We step inside designer Christopher Elliott’s new Melbourne studio, underpinned by design authenticity, craftsmanship and a ‘sense of home’.
Christopher Elliott established his namesake design studio in 2005 with the vision of crafting bespoke, honest and meticulously crafted interiors. During the pandemic, when Christopher and his small Melbourne-based team were working from home – as they had always done even pre-Covid – the plan for a permanent studio space began to unfold. “It took COVID to convince me that working from home was no longer right for me or the longevity of my team,” Christopher says.
They found their new home inside an industrial red-brick warehouse in Richmond. They approached the interiors intending to reignite the team’s desire to return to the office – infusing it with comforting and calming elements that emulate the feeling of being at home.
Your studio is located inside an industrial red-brick building in Richmond, Melbourne. What do you love most about the area?
Christopher Elliott: The studio is on a quiet cul-de-sac with a leafy outlook. It’s a calm and private space, which is always my preference. That being said, we are opposite a primary school that plays an eclectic mix of pop music, and the irony of hearing Dolly’s ‘Nine to Five’ crank up on the loudspeaker as the kids start their day is gold!
How is your studio a reflection of you and your design approach?
Christopher Elliott: Purchasing my own studio was a milestone moment after many years of working from home. I wanted the space to reflect my design approach, especially after operating in a compromised space and feeling like it didn’t align with the work we produced. It was a dream come true when we moved in, and I was able to fill the space with pieces that I love and value. I selected everything, from the cutlery to the furniture, because of its design and function.
Talk us through the material palette – what atmosphere or emotions were you trying to evoke?
Christopher Elliott: The material palette came about in response to the building’s architecture of exposed concrete floors, walls, and recycled red brick columns. I liked the industrial look, but it lacked the polished design sensibility we bring to our work.
I chose elegant finishes to juxtapose against the raw nature of the building, exemplified by the concealed bar that opens up like a butterfly to reveal sumptuous, curved Verdi Alpi stone, solid brass shelves, bronze mirror and glossy 2-pac joinery.
Overall, I selected a warm palette to offset all the austere concrete and black elements that were part of the existing interior shell. It was important that the studio felt comfortable and welcoming, like a home, not a typical workspace – something I am confident we achieved as nearly every person who visits us for the first time asks if I also live in the space.
How did you go about selecting the furniture for the space?
Christopher Elliott: The furniture is a mix of design favourites and custom pieces I designed specifically for the studio. I wanted to use pieces that we specify in our projects rather than pieces that I just selected for the workspace.
In our entrance, which is a tiny space, it was crucial to find a sculptural sofa that felt generously proportioned, and Massproduction’s Dandy has been a studio favourite for a long time. The sofa anchored the space while everything else seamlessly fell into place around it.
We also worked with our industry partners to customise their off-the-shelf products to provide a more tailored and bespoke result. This was the case with Armadillo & Co’s Odessa rug, where we rounded a corner and increased the pile height to make it more reminiscent of traditional Berber-style rugs.
Christopher opted for refined finishes to contrast with the building’s raw essence, such as the Verdi Alpi stone, solid brass, bronze mirror and 2-pac joinery of the fold-out bar.
Tell us about some of your favourite pieces in the studio!
Christopher Elliott: I love our Triad table, a round sculptural form with soft curves made from solid travertine that I designed specifically for the space. It’s very practical; we use it to present to clients, meet with suppliers, and host our studio lunches – a social event we regularly hold for our industry friends.
Another piece I designed, and I am particularly proud of, is our materials library shelving. From that blossomed a collaboration with grazia&co where we have evolved the design into a small furniture range that will be offered in their products, aptly named ‘Studio’.
“It was important that the studio felt comfortable and welcoming like a home, not a typical workspace – something I am confident we achieved as nearly every person who visits us for the first time asks if I also live in the space.”