In this sleek apartment recently designed by Australian practice Amber Road in Sydney, everything has its place, nothing is wasted, and most things are much more than what at first they seem. The compact inner city apartment is located high in a residential tower with a spectacular view over Sydney harbor. It has been transformed into a sky-high residence for a stylish, well-traveled gentleman, artfully achieving a sense of expansiveness to the immense view of sky, city, and harbor outside, and at the same time, providing a rich, layered and highly functional interior landscape.
The client’s strong sense of color is evident throughout. The custom pink terrazzo vanity in the master bathroom reflects the client’s adventurous spirit, while in the kitchen, living and dining, sophisticated cool greys and strong black injections, have been paired with smart navy accents found in dining chairs and feature walls.
Chocolate timbers, which clad the ceiling to the living spaces, and form the operable divide between the kitchen and lounge/ second bedroom, bring warmth, as does the stunning injection of natural stone in rich earthy rusts and ochre tones, that forms the splashback and feature backdrop to the kitchen.
The hero of the dining experience is the dining table. Working closely with talented Sydney based joiner Jonathan West, the studio modernized and celebrated an Australian/Asian dining favourite: ‘The Lazy Susan’. The 1.8m wide glass table is sandwiched between a faceted black timber base and rotating disc top. The fabric-covered pendant light hanging above the dining table has been custom designed with a maker in the U.S.A, using vintage ticking material. A pulley system means it can be lowered or raised high above the table for a full view of the client’s favourite painting on the wall behind.
Before the transformation, the kitchen was located on the opposite side of the apartment to where it stands today. Unable to core drill into the existing slab, the studio opted to raise the existing floor and lay new terrazzo tiles. Services were run through screeds and up through an oversized drum detail to the kitchen island, serving as one of its legs.
Kitchen bench depths were also made more generous to accommodate for plumbing to run behind joinery. Access to the balcony is off the kitchen, which blocked the ability to return the kitchen or install a conventional island. As a result, a sculptural form was designed, and in doing so, not only allows for a clear egress path around the island, but transforms a typically, solely functional element into a piece of sculpture.
At the entry to the apartment, three existing plumbing stacks required to feed all levels of the building were originally concealed behind a bulky piece of joinery. Realizing quite quickly that it was from this vantage point that one could first appreciate glimpses to the harbor beyond, Amber Road decided to leave the three vertical service elements exposed and meticulously dress one in dark brown leather boot lace, wrapped from top to bottom and casually tied off at the hip. An early decision was to leave the cement base and services raw and exposed, with a simple materials palette comprising terrazzo, timber and stone as the perfect complement to the concrete base build.
Everything here has been carefully designed to do more than one job. Due to the formidable size constraints, every square centimeter of the apartment has been optimized. In many instances, elements provide more than one function: the living area doubles up as a guest bedroom; custom timber louvered screens can divide and screen the second bedroom from the dining area, transforming what can be a bright and airy lounge into a dark and moody bedroom within seconds. The decorative grey stained panel with ochre linear pulls, is both a backdrop to watch a movie upon, [a projector screen is concealed within the timber clad ceiling] but pull on its handle and the beautifully detailed door reveals a Murphy bed for sleep overs.
Dividing and forming the wall between the kitchen and master bedroom, a bank of black curved cabinetry, doubles up as a ledge and robe in the master bedroom, and storage for the kitchen. In addition, a slim 150mm recess in the master bedroom was transformed into shoe storage and adorned with textured seat pads to provide the perfect bum perch while tying shoelaces.
In the master bath, the large mirror was custom designed to house three ceramic vessels to house loose toothbrushes and combs. Discreet full height cabinetry is squeezed into corners and cavities to accommodate other bathroom essentials.
At the entry to the apartment, a fully serviced laundry is disguised behind sliding doors and addresses a custom off form terrazzo ledge [supported by an existing structural concrete column] and provides a ledge to place keys and coins on, on arrival.