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

This Community-Minded Interior Is More Unique Than Meets The Eye

Interiors

Most able-bodied people don’t think about how interior spaces can be difficult – or even impossible – for people with accessibility requirements to navigate. Even fewer think about how these accessibility requirements can be married with good interior design.

Sibling Architecture has made determined innovation in this often overlooked space with their recent project, ‘Frenches Interiors’ – for a home-based consultancy firm. By maximising circular motifs and drawing on the spatial philosophy of Quaker meeting halls (among other inspirations!), the studio designed a flexible space to cater for all bodies and ages. It also happens to look damn good!

6th March, 2020

Theatrical curtains divide the professional and personal spaces, concealing desks and work fittings behind them. Photo – Christine Francis.

The circular table holds cylindrical pockets to hold stationary, glasses, plants – anything! Photo – Christine Francis.

A wedged ‘pizza couch’ allows for slices to be taken apart and the seating arrangement reconfigured to accommodate support apparatuses. Photo – Christine Francis.

An existing Melbourne terrace has been converted into the highly functional and beautiful space. Photo – Christine Francis.

The circular dining table makes the most of rotating discs! Photo – Christine Francis.

The spherical, cylindrical shapes are abundant. Photo – Christine Francis.

The pink powder-coated handles on one of the couch components allow wheelchair users to sit with ease. Photo – Christine Francis.

A feature wall keeps ornaments off the ground. Photo – Christine Francis.

Vertical bookshelves are mounted on a tiled plinth. Photo – Christine Francis.

The master bedroom strips the colour but keeps the circles! Photo – Christine Francis.

Sasha Gattermayr
Friday 6th March 2020

‘This project extends [our] interest in how to design in an all-ages and all-bodies city’ – Jane Caught.

If Cruella de Vil were reincarnated as a millennial maximalist, she would probably live here. I say this largely because of the Dalmatian hidden in the lounge room, and also because her design taste is vastly underrated. But beneath the colour and personality of this interior, is something much deeper than aesthetic vibrancy, something far more real than a storybook villain’s fictional sadism.

The project, titled ‘Frenches Interiors’, was created for a client with highly specific design requirements. The couple run a consultancy firm from their house, one which assists people who have suffered mental and physical trauma in acquiring easy at-home care and navigating a world designed for able-bodied and -minded people. It was imperative the design here maximised accessibility options for the clients and friends that would be coming and going frequently.

‘Accessibility in architecture can often be reduced to universal measurements and requirements, such as wheelchair turning circles, grab bar details or standard countertop heights,’ Director of Sibling Architecture, Jane Caught, explains of the particular gap in architecture and interior design they were innovating within. ‘Frenches Interiors develops a different and domestic type of accessibility.’

This development centres largely around adjustable spaces and circular motifs. One table has deep cylindrical pockets inserted into wells on the surface, allowing for safe deposits of stationary, flowers, cutlery or champagne bottles (to name a few!). The central dining table operates on the same circular mechanics, using ‘lazy Susan’-style rotating discs to distribute food  across the tabletop.

The rear living room houses a ‘pizza couch’ whose wedged slices can be removed and reconfigured to accommodate various kinds of support apparatuses. One component of the seating arrangement features a pink powder-coated handle to assist wheelchair users to seat themselves easily and safely.

Jane cites a myriad of reference points centred around communal gathering and shared perspectives as the inspiration for their designs. The salon culture of Gertrude Stein and Alice B. Toklas, the postmodern Italian design collective, The Memphis Group, the egalitarian meeting culture of Quaker groups, and even community-centred celebrations around food all lent philosophical fluid to the cooperative spaces!

But in the end, it was about making the space as warm and welcoming to all different types of people and bodies as it can be. ‘Non-hierarchical, inclusive, community-based designs are at the centre of our practice,’ states Jane. ‘This project extends Sibling’s interest in how to design in an all-ages and all-bodies city.’

This Week

News

‘Design Matters’ Host Debbie Millman Down Under For Melbourne Design Week!

The American design expert and famed podcaster talks Courage vs. Confidence.
Sponsored

Homes

A Family Home Full Of Warmth, Fit For A Colour Queen!

This Merricks North abode of Alex McCabe (one half of Kip&Co) is nestled among an abundance of pinot gris vines!
Lucy Feagins
39:38

Podcast

TDF Talks With Interior Designer & Educator Jenna Densten

In our latest podcast, Lucy chats to Jenna Densten about life after reality TV, the highs and lows of renovating, juggling business ownershi...

In Print

A New Book That Celebrates The Beauty Of The Beach Shack

Former Real Living editor Deborah Bibby takes us inside some of Australia's most loved beach shack in her new book, 'The Originals'.
Deb Bibby

News

Announcing Melbourne Art Book Fair’s Public Program!

Over 100 publishers and 40 public program events make up the sixth Art Book Fair, the NGV’s pumping weekend event for Melbourne Design Wee...
Sponsored

Studio Visit

Entering 'The Pavilion Of Dreams' With Heath Wae

The Mullumbimby-based artist formerly known as Heath Newman brings us up to speed on some major life changes and his latest exhibition.

Art

Yaritji Tingila Young Is Leading The Way For The Next Generation Of Indigenous Artists

A mother, an artist and a leader, we explore the profound work of Yaritji Tingila Young, on the APY Lands in remote South Australia.

