Posted by switch-smith at 2:20 PM . Wednesday, October 6, 2010
David Hicks, comes this amazing renovation of an 1920's home originally designed by Marcus Martin. A truly perfect blend of neo-classical lyricism and sleek clean-lined modernity.
The following is an excerpt from an article by Jacinta le Plastrier:
There’s a growing aura of accomplishment in the projects of young, yet already eminent, Melbourne-based interior designer David Hicks. Studying his furniture plans for the extensive refurbishment of this home in the elegant suburb of Toorak, you can see why. Each item and its placement have been carefully considered and organised, and sit well within David’s master plan, which involved both external and internal structural and architectural decisions about the home’s renovation and a new downstairs extension. Serenity and a sense of timelessness in the interiors are the result of a mix of classical, contemporary and abstract objects and art that seem to rest in a perfect moment in time. This also recalls the work of pre-eminent designers of the past, particularly the great late English designer who is not only David’s namesake but also shared his rigorous aesthetic and predilection for combining antiques with the crème de la crème of new design.
The reworking of this home has a definite Australian inflection. The original '20s house – an austere, modernised version of the English Georgian style – was designed by Melbourne architect Marcus Martin, who glamorously and inventively
bridged the divide between classical and modern. Marcus Martin was best known for his Hollywood-nuanced, often Spanish Mission-styled houses, apartments and restorations in the 20s, 30s and 40s. Here, David has certainly respected Marcus’s ethos, honouring the original design while
also extending the home in a style suited to modern, comfortable living.
“We planned it all so that it works better,” says David of the structural changes. The idea was to create “a modern flow through the house while still keeping the integrity of the rooms – this meant quite a lot of structural work”. On the ground floor facing the street, this involved shifting doorways in the main section of the original home, making new ones and extending others, creating an open feeling throughout. As David explains, “The open doorways create a sense of a journey through the house – not just physically but visually, too. I think it’s a nice way to live.” More specifically, David has redesigned the spaces so that sightlines extend clearly and deliberately in each direction. He calls them the “axes of sightlines, so you can experience all of the spaces from one room”. Thus, from the sitting room, there is a view to the front and rear of the house, and through the dining room to the new kitchen and utilities area. As the kitchen
utilities are concealed behind a fully mirrored box, the view is reflected back into the sitting room. “The mirrors give a sense of repetition but they also expand what is already on a large scale into a sense of opulence,” says David.
David’s foray into the architectural side of design is significant and a growing shift in his work. “Good decorating requires a beautiful space, a good building. It’s the whole package. Here, when I was considering structural issues, I was already thinking about what furniture would go in it,” he says. The overall project now provides “a dramatic spatial experience”, says David. As for the timelessness of the interior design, David says he rather likes the fact “that it seems as if the rooms and their furnishings have always been there”.
Furnishings include works by Venini, Warren Platner, Florence Knoll, Harry Bertoia, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, and Eero Saarinen.
Photos by Shannon McGrath.