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A Harry Seidler Apartment Renovation That Champions The Arts

Interiors

A Brisbane apartment originally designed by famed architect Harry Seidler has been thoughtfully updated, with an art-filled renovation by interior designer Alicia Holgar.

The project takes its cues from the apartment’s existing curvaceous architecture, with bespoke furniture and art pieces to suit, including two murals created on site by Los Angeles painter Jessalyn Brooks, and custom furniture by Australian makers, including denHolm and Anglewood.

24th August, 2020

This Brisbane apartment originally designed by Harry Siedler is now filled with art, objects and furniture from local designers and makers – such as denHolm and Anglewood. Photo – Shannon McGrath Styling – Studio CD.

Los Angeles painter Jessalyn Brooks at work paintings a set of on-site murals. Left: Photo – Cathy Schusler. Right: Photo – Shannon McGrath. Styling – Studio CD.

The work of French interior designer, Pierre Yovanovitch, was a key reference to the overall look and feel. Photo – Shannon McGrath Styling – Studio CD.

Left: Photo – Shannon McGrath. Styling – Studio CD. Right: An Anglewood craftsman at work. Photo – Cathy Schusler.

Every corner of the apartment is filled with paintings, objects and furniture. Photo – Shannon McGrath. Styling – Studio CD.

Jessalyn’s empathic line works effortlessly reflected the essence of such Le Corbusier, Picasso and Matisse’s work, and integrate perfectly with the cohesive collection of furniture and objects filling the rest of the home. Photo – Shannon McGrath. Styling – Studio CD.

A muted, pastel palette was opted for to bring warmth and calm to the compact living space. Photo – Shannon McGrath. Styling – Studio CD.

Overall, Alicia says this apartment exudes a European sensibility in its understated luxury. Photo – Shannon McGrath. Styling – Studio CD.

To enhance the apartment’s existing curvaceous lines, a sweeping five metre feature wall was designed in the living room in collaboration with Anglewood. Photo – Shannon McGrath. Styling – Studio CD.

Sculptor denHolm at work crafting a bespoke table from Australian limestone. Photo – Bobby Clark.

The denHolm table hewn from Australian limestone in pride of place in the hall. Photo – Shannon McGrath. Styling – Studio CD.

Photo – Shannon McGrath. Styling – Studio CD.

Paintings and sculptures include those by Australian-based artists Ryan Hoffman, Sanné Mestrom, McLean Edwards, and Claudia Greathead. Photo – Shannon McGrath. Styling – Studio CD.

The master bedroom. Photo – Shannon McGrath. Styling – Studio CD.

Alicia says the revived home embodies Australian ethics around sustainability, supporting local industries, and a laidback way of living. Photo – Shannon McGrath. Styling – Studio CD.

Amelia Barnes
Monday 24th August 2020

‘A lot of love and energy went into this project… there are many special elements that have been created throughout the residence.’ – Alicia Holgar

When designer Alicia Holgar took on the challenge of updating the interior of this Harry Seidler designed apartment in Brisbane, she was faced with an uncomfortably bare space. While the bones of the apartment were intact, the interiors comprised a stark material palette overlaid with white gloss joinery, and a suite of red and black furniture. ‘Overall the space felt cold and insincere, and the functionality was not optimised for an apartment of this stature,’ explains Alicia. ‘A more considered approach to the interiors was required to add warmth, character, and sophistication.’

A quality of Harry Seidler’s architecture that ultimately inspired much of this project was the integration of original art. As the apartment’s curved wall space allowed few artworks to be traditionally hung, Alicia brainstormed alternatives, and the idea of custom wall murals was floated.

It was at this very time Alicia discovered the work of Jessalyn Brooks – an upcoming Los Angeles artist whose empathic line works effortlessly reflected the essence of great designers and artists of bygone eras, including Le Corbusier, Picasso and Matisse. While inspirational imagery was discussed, there was no preconceived design for the resulting murals. ‘As a true artist, Jess waited to see and get a feel from the space, and through a creative process originated two captivating murals,’ says Alicia. ‘It was such a privilege to have Jess here in Brisbane and the experience will last a lifetime.’

Another piece commissioned specifically for this apartment is the foyer table, hand carved in Australian limestone by Melbourne based denHolm. Other paintings and sculptures in the house include those by Australian-based artists Ryan Hoffman, Sanné Mestrom, McLean Edwards, and Claudia Greathead.

To enhance the apartment’s existing curvaceous lines, a sweeping five metre feature wall was designed in the living room in collaboration with Anglewood. Functionally, this wall hosts a television (that doubles as an artwork) and two rows of solid American oak bookshelves, while seamlessly extending the space’s fluid architecture.

Overall, Alicia says this apartment combines refined European sensibilities with Australian ethics around sustainability, supporting local industries, and a laidback way of living. The work of French interior designer, Pierre Yovanovitch, was a key reference to the overall look and feel.

Alicia is the first to admit that bespoke design is not always easy, but the outcome is always worth it. ‘A lot of love and energy went into this project, and as such, there are many special elements that have been created throughout the residence,’ she says. ‘In the client’s words, the murals by Jessalyn Brooks are the piece de resistance, and I must agree. The hope is that they remain embedded in the history of the architecture, enriching its fabric, meaningfulness and memory.’

See more of interior designer Alicia Holgar’s work here

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