The winners of this year’s Belle Coco Republic Interior Design Awards represent a suitably inspiring culmination of the program’s first 10 years, exhibiting the confidence, sophistication and verve of an industry that continues to go from strength to strength. Congratulations to the class of 2020 thank you very much to our generous sponsors Coco Republic, Signorino, Sub-Zero Wolf, Liebherr, Fisher & Paykel, Wedgwood and Armadillo.
Belle Coco Republic Interior Designer of the Year
Winner: Gillian Khaw and Tania Handelsmann: Handelsmann + Khaw
As relative newcomers on the scene (their studio was formed in 2016), Tania Handelsmann and Gillian Khaw have captivated with the youthful energy and whimsy of their designs and are worthy recipients of the Emerging Design Star award. Their uncontrived spaces balance spontaneity and refinement while reflecting their clients’ personalities and requirements.
“Injecting character via patina is a key feature of our projects,” they say, and in the Bellevue Hill home recycled materials and traditional forms provide a sense of continuity overlaid with a contemporary ethos. Custom solutions combined with vintage and organic pieces add to the esoteric nature of their work. Their winning kitchen was conceived for a passionate cook, and the introduction of elements that read as furniture brought the desired social atmosphere to complement the tactile finishes and sophisticated fittings. It is a perfect example of the considered and bespoke approach that is their design signature. handelsmannkhaw.com
Emerging Design Star
Winner: Gillian Khaw and Tania Handelsmann: Handelsmann + Khaw
Best Residential Kitchen Design – sponsored by Fisher & Paykel
Winner: Gillian Khaw and Tania Handelsmann: Handelsmann + Khaw – Bellevue Hill Federation House
Best Residential Interior– sponsored by Sub-Zero Wolf
Winner: David Flack, Flack Studio – Potts Point House
Best Work with Colour – sponsored by Armadillo
Winner: David Flack, Flack Studio
Described as a ‘massive transformation’ the reinvention of a 1930s freestanding house in Sydney’s Potts Point has been awarded Best Residential Interior and Best Work with Colour for Flack Studio. The Melbourne-based studio is known for its fearless approach to design, but one that is “genuine and innovative, and combines warm materials with clean lines, textural palettes and fine detailing to create considered and welcoming spaces”. The clients had engaged David, a former Designer of the Year, for a total makeover of the property to create their perfect home. Wedged between apartment blocks the build was a challenge with tricky access.
But the end result is a triumph, reflecting the client’s personality, aesthetic and passion for family. Multiple bedrooms, bathrooms and living areas, an indoor pool and rooftop garden are ranged across the four levels, with abundant light, a functional and flexible layout and design flourishes delivering the desired outcome. Colour virtuosity makes the spaces sing, from the wine room’s moody tones to the living area’s playful stripes and the mash-up of stones in the kitchen. “We used hardy materials and infused our joinery with function, details, colour and ultimately, a story,” says David. flackstudio.com.au
Best Hospitality Interior – sponsored by Signorino
Gallery: 12 luxury entertaining areas to inspire (belle)
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Winner: Jeremy Bull, Alexander & Co – Glorietta
An earthy and warm Italian restaurant crafted by Alexander & Co out of a characterless commercial space in the North Sydney business precinct has taken out the award for Best Hospitality Interior. Tasked with creating a dynamic venue that would become the pulse of the area, principal Jeremy Bull – 2018 Designer of the Year and recurring Hospitality Interior winner – and project architect Sophie Harris sought to create intimate pockets within the vast space.
Natural materials and muted tones are a soft backdrop to a variety of seating options from high tables with bar stools to leather banquettes and bentwood chairs. Soaring volumes that promote airiness are given human scale with a lattice rattan ceiling in gently curving shapes hung with bespoke ‘bird’ lights. Areas are delineated by different floor treatments, from polished concrete to timber boards. And with a lively bar, open kitchen, plenty of greenery and an outlook onto a lushly planted balcony garden and outdoor seating, the stage is set for convivial imbibing and dining. alexanderand.co
Best Commercial Interior – sponsored by Signorino
Winner: Phoebe Lipscombe and Mardi Doherty, Doherty Design Studio – Marquise Flagship
Commercial interiors need to work hard – they have to be as enticing and memorable as they are functional and brand-appropriate. Doherty Design Studio ticks all these boxes with ease in its beautiful Marquise flagship store in Melbourne. What director Mardi Doherty and interior designer Phoebe Lipscombe have created is a consciously calm, immersive retail space for one of Australia’s oldest and best-loved babywear businesses. “We wanted to design a store that is playful and nostalgic,” says Mardi. While playfulness is apparent in its porcelain-pink plaster and its fun, block-style sales counter, it is carefully underpinned by sophisticated elements designed to appeal to adults.
