ANZ Banking Museum

A Museum In Which You Bank

Naarm / Melbourne
Heritage / Exhibition
Joe Vittorio

Foolscap Studio have reimagined the ANZ Gothic Bank’s interior to incorporate a Specialist Hub and a Banking Museum showcasing ANZ’s history. Built in 1887, the bank is Victoria’s second most significant heritage building. Working with a team of specialist collaborators, Foolscap Studio have returned the interior to its former glory; with the design and restoration celebrating the ornate craftsmanship while creating a forward-thinking space optimised for customers’ changing needs. 

Foolscap Studio undertook a sympathetic yet progressive approach guided by a concept of ‘Open Heritage’; working to foster an open and welcoming space for sharing social history through ANZ’s impressive archival collection. The team seamlessly integrated modern amenities to better activate the space while showcasing the interior’s existing history and meeting strict security necessities. 

Foolscap Studio reconfigured the layout to reinstate the bank’s original footprint, allowing the uncovering and restoration of the foyer’s original mosaic tiles – 35% of which were refurbished or replicated using traditional techniques – and optimising viewers’ access to the 110m2 glass skylight. Further restoration included the reinstatement of 23 karat gold leaf stencilling on columns. 

A key consideration was to ensure the beautifully crafted blackwood teller counters, removed in the reconfiguration, had a place within the updated space. To do this, Foolscap Studio repurposed the original timber extensively in the joinery throughout the project; in the concierge desk, the retail sales pod counters, and the museum showcases. Touchscreens were incorporated into these showcase cabinets to present interactive multimedia content while also displaying physical artefacts within the same unit. Motorised hydraulic lift mechanisms were also incorporated into these units to raise the 1.7m2 glass hoods and reveal artefacts displayed on top of plinths. Additionally, it was also important the bank tellers were catalogued and photographed for historical records as part of this process. 

The museum’s custom joinery pieces were functionally designed to be used flexibly as a family, with the plinths’ ability to be reconfigured in multiple ways to facilitate temporary exhibition displays. These were also designed for disassembly to make way for large-scale events. 

Further melding the existing fabric with new design elements, Foolscap took graphic cues from the ceiling’s Japanese wallpaper and applied these motifs in the new carpet. Transparent LED film was creatively utilised to conceal a meeting pod with video content. 

To continue the bank’s history of employing local craftspeople, Foolscap Studio collaborated with furniture-maker Hugh McCarthy and glass artist Liam Fleming to create bespoke pieces for the space. These considerate contemporary elements complement the architecture’s history while recognising the next generation of craftspeople. 

As well as the repurposed counters, a considerable amount of existing furniture from the client’s storage was used – including 20 year old Cassina cab chairs. Where new furniture was necessary, Melbourne-based manufacturers such as Ross Gardam and Jardan were featured. 


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