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Feature article

Profile -




WORDS BY Anna Jeffery

Rexroth Mannasmann Collective led by Directors BrentonWeisert, Kirsty Fletcher and Giles Lawson, has been practicing in Melbourne for nearly 10 years working on a range of projects including small scale residential insertions, alterations and additions and new residential projects.

Each of the directors brings a differing approach to the practice.

Kirsty has an interest in pattern making, while Giles comes from a building & construction background and Brenton’s interests lie in typology and detail. What brings these three together is their shared passion for contextually appropriate place and space.

“As many of our projects are alterations and additions, we are always looking for cues from the existing building or neighbourhood.”

A recent example of a small scale project that encapsulates their core practice values is Cate’s Kitchen. This adaptive reuse project is crafty and creative in its approach to space and fluid living, and injects colourful and playful moments into a small area.

The adaptive reuse of existing timber detailing and a hallway cupboard in this Art Deco apartment demonstrates that small, thoughtful alterations can open up new vistas; turning an out-dated, unworkable kitchen into a functional and practical hub and providing effective storage areas.

In the second bedroom a  ‘wall of storage’ houses clothes, shoes, surfboards, suitcases and a study area. There is a play between display and concealment, texture and depth. The timber doors, round holes for hanging pegs and door hands were designed to reinforce the apartments existing aesthetic. The bronze mirror behind the desk creates a new window in the room providing light, movement and a long view back along the hall.

The new kitchen transitions from the living room to the garden, reflecting and refracting views of both. Deco dado lines are reinforced with a timber-edge, mirror-faced bulkhead and green tiles, laid in an organic pattern to lead the eye to the garden. The existing hall cupboard has been gutted and the door mirror-backed. A bar with glass shelves and pot plant garden are installed in the depth of the door frame. What results is a kitchen panopticon in a hall cupboard.

This almost theatrical staging of the key living areas of the house is an idea that transcends many of Rexroth Mannasmann’s projects and continues their exploration of spatial relationships and the juxtaposition of new and old.