and building elements. The fitout pays homage to the robust interior fabric – the exposed brick walls, ceiling structure and existing fenestration – and breathes new life into this fabric with integrity. This project does not just pay lip-service to sustainability. It is obvious from the design resolution that staff well-being and connectivity, customer experience and the Birkenstock philosophy have all been carefully considered. Refined space planning, the selection of natural and sustainable materials, recycled elements, and extensive use of indoor planting and natural light show a rigour and maturity in considering the existing building, its users, customers, and the natural environment at large. Visually, the project delights, surprises and nourishes at every turn. Detailing such as the real ‘front lawn’, the embossed foot on the front entry slatted wall, the ‘History Channel’, the brick shelving, the doorway from retail to wholesale showroom, and workshop design, all reflect a commitment to craftsmanship, quality and beauty in design. Birkenstock’s reputation for natural and robust footwear is reflected in design elements such as the open fireplace, rich timbers, the mezzanine space, and even the signage treatments throughout the project. Architecturally, the designers have created an exciting and beautifully resolved exterior, connecting the various functions of the building via a central courtyard. Sensitive reinterpretation of the existing structure, and re-use of much of the existing fabric, has ensured longevity for this old building. In summary, every element of this project has been resolved skillfully. The result is a truly beautiful building, highly worthy of the BDAV award for ‘Building Design of the Year 2014’.

4 awards

Non-Residential Design – Alterations/Additions

This project involved ‘de cluttering and re-organising’ of the site, which had been a neglected two-storey heritage building in an upbeat city-fringe urban shopping strip.


The design response has successfully provided this once tired building with a new lease of life.


The scope of works included the sympathetic re-design of the ground floor shop fitout to create a more active response to the streetscape, exposing the building’s interior to passers-by.


The introduction of mezzanine level within the existing warehouse has provided an increase in wholesale showroom floor area without increasing the building’s footprint. Plywood sheet flooring and ceiling panelling Plywood lining clearly defines new works from the existing heritage building within the admin/office area. The crisp white walls and new flooring allows the existing timber trusses to be showcased. The introduction of south-facing highlight roof glazing provides an abundance of natural light to the administration workstations/office area.


The construction of the new workshop is sympathetic in both form and material selections, together with clever use of timber batten screens within the courtyard.


There is no doubt that the design team has achieved the request within the client’s brief of “wanting spaces to inspire customers and staff”. Upon entering this building, one discovers interesting aspects that reflect the product brand.


Birkenstock’s MD said “Customers’ feedback has simply been 100% positive.” This is a true reflection of a wonderful example of alterations and additions to a tired old heritage building.













Interior Design: Non-Residential

The brief was to create an environment and interior space which reflects the client’s core values and branding of sustainability and healthiness, craftsmanship and quality, honesty and workmanship


The clever selections of materials – in particular the use of various timbers – indicates the designers have a true understanding of their clients’ products as well as with a respect and appreciation of the existing building.


With the introduction of fireplaces, tea bar, and the open display of materials/equipment used in the Birkenstock product, the customer is invited into the space to develop an understanding and appreciation of the product.


The use of plywoods, light timber, white washed walls and the introduction of glass roof lights together with ‘air-purifier planting’ provides the office area with a relaxed non-structured office space. The re-using and painting of Aeroplane trolleys provides splashes of playful colour and fun to the office.


The Birkenstock Australia HQ re-development and interior fit-out represents the regeneration and renovations of what was previously a tired old space.












Excellence in Use of Timber

This project has demonstrated how thoughtful use of timber can enhance an intrinsically thoughtful design. Timber firstly welcomes the customer by providing a visual feed into the building where vertical panelling flows into horizontal and the front door side panel is a piece of carved art.


Inside, timber touches like the round seats complement the rustic face-brick of the walls. Upstairs, subtle tones of timber veneer, exposed timber beams and solid shelving and the wide timber balustrade capping continue the theme.


Additional touches include partially exposed timber trusses, featured timber wall niches and freestyle balustrading in the courtyard.


Finally, the ‘piece de resistance’, is the carved timber signage to the disabled water closet. Another of the beautifully detailed elements which make this entry stand-out in its excellent use of timber.

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