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Concrete House
PROJECTS  /  Concrete House

Concrete House

Location:
Melbourne
Type:
House
Year:
2014
Interior Designer:
Matt Gibson Architecture + Design
Photographer:
Derek Swalwell

To describe this new house, designed by Matt Gibson Architecture and Design and located in bayside Melbourne, is an exercise in the careful use of adjectives and qualification. For to speak solely of the materials as we see them from the street – stacked stone, blackbutt timber, black steel, glass, lots of concrete – is to risk conjuring mental images of something massive, monolithic, possibly austere.

But in the hands of this practice, these materials have been used to achieve a very different effect, as you can surely see in the photographs accompanying this review. The timber-and-stone-clad lower level recedes among the shadows of the front garden; this part of the facade is wonderfully textured, with the black-steel-shrouded entry providing a central focal point. But what really catches the eyes of passers-by is the upper level. Essentially a concrete frame to a wall of glass, it’s large and rectilinear but certainly not massive or monolithic, flaring outwards like some elegant aperture for observing the outside world.

The surprising lightness of the upper level is largely a result of the concrete’s wide, flat profile and artfully tapered edges – it narrows from a four-hundred-millimetre-thick wall to one-hundred-millimetre-thick rounded edges at the front. This combination of materiality and execution explicitly represents the architect’s synthesis of his clients’ brief: they wanted a home imbued with a mid-century modernist sensibility, and concrete was to be a key building material. 

Although the house looks from the outside as though it is clearly separated into two levels, inside the relationship between lower and upper levels is far less binary. Passing through the black front door, visitors are delivered into a double-height lobby that feels as much like a gallery as it does a residential entrance.

The white walls are hung with paintings and awash with sunlight coming in through roof windows, and a short balcony provides a glimpse of a walkway between upstairs bedrooms.

A few steps further into the house, the ceiling height lowers before opening out again into another double-height space, this one much more expansive, with living, dining and kitchen areas, and concealable sliding glass panels that open out to the north-facing rear garden and the pool and cabana beyond. It’s a lofty space made all the more airy thanks to its direct connection to the outdoors, and the subtle palette of white plaster walls, polished concrete floors and oak-panelled ceiling does little to distract from the outward view. Materials and colours have been chosen as a subtle backdrop to the clients’ daily life as well as to their art collection.

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Aston Chair

Aston Chair

Minotti / Rodolfo Dordoni

Aston is a chair that envelopes you, inviting you in, to experience its innate elegance and comfort. The soft padded fram rests on tapered solid ash legs with open pore tobacco stain or open pore lacq... More

Bash Vessels - Gold

Bash Vessels - Gold

Tom Dixon

Appropriately named, Bash vessels are formed from a single brass sheet and hammered into shape by hand, creating an expressive crumpled form, available in lavish gold and silver. The silver wash softe... More

Cesar

Cesar

Minotti / Rodolfo Dordoni

A pencil stroke. A zigzag turning into matters and lighting up in colour, Cesar can live a life of its own: A pure piece of furniture/sculpture which tells about a possible achievement of contemporary... More

Enamel Vessels

Enamel Vessels

Tom Dixon

Vessels; Trio, Quad and Pentad are designed in three bold geometric shapes which can be placed in multiple configurations. Glazed in vitreous enamel, these pieces are tough, hygienic and hardwearing. ...

Gem Collection

Gem Collection

Tom Dixon

Gem Collection Gem Candelabra Gold - DISCONTINUED Transform your interior with this Gem Candelabra from Tom Dixon. Aluminium in rich brass colour has been sand casted to create a textured surface fe... More

Hex Collection

Hex Collection

Tom Dixon

Hex Champagne Bucket is a solid copper champagne bucket, hand formed with a hammered hexagonal pattern and polished finish. Also useful as a generous flower vase or extravagant waste paper basket. ... More

Mass Coat Stand

Mass Coat Stand

Tom Dixon

Huge chunks of heavyweight, metallic, minimalism. Mass is monster furniture which sets scale and governs authority over any space. A statuesque coat stand featuring irregular and angular protrusio...

Petal Tables

Petal Tables

Knoll Studio / Richard Schultz

Richard Schultz designed the Petal Table to accompany the Bertoia Chairs. The tops on these tables are made of eight petals, which are mounted on a beautifully crafted cast aluminium. Schultz was ins... More

Raymond Tables

Raymond Tables

Minotti / Rodolfo Dordoni

An interplay of shapes and proportions, with a bold asymmetry that seems to defy the force of gravity. This is the ruling aesthetic motif of the collection of Raymond occasional and coffee tables. T... More

Williams

Williams

Minotti / Rodolfo Dordoni

The William seating system, which is going to grow into a classic, stands out for its remarkable aesthetic character, smart proportions and immediate comfort as resulting from the use of 'thermosensit...

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