Moving in has never been simpler | Indesign Issue #54

Move- in

Moving in has never been simpler. A raw and collaborative approach to complete furniture packages.

The handcrafted fit-out is accented by the brick dividers, that have been left with holes to create a connected atmosphere.
From the street looking into the office space
Words Stephen Crafti
Photography Peter Clarke
Architect Elenberg Fraser
Location Melbourne
Project Move-in

‘Move-In’, complete furniture packages. Founded by architect, Zahava Elenberg, the triangular-shaped 250 square metre office space is sheltered from busy St Kilda Road.

Located in Fitzroy for ten years, the move to the studio-style office in Southbank coincided with the completion of the Triptych apartment tower above. “We liked the idea of working with a concrete shell. The space offered a strong industrial aesthetic, allowing our furniture, lighting and objects, to appear jewel-like,” says Elenberg, who presented a design brief to architects, Elenberg Fraser, whose partner Callum Fraser, is the director. “I wanted quite a raw feeling to the fit-out,” adds Elenberg, pointing out the original concrete floors and exposed services across the ceiling.

Some of the images that flashed through Elenberg’s mind in formulating a brief were of American supermarkets, in particular those by Site Architects, designed in the late 1970s and early 80s. Many of these buildings were ‘deconstructed’, with the structure of buildings exposed, as well as the fixtures and fittings. “It must have been a photo of a deconstructed wall. It seemed so raw, as well as honest,” says Elenberg.

However, contrasted with the rough envelope, is a beautifully hand-crafted fit-out. Slim concrete blocks, hand laid by some of the staff at Elenberg Fraser, create a pod-like arrangement for the work stations. Even the corners of this low wall are ‘twisted’ to form barley-like columns. “There’s something quite rewarding for an architect to actually build walls, as well as design them. This also allowed us to make a few minor changes while the walls were being erected,” says Elenberg. The 2.5 metre high concrete block walls separating the showroom from the offices and staff areas, have ‘feathered’ rather than the hard edges normally associated with bricks. “Our on-hand approach also allowed us to widen or narrow entrances as we progressed,” she adds.

While the hand-stacked concrete blocks delineate the showroom and offices, they also provide a lacey effect, allowing the north-west light to penetrate.

“We treated the bricks as though they were fabric, with a craft-like outcome.”

Zahava Elenberg

The brickwall is a permanent fixture within the space while the furniture is interchangeable

“We treated the bricks as though they were fabric, with a craft-like outcome,” says Elenberg. “but the spaces also allow you to see through the showroom, even when you’re sitting at the staff kitchen table,” she adds. as Move-In occupies two original shells on the ground floor of Triptych, Elenberg was keen to create a cohesive space. as well as building a new concrete block wall to separate a neighbouring tenancy, some of the walls and structural columns within Move-In were painted white with a datum line. “People need to imagine how furniture will look in a space, irrespective of whether it’s a complete furniture package for a private apartment, a serviced apartment or five star hotel,” says Elenberg, who has just completed a makeover of the Como hotel in South Yarra.

Elenberg describes Move-In as the ‘complete turnkey service’, where architects, designers and developers can specify a complete package of key furniture pieces that make a home; from television sets through to hanging pot plants, although the over- scaled macramé-held pot plant at the entrance was specifically designed for the Move-In office and not for an apartment. and with thousands of apartments expected to come onto the Australian market just in the next year, Elenberg will continue to Move-In to these spaces and make her mark.


Design Team Zahava Elenberg, Callum Fraser, Reade Dixon, Tom Orton, Mauris Lai, Jansen Aui, Jimmy Gray, Kim Lai, Suby Liu, Dominique Hall
Signature Manufacturer Delta Neon, Premier Graphics
Structural Engineer Webber Design
Building Surveyor Gardner Group
Time To Complete 19 Days
Total Floor Area 297m2
Furniture Hermann Miller task chairs from Living Edge.
Lighting Lighting supplied by Lighting Partners Australia and custom design neon light by Dean Phillips.
Finishes Finishes Paint from Dulux.
Fixed & Fitted Generally throughout, ‘Speedframe’ aluminium shelving from Speedframe.
Laminex shelving systems from Morfurniture.