Siena College

Interior Design: Williams Ross Architects
Photography: Gallant Lee
Siena College is an independent Catholic school for girls, founded in the 1930s in the Dominican tradition. 

Located in Camberwell, Melbourne, Siena is known for its friendly culture and excellent educational standards as well as its breathtaking Byzantine-style chapel and convent..
Siena College Case Study Designer Rugs

The Journey

The iconic multi-domed 1939 Byzantine-revival convent and cloisters have always been the spiritual heart of the Catholic college. Once the sacred preserve of the closed order of Dominican sisters who founded and ran Siena College from 1940, the convent accommodated Siena’s music and drama departments in modern times.

Restoration of the convent and cloisters was the final stage of large-scale upgrade of the school.
Designed by Williams Ross Architects, the restoration project included a new school reception, offices for the principal and the deputy principal, a boardroom, function space, staff amenties and a heritage centre to share the college’s religious and academic history. 

The convent would serve as the new front entrance of the college and needed to reflect the rich history and community values of the school.
Oscar-winning film, stage, interior designer and Designer Rugs collaborator Catherine Martin
Designer Rugs has history of delivering highly sought after pieces for commercial and retail spaces.
Catherine Martin - Oscar winning designer

The Solution

Designer Rugs worked closely with Williams Ross Architects to select designs that reflected both the heritage of the school, as well as their innovative and future-focussed spirit. Using our broad range of existing in house designs and designer collections, each rug was carefully curated and customized to fit the clients needs. 

For the heritage centre, selections were made from the Catherine Martin collection to reflect the beauty and history of the space. For the staff and boardroom areas, dynamic and modern designs from Transient collection were chosen to create an energetic administrative space, conducive to learning and working.

As the convent served as the first impression of the school for visitors, the entrance rugs needed to look their best at all times. 100% New Zealand wool hand tufted in the highest quality was chosen for its durability, its performance under high foot traffic and its superior absorption of dye for deep, vibrant colour.

Each design was customized in either size, shape or colour for a bespoke result. Whether perfectly fitted to a boardroom table size, or carefully colour matched to furniture finishes and timber, each custom rug was created to fit seamlessly into their surroundings and elevate the space.

The Result

The final project exceeded the clients expectations, and resulted in beautiful, reinvigorated spaces for students, staff and the community to learn teach and gather in. The interiors are innovative without competing with the heritage building itself – the space reflects the bright future of the school while allowing reflection to the past. The rugs provide strong anchors, and fulfill the need of both form and function in softening, elevating and creating a strong narrative for this special project.

“In working closely with Designer Rugs, it offered an opportunity for WRA to collaborate with the college to achieve a beautiful collection of rugs customized to suit the sensitive nature of the interior architecture. The design process with Designer Rugs was most enjoyable and straightforward, resulting in a rug collection that are of exceptional quality and design.” - Amanda Meiklejohn, Senior Associate – Lead Interiors

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