The Margaret River Chocolate Company

Harman’s Mill Road, Metricup, Western Australia

The question: How could we resolve an iconic WA company’s growing pains, carry out construction during regular trade and keep it all within a tight budget?
The answer: Chocolate.

The Margaret River Chocolate Company approached us with a challenge common to all successful businesses at one point or another – their business was growing faster than their resources could cope with. They needed to roughly double the size of the existing premises – one of the region’s most popular tourist destinations – within a limited budget, and do it all while still remaining open for business. Given that the site is itself such a huge part of the experience of the company, it was also important for us to make sure that the new design was true to the brand in every way.

With such an iconic company and their universally adored product, there was only one choice for the new look of the site. We adapted and extended the original buildings, but gave them a new facade made of plywood, which transforms them into a giant block of chocolate. The warm tones of the wood are naturally reminiscent of cocoa and chocolate, and we introduced bold red and black colouring to add vibrancy, texture and a sense of welcome to the facade. Our approach was based on the traditional rural shed, with corrugated Zincalume cladding elements to offset the plywood. This relatively simple construction style also helped us to keep costs down for the owners, and allowed them to stay open while we worked.

The beautiful Wilyabrup location also called for a range of new sustainability features. We incorporated a new rainwater collection system, including substantial tank storage, and installed waterless urinals. We also ensured that the interior finishes, like the polished concrete flooring, were hardy and low-maintenance to manage the ever-increasing influx of hungry visitors.