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Feature Focus: La Storia, Carlton

Feature Focus

La Storia
88 Pelham Street
Carlton
VIC

Dream Team

Architect: m3 Design Pty Ltd
Project Manager: m3 Consulting Pty Ltd
Builder: Camillo
Structural & Civil Engineer: Adams Engineering Pty Ltd
Services Engineer: JBA Engineering Pty Ltd
In collaboration with: Smeg, Sub-Zero, and Astra Walker


In this feature, we walk you through the behind the scenes of the La Storia project. From the inspiration to the history of the location – this project is one that’s close to home. It’s what didn’t make the press releases, but equally deserves to be shared.

Setting the Scene

At the turn of the century, Carlton was introduced to the first Italian immigrants. By way of the first pour of espresso machine coffee, the first gelato scoop, and the first bite of the bakery’s authentic home-style treats, the area was aptly transformed into ‘Little Italy’. The strong community spirit is palpable even today, where the crossroads of art, cinema, food, and culture is enjoyed by both locals and visitors alike.

La Storia is located at the corner of Cardigan and Pelham Street, along the wide greenlined streets of Carlton. The site was actually the client’s base of operations for 40 years! Though many positive experiences were had on the site, they wanted to give the opportunity to other families to have the same positive memories in Carlton as they did.

The Brief

Originally permitted as a 46-apartment building, there was an early change of direction that led to limiting the number of apartments to 21, making each unit significantly larger. The idea was to create 21 homes, rather than 21 apartments.

The intent was to create a monument to Carlton, an homage to the history of the area, full of migrant stories and rich Italian culture. The project would not only deliver on the quality it promised to its buyers, but truly be a home for generations of families.

Catering to families with multiple children, all the way to downsizers and empty nesters, the unique 3-bedroom floorplans were designed to have distinction between ‘public’ (kitchen, living, and dining communal areas) and ‘private’ spaces (i.e., bedrooms). Each home prioritises natural light and airflow, for maximum functionality and movement.

Little Italy’s La Storia is an apartment project never before seen in Carlton, and will likely not be seen again.

The Inspiration

La Storia pays homage to both Carlton and Italy. It simultaneously represents and is inspired by the rich history of its surroundings and famous immigrant culture. The stories of this hard-working inner-city suburb permeate through the unique café culture, street architecture and town squares. There is a resemblance of the old country here, dotted between the local landmarks and tree-lined paths.

Taking its lead from the work of 20th century Venetian architect and designer Carlo Scarpa, this thoughtful and considered residential building mirrors his passion for materiality – celebrating an almost obsessive dedication to the craft.

There is a mix of ancient with modern, the strong with the natural, the generous with the intimate, the subtle with the subversive. La Storia bursts with lightness, spareness, and balance – a reflection on great Italian design.

The Design

Technically part of the modernist movement, Scarpa honoured the past with stunning simplicity. His design language is tangible in all corners of La Storia, where simple and honest materials are delivered with substance, to the highest quality possible. Designed as a solid structure using a natural yet strong materiality – marble and concrete – the beauty and permanence of the building takes on an almost monolithic presence. Inside, the spaces are crafted in stone, concrete, and glass, softened by handcrafted elements that create a sense of warmth.

La Storia has been designed to age gracefully and leave its mark on an area that has provided so much to Melbourne’s DNA.

The Outcome

We will deliver 21 three-bedroom residences into the vibrant community of Carlton, becoming a part of its rich tapestry.

La Storia will exist to communicate the memories of the past while solidifying the future for generations to come. Centred around family, storytelling, and enjoying the company of loved ones, each home will feature a generous entertaining space, whether indoors or out.

The bold lines and strong materials of each residence will pay homage to Italy and the architects that inspired it, while inviting an air of relaxed sophistication that Carlton is uniquely known for.

Residents and visitors can both embrace or switch off Carlton’s cosmopolitan energy: once you cross the monolithic threshold and enter the building, you’re able to quiet the noise and enjoy the views of green, cityscapes, and northern expanses from the stillness of home.

Connection to the future doesn’t stop at the approach to design: environmentally conscious decisions will be seamlessly integrated into the building. Solar panels and energy efficiency are paramount, with all appliances adhering to the same goals of high design and low environmental footprint. From choosing to install the finest drying cupboards to working with partners to uphold high standards of the green economy, La Storia makes a commitment to good design in more ways than one.


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