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Darling Point Apartment

This apartment fitout seeks to capture the faceting geometry of the original 1970s apartment building to give it a renewed life. The client’s extensive artwork collection is innovatively displayed with flexible joinery, allowing the client a curatorial role with its display. The apartment is designed for “empty nesters” downsizing from a large, formal family home to a small apartment.

Darling-Point-Apartment-By-Chenchow-Little-Architects-03-Peter-Bennetts-857x1200 Darling Point Apartment / Chenchow Little Architects

© Peter Bennetts

“The client requested a degree of formality but also sought something novel and surprising to the interior. As a significant benefactor to the Australian art community, the client wished for the apartment to accommodate thirty to forty paintings and sculptures from a previous dwelling. Significant challenges included how to house the large quantity of historically important Australian artwork within limited surface area, and how to reconcile the display of artwork with the breathtaking views and functional planning of the apartment.” –  Chenchow Little

Darling-Point-Apartment-By-Chenchow-Little-Architects-04-Peter-Bennetts-759x543 Darling Point Apartment / Chenchow Little Architects

© Peter Bennetts

Jury Citation / Australian Houses magazine Awards:

“Nothing about this home is average – from the significant collection of Australian art it houses, to the spectacular view it embraces – and Chenchow Little’s refined and surprising design is the perfect match. The interior is reminiscent of the 1950s dwellings of postwar immigrant-s, where an appreciation for art was reflected in every part of the home design. This project represents a more refined interpretation.

Darling-Point-Apartment-By-Chenchow-Little-Architects-05-Peter-Bennetts-759x543 Darling Point Apartment / Chenchow Little Architects

© Peter Bennetts

The bright Esther Stewart artwork in the lift sits in contrast to the floating American oak and painted white steel joinery that define each room and elongate the sense of spatial depth. The timber is repeated on the floors and ceiling, intensifying the contrast to the views of the harbour beyond.

Darling-Point-Apartment-By-Chenchow-Little-Architects-06-Peter-Bennetts-759x488 Darling Point Apartment / Chenchow Little Architects

© Peter Bennetts

There is much joy in what lies behind the surface. Open the moveable panels and you might find a Jeffrey Smart or John Coburn painting. Open the door to a bathroom and you step into another world – each is unique, providing contrast to the monochrome palette of the main rooms.

Darling-Point-Apartment-By-Chenchow-Little-Architects-08-Peter-Bennetts-759x488 Darling Point Apartment / Chenchow Little Architects

© Peter Bennetts

Chenchow Little has created a warm, sophisticated home with a few surprises. The striking interior is immediately appealing but reveals its beauty in the detail.

That an apartment has been named the Australian House of the Year reflects a shift in the way many Australians live today. This project also demonstrates that an apartment can be designed with the same warmth and sophistication as a detached house.”

Darling-Point-Apartment-By-Chenchow-Little-Architects-10-Peter-Bennetts-857x1200 Darling Point Apartment / Chenchow Little Architects

© Peter Bennetts

“Designed to house an extensive art collection, this apartment fulfills the pragmatic brief through the considered design of the many joinery pieces that open to reveal paintings by Jeffrey Smart, John Coburn and Lloyd Rees. The design delivers a beautiful, warm and refined interior punctuated with some quirky surprises.

The bright Esther Stewart artwork in the lift sits in contrast to the refined interior of floating American oak and painted white steel joinery that defines each room and elongates the sense of spatial depth within the small interior. The timber of the joinery is repeated on the floors and ceiling, intensifying the contrast to the views of the harbour beyond. The monochrome palette of the main interior is contrasted against the handsome bathrooms, each of which is unique in its design and picks up on the colours and motifs from the bold lift artwork.

The design is driven by an appreciation of art and architecture, and there is nothing formulaic about it. Far from the stark, white interiors often found in art galleries, the apartment celebrates the selected artwork but has retained the warmth and character of a home.” – Jury Citation / Australian Houses magazine Awards

Darling-Point-Apartment-By-Chenchow-Little-Architects-11-Peter-Bennetts-857x1200 Darling Point Apartment / Chenchow Little Architects

© Peter Bennetts

Chenchow Little Architects:

Whilst most apartment renovations focus on surface treatments this Darling Point apartment fit out seeks to capture and embrace the faceting geometry of the original 1970s apartment building. The 160m2 apartment is designed for a couple downsizing from a large family home. The clients approached Chenchow Little because they sought something beyond the norm that provided a degree of formality whilst also embedding a sense of surprise in the interior concept.

Darling-Point-Apartment-By-Chenchow-Little-Architects-12-Peter-Bennetts-857x1200 Darling Point Apartment / Chenchow Little Architects

© Peter Bennetts

The main living space occupies the three structural bays, each with a different orientation and geometry, with openings that can be closed off but also used to frame views and provide connection between rooms. There are many plays with perspective as the lighting track follows the kinking geometry of the room, with the floorboards and timber ceiling emphasising the bending of the space to give a sense of elongation.

Darling-Point-Apartment-By-Chenchow-Little-Architects-13-Peter-Bennetts-857x1200 Darling Point Apartment / Chenchow Little Architects

© Peter Bennetts

The existing geometry finds further expression in the extensive joinery that defines the interior. Joinery pieces, made in American Oak, appear to float and are designed to house the client’s extensive art collection. Recessed panels have sliding or hinged doors that offer up additional surfaces that allow the owner to curate a fluid, rather than fixed, art display for the 25 paintings housed in the apartment.

Darling-Point-Apartment-By-Chenchow-Little-Architects-14-Peter-Bennetts-858x1200 Darling Point Apartment / Chenchow Little Architects

© Peter Bennetts

The entry from the elevator displays a mural by artist Esther Stewart that covers the walls and ceiling in a geometric pattern true to her distinctive colour palette. These colours are further echoed and highlighted throughout the apartment.

Darling-Point-Apartment-By-Chenchow-Little-Architects-19-Peter-Bennetts-858x1200 Darling Point Apartment / Chenchow Little Architects

© Peter Bennetts

Project Data:

Project name: Darling Point Apartment
Location: Darling Point, New South Wales,Australia
Coordinates: -33.876748, 151.233760
Type: Apartment Interior
Project Area: approx 120 sqm
Status: Completed
Completion Year: 2015

Awards:

  • 2016 – Australian Houses Awards – Category: Australian House of the Year – Winner
  • 2016 – Australian Houses Awards – Category: Apartment or Unit – Winner

The people:

Client / Owner / Developer: Private
Interior Designer: Chenchow Little Architects – Studio 3, 151 Foveaux Street, Surry Hills NSW 2010, Australia
Builder: Pacific Plus Constructions
Text Description: © Courtesy of Chenchow Little Architects
Images: © Chenchow Little Architects, Peter Bennetts

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