This website uses cookies to improve your experience navigating our site. By continuing to browse, you are agreeing to our use of cookies.

OK, I understand

Bellissimo Penthouse Living In Fitzroy!

Homes

Yesterday afternoon we introduced Fitzroy’s newest boutique apartment development, Whitlam Place by Freadman White and Marcello Donati (aka Anon Studio). As a practising butcher and trained architect (what a combo!), Marcello had a grand vision for the site sketched over his dining room table, which then evolved into a collaboration with Freadman White architects on the design, documentation and delivery of this distinctive apartment building.

We chat with Marcello about this collaborative project, designing his dream penthouse, and populating his stunning apartment with a whole family of Italian designer furniture!

31st October, 2018

Marcello Donati’s spectacular penthouse apartment in Fitzroy’s Whitlam Place. Photo – Tom Ross. Styling – Annie Portelli.

The balcony. Marcello made and designed the unbelievable terrazzo floor with his friend Bruno, ‘the grumpy Italian’. Hay outdoor furniture (Pallisade collection).  Photo – Tom Ross. Styling – Annie Portelli.

Marcello Donati, butcher (of Melbourne’s famed Donati’s Fine Meats) and architect at AnonStudio. Photo – Tom Ross. Styling – Annie Portelli.

The living room. Artwork on back wall, ‘Swamp no.8’ (left) and ‘Swamp no.6’ (right) by Brent Harris. Dale Hickey works on right side wall. Do Not Sit Chair by Fred Ganim. Large Diamond chair (red) by Harry Bertoia. Marlunga Sofa by Vico Magistretti. Alanda Sofa by Paolo Piva. Carrara marble top coffee table on found base. Oceanic Lamp lamp by Michele De Lucchi (left). Tahiti Lamp by Ettore Sottsass (right). Photo – Tom Ross. Styling – Annie Portelli.

Marcello describes the living room as an ‘Italian family gathering’ of furniture! Photo – Tom Ross. Styling – Annie Portelli.

Taccia lamp by Achille Castiglioni sitting atop a base made from concrete remnants from core holes during construction of Whitlam Place. ‘This piece is pretty much a maquette for Whitlam Place and most importantly my muse for the penthouse’, explains Marcello. Photo – Tom Ross. Styling – Annie Portelli.

Miniatures of the Whitlam Place façade, which Marcello designed in collaboration with Freadman White architects. Photo – Tom Ross. Styling – Annie Portelli.

Marcello has populated the apartment with his life-long collection of artworks and furniture. Photo – Tom Ross. Styling – Annie Portelli.

A panoramic view of the stunning open plan apartment. Photo – Tom Ross. Styling – Annie Portelli.

Artworks by Dale Hickey. Maralunga sofa by Vico Magistretti. Snoopy Lamp by Achille Castiglioni. Photo – Tom Ross. Styling – Annie Portelli.

Neon lights at the penthouse entrance. Photo – Tom Ross. Styling – Annie Portelli.

Artwork by Brent Harris. Marcello made and designed the terrazzo tabletop with ‘Bruno the grumpy old Italian’ and collaborated with Sam Fagan of SteelScale to design and manufacture the base. Chairs by Thonet. Photo – Tom Ross. Styling – Annie Portelli.

A look at the ‘lo-fi Turrel’ eye to the sky, and THAT armchair. Gaetano Pesce Up 5&6, Up Series 2000, B&B Italia. ‘Nobody can walk into this room and resist falling into the sensuous curves of this big mamma!’, says Marcello! Artwork in kitchen by Brent Harris. Artwork partially visible on back wall by Sally Smart. Photo – Tom Ross. Styling – Annie Portelli.

Looking through to the bedroom. Do Not Sit chair by Fred Ganim. Brent Harris artwork on walls. Photo – Tom Ross. Styling – Annie Portelli.

The master bedroom. Photo – Tom Ross. Styling – Annie Portelli.

Lucy Feagins
Wednesday 31st October 2018

‘Being up amongst the treetops is a very serene tranquil space, they are the best artwork in this penthouse.’ – Marcello Donati.

The Whitlam Place apartments make an impression right from the first step into the terrazzo-paved entrance. Follow the neon-lined hallway and up the lift, to arrive at Marcello Donati’s jaw-dropping apartment.

