Designer and director at Moda Piera Michael Chazan never really considered apartment living until meeting Ying Ang, a documentary photographer; curator, writer and educator at ICP in New York; and director of Le Space Gallery in Collingwood (massive shout out to Ying for taking these beautiful pictures for us!).
While Michael had always lived in houses throughout Melbourne, Ying spent most of her adult life flying around the world for work, and loved the ability to lock up and leave at a moment’s notice.
When the couple decided to make a home together in Melbourne in 2017, apartment living made the most sense for their busy work schedules, but Michael was hesitant. ‘I was initially skeptical about many other aspects of the apartment lifestyle, and as such aspired to get a house somewhere as our family grew,’ he says. ‘Somewhat ironically, it was only with the birth of our son that I really became an inner-city apartment convert.’
Following Oska Shübi’s birth, Michael and Ying began taking full advantage of the location of their Bates Smart–designed apartment on Spring Street via spontaneous cafe visits and people-watching in Treasury Gardens. ‘The ability to walk out our front door and ‘dip into life’ – albeit briefly – really aided in keeping us sane,’ Michael says.
The couple also started indulging in the occasional ‘nocturnal stimulation’ at Angel Music Bar, and dancing at nearby nightclubs! ‘Sometimes you just need to have an anonymous dance when you’re stuck at home the majority of the time,’ Michael says.
Michael and Ying’s love for their city location remains the same, but their actual home has evolved significantly over the past three years. Originally a relatively stark shell, Michael has filled the three-bedroom apartment with furniture prototypes designed for his own collection, plants, rugs sourced overseas, $2 art prints, and vintage store finds.
One small but impactful change has been replacing all the original bright downlights with lamps and soft pendant lighting. ‘To this day, the only time the down lights get put on is if we have lost something tiny on a rug and require blindingly bright light to find it (or when Ying is doing her nails in the bathroom)!’ Michael says. This change has also better highlighted the apartment’s natural light, which guides the family from the breakfast table, to the reading nook, and lounge room as the day progresses.
Even now, this apartment remains in a constant state of flux, with Michael always adding or moving pieces around. ‘I am always wanting to create a new environment or am lusting after some notion of how the place could be. This often involves some crazy piece of furniture that is wildly expensive and not at all needed,’ he says. ‘Ying on the other hand is much more balanced in her approach to our home. She loves what we have, and would be happy for it to stay the way it is… until such time as it changes, and then she is equally as happy with that.’
Michael’s apartment end goal is to create a disparate structure containing all of the couple’s design loves and flights of fancy. He says, ‘It would probably end up looking like some kind of “only a mother could love” monstrosity, but it would be our monstrosity, and would talk to all of the weird things we have liked over a long period of time as our tastes change and evolve.’
Watch this space!