WMK’s Melbourne Architecture and Interiors team continues to go from strength to strength. With a new regional hotel approved in Bendigo and several other architecture and interiors projects in the pipeline, we sat down with Steve Tillinger, Director of WMK Architecture in Melbourne who is leading the team towards new horizons.
The regional Victorian city of Bendigo with its rich and prosperous history, stunning architecture, and meticulously manicured gardens has received unanimous planning approval for a new 105 room hotel on the corner of Williamson and Mollison Streets.
We sat down with WMK’s Director in Melbourne, Steve Tillinger, to understand what makes this project unique and to get an insight into what’s important to him in leading the successful WMK Melbourne office.
Exciting times for Bendigo, what makes this new Art Series Hotel so special?
Bendigo is a rapidly growing city but like many regional Australian centres lacks quality accommodation options. As regional migration and tourism continue to grow, Amber Property Group's hotel development will help address this need and promote private development and investment, whilst stimulating employment opportunities locally. The Bendigo Council and Councillors were supportive of the development application. Achieving this outcome was a significant achievement by the WMK, client, and consultant team. The site exists within a heritage precinct and to achieve support from planning officers and local ward councillors was a great endorsement of the collaborative process undertaken at each critical step of the design process.
Usually not one to sit in the spotlight Steve, tell us about yourself?
Those that know me well would know I’m a country boy at heart who believes strongly in simple virtues such as honesty, integrity, and accountability. This coupled with an unwavering commitment to leading with love frames every decision we make be that project, business, and most importantly people based.
What is your approach to managing the WMK Melbourne office?
First and foremost, people come first. This applies to our team, to our clients, and end-user. Everything we do is about relationships, the team – is underpinned by authenticity, integrity, and love.
Clients ultimately trust you with their projects and budget, and so we treat them as though we are spending our own money. We consistently work together internally and with our clients to deliver solutions that add value in the physical context and enhance the user experience of the spaces we create.
The results we have achieved are a testament to this collegiate approach. Most of our Melbourne work comes from repeat business and referrals because our clients become our trusted friends and family.
We have a strong architecture and interiors team in Melbourne filled with incredible talent. Much of the team have worked together for many years forming a real team spirit that transcends beyond project work. It is these bonds that assist our team in continually delivering innovative, responsive and tailored design outcomes on the projects we are commissioned to develop.
Is WMK located only in Melbourne?
No. WMK has a significant Melbourne presence, offices nationally and is one of the few large design practices with a studio in Geelong. Our studio in Geelong demonstrates our commitment to regional Victoria and assists us greatly in servicing regional areas not to mention me being a Geelong boy at heart.
What else is the WMK Melbourne team working on?
WMK Melbourne has recently completed some fantastic architecture and interiors projects including 31 Queen St, Latrobe Gov Hub, and Urbis Melbourne. We are currently working on a number of projects with the most notable being the 20,000m2 commercial office tower located at 263 William Street in Melbourne.
Offering a true multi-disciplinary design service that transcends architecture and interiors is a key focus for our studio and one that will continue to differentiate the service we provide.
Where do you see the market opportunities in Melbourne in the next 12 months?
People’s perceptions are very different post-COVID, and this is particularly being reflected across the commercial, and resi sectors. The commercial sector is still going to be strong, with refurb, repositioning, and workplace reflecting the changing ways of working. We are seeing large interest outside the CBD, including regional locations.
There is a shift in the residential market with a focus on quality, small to medium scale developments.
The hotel sector has suffered but we see it bouncing back to life with a direct impact on regional locations.
Overall, the industry will keep moving forward and finding opportunities to adapt to the current climate and position itself in the future.
When you’re not working, where will we find you?
Coaching is one of my many passions. It drives me personally and professionally and the synergy between sport and business is truly unique. Inspiring, guiding, and helping others achieve a collective pursuit or endeavour is a privilege and something I’m very blessed to be able to do.