This apartment building is the result of a true collaboration between developer, client and co-architect (Marcello) and registered architects and superintendents (Freadman White). Together, this dream team have produced a project with remarkable architectural detailing, including several ‘tip of the hat’ moments to design titan Le Corbusier as well as a reverence to place inspired by local legends Robin Boyd and Roy Grounds. (See yesterday’s article for more!)

Marcello has unapologetically kept the best of the apartments for himself, featuring sweeping views, port hole windows and a balcony of our dreams. Most striking is ‘the oculus’ – an eye to the sky, set in pink polished plaster. Marcello explains that ‘from apricot to aubergine, the light picks up every subtle reflection and variation as the sun moves around it.’ He highlights that this heavenly skylight has a ‘lo-fi Turrell’ vibe – although this unique kaleidoscopic detail feels pretty hi-fi to us!

In addition to the sculptural elements of the build space, Marcello has populated the apartment with his life-long collection of artworks and furniture. The aesthetic is eclectic but consistently so, as Marcello combines ‘found, made, stolen, bought and collected pieces’ including some custom designed and made with the expert assistance of Sam Fagan of Steel Scale.

He describes the living room as an ‘Italian family gathering’, where dodgy uncle Memphis mingles with the cheeky kid Stella stool; overseen by cuddly nonna Maralunga and sophisticated aunty Taccia. This charismatic line-up is an all Italian exhibition, because ‘let’s face it- nobody does it better’ Marcello explains.

But even the charm of Italian design cannot compete with the view of the surrounding gum trees. Marcello acknowledges ‘being up amongst the treetops is a very serene tranquil space, they are the best artwork in this penthouse.’

For Marcello, the process of resolving this big dream into a built outcome was one of blood, sweat and tears where he ‘would come here every single day, work on it all night, and dream about it in between.’ What has emerged is a space of ‘warm materiality, shadow play, curated moments and views’ and an almost magical interplay between volume and light which ‘gives a sense of richness that is the biggest luxury one can have.’ The best of Italian design, set in a distinctly Melbourne location, illuminated by a performance of constantly shifting light. Bellissimo!

The Latest

Shopping

Julia Green Brings Morocco To Australia In This New Textiles Collection!

Stylist Julia Green launches a debut collection of rugs, textiles and ceramics handmade by artisans in Morocco.
Sasha Gattermayr

News

Australia’s Biggest Urban Art Festival Transforms A Kensington Warehouse

Can’t Do Tomorrow is an epic 10 day festival featuring local and international street art heavy hitters in Melbourne this month!
Sponsored

News

A Valentine’s Day Pop-Up At Hattie Molloy

The experimental florist will hold a one-day-only pop-up at her Melbourne store.

Stays

An Old School Campground Transformed Into A Beachside Paradise

A tired holiday camp in Esperance, WA, is now a picture-perfect boutique accomodation offering.

Tiny Homes

A 'Minimum Dwelling' Studio Apartment That Maximises Every Inch

Minimal interventions and clever partitioning make the most of this this tiny studio apartment in Fitzroy.
Sasha Gattermayr

Gardens

A Native Garden Made With Recycled Renovation Debris

This Sydney garden by Fig Landscapes maximises drought tolerant plant life, and inventive upcycling!
Sasha Gattermayr

Architecture

A Compact And Curvy Family Home In Glebe

Arched windows and internal voids converge in this mind-bending spatial marvel in suburban Sydney by Chenchow Little Architects.
Sasha Gattermayr
  21 hours ago
49.15

Podcast

TDF Talks With Textile Designer Cassie Byrnes

A hilarious chat with the celebrated Melbourne designer about new motherhood, the joys and perils of small business, and the benefit of bit...

Architecture

A Multigenerational, Modern Farmhouse

Two houses are better than one, in this beach house for two families by Tom Robertson Architects.

Food

Julia Busuttil Nishimura's Roasted Tomato Summer Soup With Mozzarella

Celebrating the best of easy summer eating with this sweet roasted tomato soup, creamy mozzarella and a drizzle of basil oil.
Julia Busuttil Nishimura

Art

Milly Dent Is Taking The Cliché Out Of Porcelain

The Sydney-based ceramicist uses skills she picked up in China for her new show, 'Wishful Thinking'.
Sasha Gattermayr

Dream Job

How Lucy Folk's Marketing Manager Landed Her Dream Job

Gemma Leslie spills the beans on what its like working at one of Australia's coolest companies.

The Good Room

A Stylist's Good Room In South Yarra's Most Coveted Apartment Building!

