GPO2 is the former Melbourne General Post Office, in this new incarnation the second floor has been renovated by DesignInc Melbourne for their new office premises. The renovations were completed in 2012 and embrace sustainable design practices.
The studio combines the existing base building and its services with a new work space inside the heritage listed GPO building. The fit out brings together old and new, blending recycled timber and steel with white masonry. Additionally the space uses reclaimed furniture, industrial column lighting and plant-life brought to the interior. The space also uses new technologies such as operable mixed mode windows and large wall projections.
A key driver to the usability of the space required collaborative workspaces, these opportunities have been maximised by integrating the kitchen, meeting spaces, library and an outdoor terrace. Feeding into this concept, the interior workrooms feature a 'pinup gallery' based on the idea of an active street, linking all the collaborative spaces together.
The entire GPO complex was originally built between 1859-1867 by A.E. Johnson. The Neo-Renaissance style was prominent at the time and throughout its history has come to be seen as a Melbourne icon.
The GPO is often referred to as 'the heart of Melbourne' because all road distances are measured out from the site.
In 1992 the Australia Post announced the building would no longer be used as the central mailing office for Melbourne. During the nineties it was proposed to become a shopping mall and then a 5-Star hotel but none of these plans came to fruition. In 2001, most of the interior was lost during a fire, including the regional phone book library.
In October 2004 the building's ground level was opened to the public as a retail space with the heritage aspects remaining intact.
The DesignInc Melbourne office has been included in Open House Melbourne for two years, during that time they had approximately 1800 people through their doors.