Custom hanging rails that are perfectly sized and positioned to hold tiny clothes are powder-coated a gorgeous champagne colour; curved walls offer a sense of embrace and a hint of elegance; and the peekaboo windows invite shoppers to peer in. “You have to look inside, whatever age you are,” says Mardi. Materials are deftly combined in the 55sqm space, with blush ceramic tiles flowing from walls to the floor, a rendered wall finish providing a touch of texture and curved railings discreetly mapping out a browsing route. The store is a thoughtfully designed retail premises, where the space’s allure and quality is a wonderful reflection of its proprietors and the shoppers who are drawn to its charming little items of clothing. dohertydesignstudio.com.au
Best Residential Interior Readers’ Choice – sponsored by Liebherr
Travis Walton, Travis Walton Architecture – Toorak Residence
A magnificent residence resplendent with sumptuous furnishings, glittering chandeliers, French-inspired mouldings and intricate stone floors has garnered the lion’s share of votes in the Best Residential Interior – Readers’ Choice category for Travis Walton Architecture. Travis’s design for a luxurious, neoclassical mansion in Melbourne’s Toorak that marries the romance of the past with a contemporary sensibility resonated with the owners and readers alike.
The expansive scale of the property – 2000 square metres – called for an equally voluptuous response, and the architect pulled out all the stops to create a “gallery-like interior harnessed by decadence and eclecticism” while still adhering to sustainability principles. Travis’s bailiwick is luxury and he is celebrating 10 years of his eponymous design practice with a portfolio of acclaimed works across Australia and overseas. His aim is always to create “inspiring one-of-a-kind spaces that stand as both a physical expression of the client’s brand or identity and an enduring statement of beautiful intelligent design”. traviswalton.com.au
Best Residential Bathroom Design
Dylan Farrell, Dylan Farrell Design – Alchemy House
Dylan Farrell brings a touch of his hometown New York flair to all projects he works on alongside his wife, the equally talented Nicolette Farrell – and the Melbourne ensuite that has won them this category is no exception. The prodigiously talented design duo espouse the view that each job they take on as has its own “unique creative fingerprint”. In this case, it was all about dreaming up an ensuite awash with theatricality that would meet the owners’ broader brief for their home, which is newly constructed yet reminiscent of stately, turn-of-the-century Victorian homes (but, of course, with a contemporary stylistic twist).
An abundance of mirrors and great proportions allow light to bounce around the room and it’s this sense of spaciousness that sets the scene for monumental pieces such as the over-scaled, hand-carved marble bath. At once dramatic and cocooning, it’s a bathroom fixture of such beauty that it requires its own dazzling stone plinth. The bath is perfectly paired with a glamorous antique Sciolari chandelier that took months to hunt down. Gutsy gold-veined marbles are given the space to shine, but are then balanced by softer stones and weathered-brass basins. The overall effect is deeply luxurious, faultlessly executed and, true to Dylan and Nicolette’s oeuvre, impressively individual. dylanfarrell.com
Hall of Fame – sponsored by Wedgwood
Iain Halliday, BKH
While BKH was not an entrant in this year’s awards, the presence of this highly influential practice could certainly be felt among the submissions. For more than 30 years it has been one of Australia’s most dynamic and acclaimed architectural and interior design studios, with director Iain Halliday netting Interior Designer of the Year in the program’s second edition along with many accolades across the Residential, Commercial and Hospitality categories. BKH has also been a remarkable incubator of creative talent, priming a generation of architects and designers that today includes Tania Handelsmann and Gillian Khaw – recipients of this year’s Interior Designer of the Year, Emerging Design Star and Best Residential Kitchen Design – as well as past winners and nominees such as George Livissianis and Madeleine Blanchfield.
BKH has played a significant role in the efflorescence of design in Australia, which the awards have been fortunate to reflect and foster during its first decade. In that time BKH has always remained current, moving easily from minimalist to more eclectic and decorative styles while always supporting this aesthetic overlay with a precise approach to space and sensitivity to the client’s brief. For its ongoing contribution to the Australian design landscape, BKH is the inaugural inductee to the Hall of Fame. bkh.com.au