The design brief, says architect Mat Wright of Jolson Architecture, was concentrated on the question: "How do you create sanctuary within this space?""There is a lot going on around this location," he says, and working on a high-rise can be tricky: "You are right next to immediate neighbours and yet you want a sense of seclusion."
The bones of the structure were inherited from a past residential conversion of a commercial building, the exterior of which is arced at the front and back.As a result, says Wright, "everything is radial". Windows curve along the lines. Inside, unusual spatial lines in the floorplan accommodate the arcs.
Jolson Architects' wise response was to use hand-scraped American limed-oak floorboards, which "crank" in the large living area, turning with the arc like a speedometer's arrow.This also has the effect of drawing the eye along the boards to stunning views of the city and parks.At the back of the apartment, through the two bedrooms, views are to the bay and its suburbs.
The project began with a strip-back "to an empty shell", Wright says, though "structural columns and external glazing were retained".A signature of Jolson projects is a minimal but highly considered mix of materials that is instrumental to both amplifying the feeling of space and creating an atmosphere of serenity.
Painted walls are in "Jolson white", jokes Wright - Dulux's China White — which the practice favours because it picks up and reflects any surrounding colours, creating an effect of softness.
Oak boards and travertine are used in both the kitchen and master bathroom — with benchtops "filled" to make them serviceable and tough although the sides remain in their natural, pocked state.The custom-made dining table is made of the same oak it sits upon, he says. "Both vertical and horizontal joins of the table align precisely with the floor joints.
"The use of one material in this instance blurs the line between floor and furniture — it's tranquil, uncomplicated and creates a sense of space."Similarly, Wright says, "this approach is taken in the master suite where floor, bed, wall and joinery are of the same oak floor board".
Yet the project's aim was also to bring together interiors and objects "housed within a strong architectural framework" and most of the striking furniture choices — including the felted, early post-World-War II Utrecht Chair by Gerrit Rietveld — and art work were selected by Jolson Architects as part of the brief.
A large glass lantern on the kitchen bench is the Lanterne Marine by BarberOsgerby for Venini.In the living area, a large credenza unit splits kitchen and lounge areas and in the bar is glassware by British minimalist designer John Pawson made specifically for the project. Concealed on one side is the television.
The deep-green custom-made coffee table has been baked and lacquered to give it an oriental gleam. It echoes the hue of a large Dale Frank painting behind.
"The different shades of green were informed by the clients' affection for the tints of nearby parks and flora," Wright says.
Finally, though, it's what is outside that wins out: "There is the feeling that you own the view, with no one else around."