On a nondescript street in the formerly industrial suburb of Rosebery in inner Sydney, sits a building with a story that speaks of Australia’s industrial heritage; constructed in 1920 for hat manufacturer R C Henderson, a major manufacturer of womens’ hats under the brand name Platypus.
The building incorporates typical architectural features of the period including pediments, moulded entablature, decorative stepped parapet concealing the gabled roofs, arched vents with keystones, vertically proportioned openings, brick piers, and evidence of original contrasting finishes of render and face brickwork. The two gabled roofs with ridge vents, clerestory and western lantern, similar to a sawtooth roof, demonstrate the building’s original industrial use and design.
Today, the old hat factory is the head office of Goodman Ltd, a global property giant that owns, develops and manages property in 17 countries.
The building has been magnificently refurbished, with careful consideration given to the remaining architectural features. Renowned design firm Woods Bagot transformed the site into a sustainable, integrated, flexible campus-style workplace, touching the heritage fabric lightly to keep what could be kept, adding as little as possible.
TIRAR’s range of solid wood door pulls, both1200mm and 600mm sizes, were specified throughout the building; a total of 70 door pulls crafted and hand finished in American White Oak were installed. Each door pull was sandblasted to accentuate the grain, and stained black; a dramatic and tactile ‘partner’ to the glass partitioning designed in Italy by Tecno SpA.
The team at TIRAR worked closely with the Australian staff at By Vincenzo, who co-ordinated with Tecno in Italy to ensure the installation was seamless. Some of the glass doors were particularly challenging, being double glazed and 80mm thick, with the double glazing incorporating a space between each pane of glass. Left unresolved, the space between the panes of glass would have resulted in an incomplete finish. The design team at TIRAR understood the issue and, in an Australian first, designed a timber infill that matched; crafted and finished in the same wood, it nestled between the panes of glass delivering a unified look.
Each glass door was made specifically to technical specifications. The TIRAR team worked with By Vincenzo and Tecno from the beginning to ensure exact details were met, as the holes for the pulls had to be pre-drilled into heat treated glass.
Perhaps the biggest challenge facing TIRAR came from the Goodman leadership team. The Covid pandemic emphasised the need for a wholistic approach to hygiene in the work environment and management specified the use of copper on each TIRAR door pull, as copper is known for its microbial qualities.
In a heritage structure given a new lease of life, and in the company of elegantly restored architectural treasures, the TIRAR door furniture is a seamless addition to the fabric of this unique building.