Signorino Melbourne


Signorino’s prominence and long history as a luxury tile importer and retailer has made them a Melbourne institution. To reflect the quality and tradition upon which the family has built a stone empire, an iconic, contemporary destination showroom was required.

Having purchased the once derelict warehouse in – what was in the early 1990’s – the working class suburb of Richmond, the façade and showroom has seen various iterations over the last 3 decades. However in a tribute to, and celebration of, over 30 years in Church Street Richmond, an innovative and cutting edge retail destination now stands in its place.

The design orders an entire façade of travertine panels cladding the built form of the existing, prominent corner site.

Recalling the design inspiration of the monolithic carved forms of Milanese Architecture, the architectural design response seeks to show an exemplar of the craftsmanship and expertise contained within.

Saw cut travertine panels, each meticulously arranged to work to the grid and rhythm of the base building architecture, the intention was to highlight Signorino as a fashion boutique amongst its more typical neighbours. This presents the sheer beauty of travertine in its most simple form – raw, unadulterated, authentic.

The selection of travertine, characterised by its open fissures, surface troughs and concentric texture, was made to highlight the brutal beauty of centuries old stone and when illuminated from below at night, the entire corner site glows like a lantern with its striking horizontal banding, exacted to precise measurements of stone setout.

The statement of this compact yet highly considered, minimal form appears abstract in its predominantly gritty neighbourhood. A singular reliance on stone as the hero allows the building to do the talking – celebrating heritage, purpose, and heralding a new icon in this retail destination.

Address – 484 Church Street Richmond Melbourne, VIC
Status – Completion 2018
Scope – Architecture
Photography – Earl Carter