Story by Trends
Photography by Tom Blachford
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This new South Yarra apartment building faces out to a pretty pocket park
Photographer: Tom Blachford
About the project: Our new residential project in South Yarra navigates nature and artifice. Sitting adjacent to pretty pocket park Rockley Gardens, the building and apartments enter into a dialogue with the leafy landscape next door, the gardens becoming part of the building itself.
The park-facing facade turns the garden into a vertical plane, the building covered with an abstracted layer of suspended planter boxes accessible to apartment residents, recalling Geoffrey Bawa’s Kandalama Hotel in Dambulla.
A series of precisely angled mirrors set above and beneath the boxes amplifies the vegetation, reflecting the park beyond and playing with relativity, perception and position – is this a reflection or the real thing? Whether you’re in the park or in your apartment, you’re surrounded by an infinite image of green space; with selected mirrors facing down, the green facade is even projected to pedestrians below. The opposite facade facing Toorak Road extends the ambiguous confluence of building and park with a more structured articulation, metallic fins cascade down the height form a crystalline waterfall.
Playing with the ambiguous space that exists between binary poles, the building foyer mediates the internal and external worlds of this project. Local artist Jamie North has been commissioned to create works for this communal space – concrete ruins with living plants peeping through the cracks, pulling the garden and the façade right inside the space. Warm bronze mirrors further blur the lines between tangible and intangible, accented by a bold bronze staircase transitioning the lower level to the lift access and mailroom.
Apartment interiors have been informed by the village life of South Yarra and the urban lifestyle that flourishes in the surrounding streets – the neighbourhood is a secluded enclave of cultural experiences: libraries, galleries, cafés and boutiques. Material palettes reflect two sides of this coin: the garden, with green marble and dark timbers, or the gallery, a soothing blend of blonde woods and grey marble. Spatially, a series of rooms flow into each another creating a long gallery-like configuration.
Custom joinery elements and detailing have been designed to enable you to communicate your individual narratives – collections, art, tchotchkes – the objects that tell the story of who we are. This is an Elenberg Fraser definition of luxury, permissive architecture that gives you the freedom to express your unique identity and to curate your own life.
So, you’ll find bathrooms that are far more than functional, with marble inset vanities and double-sided mirrored cabinets, which sit closed or stay open for more storage – you choose how to put your own adventure on display. Bespoke kitchen islands have built-in shelf storage either end, and marble cladding on range hoods is an artwork in itself. Picture rails, pot fillers and detailed alcove joinery for accessories provide the amenity of home in an apartment.
A celebration of the natural assets and urbane pleasures of South Yarra, Rockley Gardens is a living building that fully embraces its lifestyle locality and the power of individual expression.
First published date: 20 September 2017