A south Melbourne development illustrates how discerning attention to detail can create understated, refined residences.
Jonathan Hallinan, Director and Founder of BPM explains that the brief for the Flora project was to create a “beautifully designed contemporary building with a soft feminine feel to the interiors”. As such from the outset a focus was always going to be on light, open spaces with high quality finishes, fixtures and furnishings.
To achieve this the company enlisted Brayshaw Architects and Hecker Guthrie Interior Designers, who between them completely redesigned the pre-existing Victorian residence. Architecturally the project references the early 20thcentury Bauhaus style with its flat roofs, smooth facades and cubic shapes. This unornamented, minimalist aesthetic translated through to the living spaces and created a clean, contemporary canvas for the interior designers to work with.
Internally the apartments unfold in natural finishes and neutral tones, with abundant natural light lending a luminous, airy dimension to the spaces. Furnishings bring the space to life but remain coherent with the gentle mood, and lux touches like the Italian limestone tiles and oak flooring, Egyptian marble bench tops and Swedish light fittings give an extra layer of tactile and optical gratification. The end result is fairly subdued, and whilst this may not appeal to anyone it is well suited to the intended clientele.
A particular highlight of the spaces is the kitchen, specially designed by chef and restaurateur Guy Grossi and featuring a striking Lacanche enamel French stove. As Paul Hecker of Hecker Guthrie comments, “Grossi has drawn together the theatrical elements of his restaurants and his enjoyment of cooking and integrated them into a domestic model that is instilled into our design”.
The living room in each apartment opens on to a courtyard which has been landscaped to have an natural, southern European feel with high walls, olive trees, lavender and climbing fig plants.
Overall the apartments represent the maturity of the firms involved, demonstrating meticulous attention detail, a close eye for cohesive aesthetics between architecture and design and a strong understanding of the availability and relative merits of high quality residential products. Whilst it is always easier to make a space beautiful when one can afford the best, it is also true that high budgets often result in garish, disjointed spaces. In this case the good taste of the parties involved justifies the lux status and price tag.
Photography: Shannon McGrath