Thursday, 6 October 2011

Nanette Cameron Interior Design Tour - Crown Metropol

Director of leading Melbourne architect firm Bates Smart - Jeffery Copolov is not only an awarded interior designer but also a very generous man with his time.

During the 2 hour guided tour this week, myself and the NZ Interior Design Tour group were given amazing access to every key area of the huge commercial interior project consisting of 658 guest rooms.
This large hotel, the newest of the Crown Casino complex, from the outside seems like any other large hotel, but inside is quite a different experience.

In fact this project can be best described as a `boutique hotel' which has been achieved through clever design and details throughout.

We started the grand tour in the foyer of the hotel where the detail begins with a beautiful blue stone floor flowing from the outside pavement in using a diamond pattern.
As we step out of the elevator on the 28th floor the design starts to reveal itself with   custom designed carpets, textured wallpapers and beautiful artworks adorning each surface.
Level 28 itself showcases not only the best view in the property but the unique s-shape of the building maximising the outlook. Screens have been inserted into the large bar and restaurant space to create lovely positive and negative spaces throughout, each with their own identity.
The boutique feel becomes apparent with the custom carpets flowing throughout each space changing colour as you enter each zone, feature bookcases showcase a collection of colour matched classics and low and comfortable seating of different shapes and sizes is placed to maximise both views and conversation.
It is difficult to make such a large hotel space feel boutique, but this space certainly has achieved it. 
We next head into the leisure zones of the day spa and pool areas where the beauty of this design seems to reach even greater heights.
The first feature which strikes you in the pool area is the amazing oversized feature lights which accentuate the ceiling height of this space.
The pool itself is of course beautiful, covered on 3 sides with floor to ceiling glass and a solid ceiling, enabling use all year round.
As we walk toward the first of 3 different guest rooms, the hallway reveals a clever use of lighting, led lighting behind a patterned grate throws shadows and interest onto the ceiling, as well as tree like art installations around unexpected and often forgotten corners creating interest in a space which is often dull.
The best room in the hotel is The Apartment, a huge space featuring a large living and dining room, entrance hall, kitchen, walk in wardrobe, plunge bath and amazing views.
The interior has been designed to feel more like a home away from home than a hotel room, with lots of personal touches throughout.
Priced between $2,500 and $5,000 per night this room is available for exclusive guests who clearly have alot of disposable income.
There are a cluster of rooms connected by a private staircase straight to the spa in the hotel also which allows guests to come and go without needing to integrate with the rest of the hotel which is a nice feature.
What I found most interesting during this tour was understanding the process the design firm goes through to finalise a design for a project of this scale. A prototype of each room is created and reviewed by up to 50 different people to ensure it functions to the highest standard. Imagine having 50 clients all with feedback which you need to incorporate into the design...nightmare.
I will never look at a hotel in the same way again and am definitely going to book in to stay at this one very soon.

Saturday, 1 October 2011

Nanette Cameron Interior Design Tour 11 - Cloud House

I was lucky enough this week to take part in the Melbourne leg of the Nanette Cameron Interior Design Australia Tour. I studied interior design with Nanette in Auckland between 2006 and 2008 and took part in this fantastic tour in 2007 where myself and 26 others were inspired for 10 days straight, getting access to some of the countries leading architects and designers because of Nanette's amazing connections.

This years tour was no exception...the first house I visited was designed by leading Melbourne architect firm McBride Charles Ryan - Cloud House, Fitzroy North.
From the exterior the house appears a typical Australian heritage home, almost plain and simple, if you drove past it you wouldn't think twice or ever know what amazing creativity lies inside.
As you open the door you immediately are greeted with something very unexpected and know you are at the right address...the most amazing carpet adorns the entrance hall. The bright coloured floral design picks up the purple hues from the original glass in the front door and beckons you further inside to see whats next.
The original part of the house has been restored with simplistic beauty but it is the extension on the back where the real creativity and vision of the architects comes to life.
As the name would suggest, a Cloud shape, inspired by the owners love of the outdoors, forms the extension architecture of this property which can be enjoyed from every angle both inside and out.
With no gutters, the curved shape not only looks good but functions well to capture rain water run off into a tank.
Connecting the old and new aspects of the home is a red cube structure housing the kitchen. The linear shape contrasts the extreme curves of the cloud, creating a real wow factor.
The joinery shapes create a pixelated effect, with clever use of stained and laquered timber finishes and a comcork floor. The red certainly is striking, perhaps not to everyone's taste but as Nanette says it is exciting to be bold with colour.
The Cloud shape really does create some amazing spaces and views within the home both above and to the sides of the cube. The shapes inside are also accentuated with the use of spotted gum battons with a black backing underneath which flows inside and out creating a seamless finish.
You really do have to admire people who embrace architecture in this way, truly trusting the creative mind.
I was lucky enough to meet Debbie Ryan during my tour in 2007 when I visited 2 of her homes in Mornington Peninsula including the Letterbox house, her bold designs and use of colour are a signature which ensures her work stands out from the rest.