The couple had been living in a number of apartments in Melbourne’s Southbank, both owning and renting in the same building. But then they saw this penthouse, offering views of the city, the Yarra River and through to Albert Park Lake. While the views from the apartment are impressive, the original fit-out, from the early noughties, was fairly basic. So, they engaged Alessandro Spina, Senior Design Consultant at Poliform, to create a new kitchen and butler’s pantry (including a laundry), and assist with aspects of the open plan living areas. Once the kitchen and back-of-house was complete, interior designer Amelia Barry, head of Amelia Barry Interiors came onboard to rework the interior, liaising closely with Spina.
Choosing Poliform for its elegance, sophistication and sense of timelessness, from the moment one enters the apartment, there is very little that doesn’t exude Poliform’s finesse. “We’re one of the few companies that offers the full range of joinery and furniture, from kitchens through to bedrooms and almost every room you can think of,” says Spina, who was conscious of not creating a ‘museum’ of Poliform, but importantly, creating a comfortable and well-appointed home for a professional couple.
As the Poliform kitchen formed the first stage of the project that spanned 18 months, the story starts here. The kitchen, with its textured benchtop and smoked glass splash back, the latter reflecting back on the city skyline, features an irregular-shaped timber breakfast bar and table that cantilevers over two Poliform leather Seattle stools. Given this is a Poliform kitchen, everything has been included, from the built-in wine fridge and Gaggenau ovens, to the extensive built-in drawers on both sides of the island bench. “Take a look at this finish. All the drawers are timber lined and there’s a space for everything, from the large pots and pans to the smaller kitchen appliances,” remarks Barry.
In keeping with Poliform’s sophisticated aesthetic, the selection of furniture and joinery has been finely ‘stitched together’ adding beautiful layers of materials and details. Rooms offer different experiences, but also the opportunity to see key designs from the Poliform collection juxtaposed with other exquisite pieces: like the Mad Joker Armchair in the home office and the design objects thoughtfully placed throughout; the Mondrian dining table and the Manta chairs, and the generous Mondrian sofa set against leading lighting designer Christopher Boots’s pendant light that adds drama to the dining table; and wall lights from Articolo Studios that complement the fine Venetian plaster walls in the main passage.
“We retained most of the ‘bones’ in the apartment but just made changes where we felt they were needed,” says Barry, pointing out the new steel and reeded glass doors that now lead to the study. Glass and steel doors were also inserted between the hallway and the living areas to allow the study to be opened without noise filtering through to the living areas. While in the main bedroom, a Poliform Jacqueline bed and extensive joinery accommodates literally everything one could possibly need, right down to the section of the wardrobe that illuminates an area for shoes, and drawers within drawers that offer places for smaller and more precious items, such as jewellery and watches. “As they say,” says Barry running her hand along the smoke glass free-standing credenza, “‘The ‘devil is in the detail.’”
Rather than designing for a specific client, Whipbird was conceived for those looking for the ultimate getaway. Over three levels, the T-shaped floor plan includes seven-metre-high voids, separate wings for parents, children and guests, and three living areas. There are the main living areas, complete with kitchen and dining area, and a second living area adjacent to the three children’s bedrooms. There’s also a separate guest suite that ingeniously connects to the tennis court and car parking area, with timber blade walls opening to create a subtle connection between the indoors and out. It’s a house for entertaining on a truly grand scale, and a complete oasis away from Noosa’s bustling Hastings Street. ‘The house was conceived to attract an international market, and those who understand the much larger design picture,’ continues Zernich. ‘Whether it’s architecture, furniture, art or fashion.’
For Zernich and his team, furniture and art were always going to be part of the concept. Zerni collaborated with Space Atelier, a team dedicated to curating timeless furniture collections, and with art consultant Jan Manton, who runs a leading contemporary gallery in Brisbane. Space Atelier worked closely with Zerni and Minnow Studio for the last eight months. ‘It was a collaborative approach, understanding the importance of the architecture and all the finishes and fixtures. But we also appreciated Jayden’s vision. There was a sense of confidence and clarity from the start,’ enthuses David Hartikainen, Head of Interiors and Business Development Asia Pacific for Space. For Hartikainen and his team, which included input from stylists and landscape architects, The Conlon Group, it was paramount that the furniture, objects and art appeared recessive to the architecture and its majestic surrounds. Key pieces selected include the brands B&B Italia, Poliform, Arflex and the SP01 collections.