My inner sculptress loves any excuse to create an installation, a feature piece for a client. As an interior designer I get very excited about views and sight lines. It’s a major thing with me, what you see when you sit in a particular chair or walk into or through a particular space really matters. As Capability Brown knew when he positioned a temple in a landscape, these focus points give a sense of proportion and perspective because the eye has something to relate to and alight on.
I was presented with a particularly grisly space, a 1970’s concrete underground garage. It was purely functional in the way that a multi-story car park is, was a fairly unpleasant place to be and certainly not a glamorous introduction to the home I’d created upstairs. I believe if it’s possible that the design journey should start as soon as one approaches the property- it really does set the tone. First impressions do matter.
I had already replaced the up and over aluminium garage door with an elegant bronze sliding one, the concrete floor with 23,000 limestone stets (square cobbles), hide the utilities behind an elegant illuminated roof and faced block walls with handsome limestone panels. All of this looked delicious and it just left the far corner and entrance to 2 properties to consider.
This far end of the garage had a deep light well open to the elements. The client didn’t want anything that required too much upkeep so living walls were out. I felt that we needed something more permanent and sculptural. As a start to prepare the space we removed the split concrete render and replaced it with a more suitable product and continued the limestone theme from the rest of the garage.
On my recces around Sydney, I had been into Eco Outdoors in Dank Street to discuss delivery of limestone slabs and noticed they had an amazing tree in the corner of the showroom with lovely jute bags hanging from it. It was there for display only, but I really wanted it. It was a good size and totally bare, like a huge piece of driftwood. A couple of coffees later we’d done the deal and it was delivered to the site. I wanted to continue the luxury theme of the new garage space and made enquiries about coating the tree in bronze. I found Axyotl in Matraville in the Sydney suburbs and they were excited as I was about creating this unique piece.
I felt that the tree on its own would look lost, so discussed with artist Meredith Hyde the possibility of creating bronze leaves to tumble down the wall.Meredith came up with some fabulous leaves of various sizes, we had them cast in bronze and mounted them on stainless spigots – they were clear of the wall so wouldn’t stain it but we left the bronze unprotected so they would age with the sun and rain and create a lovely natural patina.
I positioned an uplight in the floor so that the tree and leaves would create a lovely shadow at night. The piece also works from above.I designed and had created a bronze door for the entrance next to the tree and the whole thing gelled perfectly. At last when one drove or walked into the garage, there was an elegant and unusual feature to draw the eye. I love that it’s unexpected but seems such a natural addition in this bronze and limestone themed space.
I and more importantly, the clients are thrilled with the result. The installation can be viewed from many angles, the up lighting gives extra drama and brings a stylish element to a very difficult corner.