Mercedes Me Melbourne is one of seven concept stores globally. Situated on the ground level of the Rialto, on the corner of Collins and King Streets, the site occupies a highly prominent position in an area of the city currently undergoing extensive regeneration. Part of an extensive Rialto redevelopment, the design needed to capture this shift and provide a focal point for the surrounding precinct.
Project Name: Mercedes Me
Studio Name: Jackson Clements Burrows Architects (JCB)
Location: Melbourne, Australia
Photography: Peter Clarke
Project size: 560 m2
Completion date: 201
Building levels: 2
The premise was to evoke a connection with the language, care and finesse associated with the design of Mercedes-Benz cars, while also capturing a distinctly Melbourne flavour. A primary driver was to create a space to showcase Mercedes-Benz’s active role in Melbourne’s cultural landscape through its support of festivals, sporting events and arts events. It was also to provide a platform for tapping into and nurturing Melbourne’s thriving bespoke artisan culture.
Beyond this, the space needed to embrace versatility on multiple levels, transitioning seamlessly from daytime cafe and meeting place to evening event space for opening parties, launches and black tie functions. Developing out of this brief, in close collaboration with ST. ALi, the idea of the home emerged. The local café is, for many a Melbournian, an extension of their lounge room.
A home being a place in which each member of the family finds their place; they can come together in a group when they feel like company, or retreat to a quiet corner when seeking solitude. The design developed on the premise of creating a series of spatial sequences differing in size and character. These oscillate between private nooks, gathering spots and public-facing zones that capture views onto the surrounding streetscape.
The Living Room, situated at ground level, features an open-plan kitchen, dining tables, and leather banquettes; and is skirted by an open-air garden linking to the street. Sculptured stairs linking private booths lead from here up to an espresso bar and floating loft. To the right, the Library offers an open collaborative space and next to it, a plinth leading to the Drawing Room. Beyond this, the Meet the Maker space, is an arena for Melbourne artisans to discuss their work and show their wares.
The interior design language draws its inspiration from the Mercedes-Benz factories of the mid-20th century, particularly their fine suspended steelwork supporting lighting grids and production line processes. In this way, the gesture of the frame became the driving force behind the design, an element to wrap around and unify the space: the frame becomes the balustrade, the lighting frame and so on. From day into night, a curtain wraps around the inner framed volume and transforms it into an event area, a stage, the centrepiece of which is the car.
The material palette draws from leather, limestone, polished concrete, timber and steel framework, creating an industrial feel. Dotted throughout are state-of-the-art multimedia touchpoints – ‘jewellery-like’ display boxes and projection screens, illuminated from above by theatre-style lighting. This digital engagement is playful and dynamic, inviting visitors to engage with the brand in multiple ways.