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Renaissance under way in city’s north-west

BUILT during the 1960s to withstand a nuclear attack, the Supermail centre on Stirling Street has undergone an extraordinary transformation in the past 26 weeks, leading the redevelopment of the Stirling St precinct north-west of the city.

With the new Myer Megamart scheduled to open on August 25, this area of the city is undergoing a rapid renaissance.

A bold interior refit with striking colours and cool metallic furniture, developed by local interior design outfit Blake Thornton-Smith, represents a radical departure from traditionally bland corporate interiors.

A commitment to move away from St Georges Terrace, where Hatch employees were located in two different buildings, was a difficult decision.

There’s a psychological attachment to the Terrace that many CBD businesses find difficult to overcome.

Hatch chief financial officer Ian Callahan said the decision to move to Stirling Street was a considerable risk, with several other property managers shocked at the decision.

Within the CBD there aren’t many buildings that can accommodate the large floor plates Hatch was looking for.

“A couple of CBD buildings couldn’t believe we were moving there. Initially we weighed these issues against the large floor plan and the opportunity to make a statement,” Mr Callahan said.

In addition to the generous floor space, the unusually deep floors allowed Blake Thornton-Smith to incorporate innovative downlighting throughout the building.

“This is a very different environment,” Mr Callahan said.

“The colours are designed to be stimu-lating and to get the creative juices flowing. There are al fresco dining meeting rooms, which are really pleasant … it’s a different use of the building that you’re not going to get in the CBD.”

This rather sleepy corner of town is going through a rapid gentrification. Hatch will bring 350 people to the area and a cafe planned for the corner of the building will encourage more visitors to the building

Hatch really wanted to take the opportunity with the new office to create an environment that would attract and retain top-end staff, Blake Thornton-Smith project designer Brendan Wong said.

“Compared to any other office building in Perth they’ve got an extra metre (in floor height). The reflected light of the ceiling minimises glare off computer screens … and gives a bit of an ambient feel.”

A central atrium with balconies provides natural light from the centre of the building to complement the large windows that wrap around the outside of each floor.

“They (Hatch) really asked me to be quite brave and were actually wanting me to move away from a conservative environ-ment,” Mr Wong said.

“It’s a functional utilitarian space but we’ve brought design features that bring out that functionality. A few of the pieces have a sharp engineering edge.

“We looked quite carefully at the design of the (large) floor space, which is why we used different colours to make people feel like they are working in a small neighbourhood but part of a bigger whole.”

Supermail continues to operate from the ground floor, run by building owner Bradley Moore.

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