News

A Totally Online Ceramics Show!

Ceramicist Jason Fitzgerald explores the tactility of surface and clay in a digital exhibition.
Sasha Aarons

News

Louise Olsen Holds Her First Ever Solo Exhibition

The co-founder of Dinosaur Designs lets the world in on another of her mind boggling artistic talents!

Stays

This Remote Fisherman’s Shack Is A Little Slice of Heaven

This rustic getaway at Great Mackerel Beach harks back to a simpler time – and is accessible only by ferry!
Sasha Gattermayr

View Comments

Similar Stories

Creative People

Ladies of Leisure Up The Ante With Their Impressive New HQ

On International Women’s Day, we take a tour of the new LOL Space, with co-founders Sally Tabart and Savannah Anand-Sobti.
Miriam McGarry

Interiors

A ’60s Cronulla Home Gets A Colour-Rich Makeover!

Personality fills this renovated mid-century home designed by Lymesmith and Amber Road.
Amelia Barnes

Work Space

The Best Designed Co-Working Spaces In Australia

Seeking a sleek meeting space, or a co-working desk with serious style credentials? We have you covered.
Miriam McGarry

This Week

Homes

A Biophilic Family Home Among The Trees

The newly-renovated Warrandyte family home of Millie and Dave Wells perfectly blends indoors and out!

On The Market

An Interior Designer’s Glamorous Victorian Pad Hits The Market!

Chelsea Hing’s apartment in an 1890s Italianate mansion in St Kilda East is up for sale. This is *the one*!

Architecture

A Casually Confident Beachside Home

A falling down period home in South Fremantle has been brought back to life with a new extension by David Barr Architects.
Amelia Barnes
  12 hours ago

Stays

This Origami-Style Beach Shack Is The Perfect Coastal Getaway

This architecturally designed coastal retreat on Stradbroke Island looks out over the glittering Coral Sea. The most dreamy vacation destina...
Sasha Gattermayr
  4 hours ago

News

Patricia Piccinini And Alpha60 Join Forces On A New Collaboration

The celebrated Australian artist and local fashion legends launch a new series of textiles titled ‘Hugs’, which are now installe...
Sponsored

On The Market

This Elegant Victorian With An Eclectic Architect-Designed Extension Is For Sale

Period features meet unique, contemporary design in this Ascot Vale, Melbourne home.

Studio Visit

The Melbourne Artist Creating Ceramics Inspired By Ancient Mesoamerican Culture

From dub music to the Chinese Song Dynasty, the influences of Enrique Tochez Anderson stretch far, wide and into the past.

Creative People

Behind The Scenes Of 'Rone In Geelong’ – Opening This Weekend!

See a retrospective of artist Rone's work to date at Geelong Gallery from Saturday February 27 to Sunday May 16, 2021.

News

A Group Show Combining Ceramics + Still-Life Under One Roof!

Ceramicist Grace Brown joins artistic forces with figurative artist Margaret Voterakis for a new exhibition at Modern Times, ‘Utopian Purs...
Sasha Aarons

Family

An Honest Conversation On Single Parenting By Choice + Donor Conception With Takeawei Ceramics Founder, Chela Edmunds

Chela Edmunds of Takeawei ceramics shares her story of becoming a mother to 18-month-old Ocean via sperm donor and IVF.

News

'Giant' by Evi O Opens At Saint Cloche

Artist Evi O showcases her largest paintings to date in new exhibition Giant, on now at Saint Cloche.

Shopping

Lockdown-Inspired Woven Outdoor Picnic Mats, From One Of Our Fave Local Stylists!

Stylist Nat Turnbull launches Laze, a new brand of outdoor mats for lounging and picnicking, with designs by Alice Oehr.

Creative People

A Travel-Inspired Ceramics Collection That Will Take You On Holiday!

Queensland-based ceramics brand Marloe Marloe launches a new collection of vessels inspired by the seaside!

Architecture

A New Melbourne Home That Follows The Sun

This Eaglemont home has been cleverly designed 'to almost disappear', by Architects Eat.

Tiny Homes

The Architect-Designed, Prefabricated Tiny House Of The Future

FABPREFAB have teamed up with TRIAS to create Minima – a series of prefabricated, small dwellings suitable as home offices, living spaces,...

Similar Stories

Creative People

Ladies of Leisure Up The Ante With Their Impressive New HQ

On International Women’s Day, we take a tour of the LOL Space with Sally Tabart and Savannah Anand-Sobti.
Miriam McGarry

Interiors

A ’60s Cronulla Home Gets A Colour-Rich Makeover!

Personality fills this renovated mid-century home designed by Lymesmith and Amber Road.
Amelia Barnes

Work Space

The Best Designed Co-Working Spaces In Australia

Seeking a sleek meeting space, or a co-working desk with serious style credentials? We have you covered.
Miriam McGarry

The Design Files acknowledge the traditional custodians of the lands on which we work, the Wurundjeri people of the Kulin Nation. We pay our respects to Elders past and present.

First Nations artists, designers, makers and creative business owners are encouraged to submit their projects for coverage on The Design Files – we would love to hear from you.

Please email us here.