Inspiring innovation: Design Factory Melbourne

Posted on Feb 11, 2022

As architects and designers, we value our role in creating spaces that support next-generation research and innovation. Our design for the Swinburne University of Technology’s innovation hub, the Design Factory Melbourne (DFM), continues to support vital design-led problem solving in our post-pandemic world.


As a multidisciplinary, purpose-built design space, The DFM brings together industry, researchers and students to solve real-world problems within an interdisciplinary environment. Part of a global network, the DFM was the first of its kind in Australia, taking inspiration from the original Design Factory at Aalto University in Helsinki.


Balancing new and old, our brief was to rework the heritage-listed Edwardian-era Hawthorn fire station with the addition of a new four level extension. The new hub focuses on interconnectedness and transparency, contrasting the secular layout of the existing building while supporting the innovation programmes and inclusivity.


The new building contrasts the heritage building in geometric and tectonic composition, but draws from its rich materiality, with ribbons of glazing complement the bandages of the heritage building. The upper floors of the building include flexible spaces with sliding and stackable walls, allowing users to readily reconfigure spaces to their diverse requirements.


Visit to learn more about the DFM and its current research and projects.


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Pictured: The Design Factory Melbourne, which forms part of Swinburne’s Innovation Precinct, and includes our award-winning Factory of the Future. Photo by John Gollings.