Story by Colleen Hawkes
Photography by Jamie Cobel
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Bold sculptural furniture and furnishings in this penthouse apartment interior by Fitt De Felice, in the Eureka Tower
Designing an interior for a penthouse apartment that covers more than 700m2 brings its own challenges, especially when the space needs to work for the family and corporate entertaining.
However, for architects Kylie Fitt and Elida De Felice of Fitt De Felice, who were commissioned to design this penthouse, it helped to be involved early in the planning stages. Because the apartment sits on its own floor at the top of the Eureka Tower in Melbourne, the team was able to position key services without interfering with the rest of the building.
"We were given a lot of freedom with the planning, but the home needed to be dual purpose," Fitt says. "The client is a leading developer who does a lot of entertaining, so there had to be a strong architectural element to the project. The interior needed to be contemporary and impressive, but we also had to provide subtlety and nuances in the planning to create intimate spaces for the family."
The sense of grandeur is evident right from the generously sized lobby, which has delicately fluted walls that offer a post-modern version of a classical Doric column. A long passageway featuring a dropped ceiling in black steel leads the eye through the main living area to the expansive view beyond.
"The dropped ceiling element links the public and private ends of the apartment, and acts as a visual anchor," says Fitt. "It provides a way to orientate yourself, wherever you are within the apartment."
An unusual jagged diamond-shaped floorplate also helped determine the layout.
"There was no notion of a rectilinear floor space, so we had to generate an array of fairly complex spaces," Fitt says.
"We chose to celebrate the jagged triangulated shapes in the floorplate, by positioning the open-plan living area and master suite at the two sharp ends of the building. We then took the opportunity to create a sweeping, extroverted living space that sits on its own timber platform."
Dark, sculptural furniture in curved forms balances the geometric nature of the floorplate. The furniture also provides a quiet visual counterpoint to the drama provided by the ever-changing view.
"The owner's extensive art collection is displayed throughout the interior," says Fitt. "Although there are not many spare walls for large artworks, the sculptures work well in the grand space."
The formal living area is positioned alongside a quieter, more intimate sitting area, defined by a dropped ceiling in figured black gum, and a circular rug.
"This is a rather introspective space, even though it is in the middle of the living area," says Fitt. "It has its own fireplace, and is set beside a leather-clad box that appears as an insertion within the overall living area. This upholstered box element, which accommodates two powder rooms, has been kept as streamlined as possible – there are no visible handles to the doors."
Travertine marble floors feature in the circulation areas, running through to the kitchen and casual dining area. The step between the travertine floor and the timber platform is defined by an LED lighting strip that makes the platform appear to float. As well as enhancing the importance of the living area, the platform provides space for key services, including air conditioning.
In keeping with the need to cater to corporate entertaining, the penthouse has two kitchens. The front-of-house kitchen features a travertine island, and crisp, brushed steel cabinetry in black.
"The kitchen has a very sharp, almost industrial look," says Fitt. "But the effect is softened by the tallow timber table top that cantilevers out from the island."
The second kitchen is tucked behind the main kitchen. A sliding door can be pulled to extend the size of this kitchen by blocking off the main living area from the family room behind.
In the private wing of the penthouse, the master suite perches like an eyrie above the city. A freestanding circular tub sits within the pointy end of the floorplate. The two vanities are also positioned to maximise the view – one is cantilevered out across the floor-to-ceiling windows. The other vanity has a full-height mirror that reflects the view back into the room.
Round light fixtures attached to the ceiling, which resemble bubbles, reinforce the circular theme, and provide another counterpoint to the angled floorplate.
Sheer curtains feature in the master bedroom and family room – there are also roller blinds throughout the penthouse.
"These are used to block direct sun, rather than the view," says Fitt. "Catching different glimpses of the city as you move through the apartment is all part of the amazing experience of living so high up."
First published date: 28 June 2014
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|Architect and interior designer for interior||Elida De Felice and Kylie Fitt, Fitt De Felice (Fitzroy, Vic)|
|Furniture selection and art direction||Anja de Spa, Molecule|
|Builder and kitchen manufacturer||Krongold Constructions|
|Flooring||Silver travertine from Signorino; stained tallow decking from Woodform Architectural around spa|
|Lighting||Artemide and Euroluce|
|Roller blinds and fold curtains||Alessi Design|
|Furnishings||Space Furniture; Hub Furniture|
|Audiovisual equipment and security system||Cableman|
|Kitchen cabinetry||Rimex black stainless steel|
|Benchtops and splashback||Caesarstone in Classica Jet Black|
|Oven, warming drawer, dishwasher, refrigeration and coffee machine||Miele|
|Bathroom wall and floor tiles||Saturnia travertine from Signorino|
|Master ensuite vanity basins||Parisi|
|Basin mixers||Paco Jaanson d38|
|Spa bath||Zucchetti Kos Geo|