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

News

Melbourne's Hidden Gem Celebrates 20 Years!

The iconic Melbourne jewellery store e.g.etal celebrates two decades of operation with an exclusive exhibition.
Sally Tabart

Homes

A Theatrical Share House In Thornbury

A unique Melbourne share house, filled with columns, archways, and theatrical grandeur.

Food

Julia's Brown Rice And Salmon Bowl

Stuck for dinner tonight (and lunch tomorrow)? Julia Busuttil Nishimura has got you covered with this quick and easy bowl!
Julia Busuttil Nishimura

Creative People

The Tools I Use · Bern Chandley, Chairmaker

We take a look inside the toolkit of a proper, old-fashioned chairmaker, and learn what it takes to make chairs of 'heirloom quality'.

News

The Ballot For Nightingale Sky House Is Now Open!

You have 11 days left to throw your hat in the ring!
Sally Tabart
40:47

Podcast

TDF Talks With Travel Photographer Kara Rosenlund

From photography to styling, to building a successful online store and lifestyle brand – there is nothing this wonder woman cannot manifes...

Being Green

Trade Your Single-Use Products For These Thoughtful Essentials

Keep your household waste and toxicity in check, with our edit of sustainable, locally-designed bathroom and self-care products.
Elle Murrell

Creative People

Painting The Landscape With Acre Designs

We chat to the Fitzroy-based landscape architecture firm behind some of our favourite gardens.
Miriam McGarry

News

A Spectacular New Space For The Social Outfit

The fashion label and social enterprise gets a sustainable, designer upgrade!

News

A New Exhibition From The Couple Behind Dinosaur Designs

Celebrating 30 years of partnership from the creative tour de force behind one of Australia’s most loved brands.

News

The Art Of Mid-Century Design

An insight into the life and works of Clement Meadmore, one of Australia’s most influential and successful modernist designers.

Interiors

An Interior Designer's Elegant Sydney Apartment

The elegant, understated Woollahra apartment of emerging creative Alexandra Ponting.

Studio Visit

Unforgettable New Landscapes From Sally Ross

The Melbourne-based artist takes us inside her new exhibition inspired by the Flemish Masters, opening in Melbourne tomorrow.
Elle Murrell

Shopping

Craft Victoria Has Your Christmas Gifting Covered

Works from some of Australia's finest makers on show in the just-released, conscientious prezzie guide - 'The Collector: Sustainability of D...
Elle Murrell
  17 hours ago

Architecture

A Home With Two Personalities

A unique home composed in two elegant parts by Christopher Polly Architect, in Woolooware, Sydney.
Miriam McGarry

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

Architecture

A Home With Two Personalities

A unique home composed in two elegant parts by Christopher Polly Architect, in Woolooware, Sydney.
Miriam McGarry

Creative People

The Tools I Use · Bern Chandley, Chairmaker

We take a look inside the toolkit of a proper, old-fashioned chairmaker, and learn what it takes to make chairs of 'heirloom quality'.

Creative People

Painting The Landscape With Acre Designs

We chat to the Fitzroy-based landscape architecture firm behind some of our favourite gardens.
Miriam McGarry

Homes

A Theatrical Share House In Thornbury

A unique Melbourne share house, filled with columns, archways, and theatrical grandeur.

Interiors

An Interior Designer's Elegant Sydney Apartment

The elegant, understated Woollahra apartment of emerging creative Alexandra Ponting.

News

Melbourne's Hidden Gem Celebrates 20 Years!

The iconic Melbourne jewellery store e.g.etal celebrates two decades of operation with an exclusive exhibition.
Sally Tabart

News

A New Exhibition From The Couple Behind Dinosaur Designs

Celebrating 30 years of partnership from the creative tour de force behind one of Australia’s most loved brands.
40:47

Podcast

TDF Talks With Travel Photographer Kara Rosenlund

From photography to styling, to building a successful online store and lifestyle brand – there is nothing this wonder woman cannot manifes...

News

A Spectacular New Space For The Social Outfit

The fashion label and social enterprise gets a sustainable, designer upgrade!

Food

Julia's Brown Rice And Salmon Bowl

Stuck for dinner tonight (and lunch tomorrow)? Julia Busuttil Nishimura has got you covered with this quick and easy bowl!
Julia Busuttil Nishimura

Being Green

Trade Your Single-Use Products For These Thoughtful Essentials

Keep your household waste and toxicity in check, with our edit of sustainable, locally-designed bathroom and self-care products.
Elle Murrell

News

The Art Of Mid-Century Design

An insight into the life and works of Clement Meadmore, one of Australia’s most influential and successful modernist designers.

Studio Visit

Unforgettable New Landscapes From Sally Ross

The Melbourne-based artist takes us inside her new exhibition inspired by the Flemish Masters, opening in Melbourne tomorrow.
Elle Murrell

Shopping

Craft Victoria Has Your Christmas Gifting Covered

Works from some of Australia's finest makers on show in the just-released, conscientious prezzie guide - 'The Collector: Sustainability of D...
Elle Murrell
  17 hours ago

News

The Ballot For Nightingale Sky House Is Now Open!

You have 11 days left to throw your hat in the ring!
Sally Tabart

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