The Emerging Sydney Designer Embracing 'Soft Modernism'

This Sydney-based furniture and interior designer has been on our radar for months now… finally today we’re sharing her story!

Olivia Bossy (brilliant name!) creates interiors that are at once nostalgic, of-the-moment and timeless – no easy feat! Today we visit her dreamy 51-square-metre beachside apartment in Freshwater.

Lucy Feagins

The home and showroom of Olivia Bossy. Photo – Tom Ross.

Photo – Tom Ross.

Olivia Bossy’s home / showroom, completed in February of this year. Photo – Tom Ross.

Olivia has a background in graphic design, but also designs furniture. Photo – Tom Ross.

Inside the Freshwater apartment. Photo – Tom Ross.

The built-in Marrakesh plaster seating was a key element in ‘creating an unusually strong presence and functionality within a tiny footprint,’ Olivia tells. Photo – Tom Ross.

It doubles as a guest bed! Photo – Tom Ross.

Olivia collaborated with Amy Vider for this Egg Light. Photo – Tom Ross.

She set out to create an illusion of space through material repetition. Photo – Tom Ross.

Photo – Tom Ross.

The emphasis is on materials and their repetition. Photo – Tom Ross.

Details of Olivia’s Roll On Bed. Photo – Tom Ross.

Olvia also designs furniture. Photo – Tom Ross.

Olivia’s Roll On Bed design. Photo – Tom Ross.

What a kid’s room! Photo – Tom Ross.

Olivia’s Stump Desk. Photo – Tom Ross.

Lucy Feagins
11th of October 2018

Though she comes from a background in graphic design, Olivia Bossy is making a name for herself amongst Australia’s interior design scene.

The Sydney-based creative is known for her dreamy custom furniture designs, but she also creates complete interior spaces too.

Earlier this year, Olivia completed a project very close to her heart – her own home/showroom! A renovation of a 51-square-metre beachside apartment in Freshwater, this project required gutting and reconfiguring the whole space. With the help of limeplaster experts Tadelakt Sydney and Porter & Maple craftsmen, Olivia undertook an extensive redesign of the bathroom and kitchen, incorporating her custom furniture and lighting designs, plus  a host of complimentary objects to tie everything in together.

‘The Freshwater project was an exercise in streamlining existence, living small but not at the cost of a beautiful and functional space,’ tells Olivia, who took cues from Eileen Grey’s e1027 house and Georgia O’Keeffe’s Ghost Ranch.

Here, Olivia talks all things interiors, and shares more details on her swoon-worthy pad!

How did you transition from graphics into spaces/objects?

It was a love ignited by my uncle’s house in Havana, designed by Richard Neutra. After having children I felt that I wanted to leave something physical for them in the world, and once I started drawing I couldn’t stop. Then I just kept moving to bigger and bigger things. My methods may not be conventional, but I research and learn and get it done.

Where do you find your design inspiration?

Eileen Gray is my hero and her house in the south of France is a modernist gem and obviously an influence. Donald Judd had such a clear vision, and I think there’s also a lot to be taken from the eclecticism and fun of Ettore Sottsass and Carlo Bugatti. Finally, my Dad, who is an architect, gave me my love of curves and obsession with detail.

Tell us about your Freshwater home…

The apartment was bought as an investment, a family home and as a way of showcasing my designs. As a family of four, the main challenge was making a 51sqm space work on both a practical and aesthetic level.

What was your concept for its interiors?

To create the illusion of space, it became an extension of the sand and wave whitewater through the palette, material choice and forms.

The bathroom was extended into the living area in a sculptural curve, letting in as much light as possible and drawing you towards the view. The kitchen walls were taken down to open up the space and allow for a small dining area which was a no-negotiation feature of the brief.

It seems like there are a lot of custom-designed pieces in the house…

Each piece needed to work almost as a functional sculpture in its own right, as I was wary of overcrowding the tiny space with objects, but still wanted to create an impact and translate a clear vision. The built-in seating area saves on space and moulds into the walls but is also the size of a single bed for guests.

Creating custom furniture is a fairly selfish endeavour as the world is overflowing with incredible vintage pieces, but to have the opportunity to design all the details in a space is a dream.

What did you love most about creating your own space, and what was most challenging?

Sourcing a very specific size of floor tile and finding tradespeople who were willing to try things they may not be familiar with was a bit of a challenge – thanks to those legends.

The curved shower coming together despite the many challenges it presented was really rewarding. Also seeing the space function beautifully and stand its ground against two small humans.

Follow Olivia Bossy’s project on her Instagram @oliviabossy.

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