Heather Nette King shows us around 'THE room' in her apartment in Melbourne's Beverly Hills apartment complex.
Lisa Marie Corso

Homes

A Well-Balanced Home In Hawthorn

In nutritionist and meditation teacher Briony Goldsmith's balanced home, all the energies align!
Lucy Feagins
  5 hours ago

Homes

An Enchanting, Rustic Rental In The Macedon Ranges

Lisa Hodge lives in this Macedon rental property, after making the tree change from Melbourne six years ago.

View Comments

Similar Stories

Architecture

A House Of Hidden Treasures

Explore this incredible Melbourne home, where modernity flourishes behind a heritage façade.

Homes

Our Art Director's Tiny Terrazzo Palazzo!

DRUM ROLL PLEASE... introducing the home of our very own legendary Art Director, Annie Portelli!

Architecture

Are These The Coolest Apartments In Fitzroy?

A look inside the truly breathtaking Whitlam Place apartment building by Freadman White and Anon Studio.
Miriam McGarry

This Week

Gardens

A Native Garden Made With Recycled Renovation Debris

This Sydney garden by Fig Landscapes maximises drought tolerant plant life, and inventive upcycling!
Sasha Gattermayr

The Good Room

A Stylist's Good Room In South Yarra's Most Coveted Apartment Building!

Heather Nette King shows us around 'THE room' in her apartment in Melbourne's Beverly Hills apartment complex.
Lisa Marie Corso

Dream Job

How Lucy Folk's Marketing Manager Landed Her Dream Job

Gemma Leslie spills the beans on what its like working at one of Australia's coolest companies.

Homes

An Enchanting, Rustic Rental In The Macedon Ranges

Lisa Hodge lives in this Macedon rental property, after making the tree change from Melbourne six years ago.

Architecture

A Multigenerational, Modern Farmhouse

Two houses are better than one, in this beach house for two families by Tom Robertson Architects.

News

Australia’s Biggest Urban Art Festival Transforms A Kensington Warehouse

Can’t Do Tomorrow is an epic 10 day festival featuring local and international street art heavy hitters in Melbourne this month!
Sponsored

Homes

A Well-Balanced Home In Hawthorn

In nutritionist and meditation teacher Briony Goldsmith's balanced home, all the energies align!
Lucy Feagins
  5 hours ago

News

A Valentine’s Day Pop-Up At Hattie Molloy

The experimental florist will hold a one-day-only pop-up at her Melbourne store.

Architecture

A Compact And Curvy Family Home In Glebe

Arched windows and internal voids converge in this mind-bending spatial marvel in suburban Sydney by Chenchow Little Architects.
Sasha Gattermayr
  21 hours ago

Art

Milly Dent Is Taking The Cliché Out Of Porcelain

The Sydney-based ceramicist uses skills she picked up in China for her new show, 'Wishful Thinking'.
Sasha Gattermayr

Food

Julia Busuttil Nishimura's Roasted Tomato Summer Soup With Mozzarella

Celebrating the best of easy summer eating with this sweet roasted tomato soup, creamy mozzarella and a drizzle of basil oil.
Julia Busuttil Nishimura

Shopping

Julia Green Brings Morocco To Australia In This New Textiles Collection!

Stylist Julia Green launches a debut collection of rugs, textiles and ceramics handmade by artisans in Morocco.
Sasha Gattermayr

Tiny Homes

A 'Minimum Dwelling' Studio Apartment That Maximises Every Inch

Minimal interventions and clever partitioning make the most of this this tiny studio apartment in Fitzroy.
Sasha Gattermayr

Stays

An Old School Campground Transformed Into A Beachside Paradise

A tired holiday camp in Esperance, WA, is now a picture-perfect boutique accomodation offering.
49.15

Podcast

TDF Talks With Textile Designer Cassie Byrnes

A hilarious chat with the celebrated Melbourne designer about new motherhood, the joys and perils of small business, and the benefit of bit...

Similar Stories

Architecture

A House Of Hidden Treasures

Explore this incredible Melbourne home, where modernity flourishes behind a heritage façade.

Homes

Our Art Director's Tiny Terrazzo Palazzo!

The home of our very own legendary art director, Annie Portelli!

Architecture

Are These The Coolest Apartments In Fitzroy?

A look inside the truly breathtaking Whitlam Place apartment building by Freadman White and Anon Studio.
Miriam McGarry