A 139-year-old building in Melbourne’s inner-city suburb of Carlton has a new purpose in life. The historic Kathleen Syme building has been transformed into a creative, learning and community space – the first of its kind of the area – and its $15.5 million refurbishment helps send the message that everyone is welcome.

The Kathleen Syme building was previously used as a school and its transformation into a learning and communication hub is largely a response to the inner city's growing and diversifying population.

The City of Melbourne engaged Kerry Smith Interior Design for the building’s refurbishment and we supplied custom feature lighting for the interior, including surface-mounted can lights with a perforated finish and large feature pendants with perforated copper finish.

The Kathleen Syme Library and Community Centre’s new interior creates a modern and accessible environment where all members of the community can read, connect, learn and create. It features a social enterprise cafe, technology and conference rooms and a new library with more than 40,000 items. Around 10% of the books and materials are in Chinese, Japanese or Korean.

The refurbishment of the Kathleen Syme Library and Community Centre creates a contemporary environment for the whole community and ensures this historic building is seen in a whole new light.