Living with Art: Tiny Spaces Big Ideas

Josh Jessup and Matt Moss have made the most of their inner-city apartment, gracing its walls, floors and ceilings with art and design worthy of a penthouse status. Briony Downes writes. Photography by Brian Doherty.

Nestled in a tower apartment block in inner-city Melbourne, the home of Josh Jessup and Matt Moss is a perfect blend of historical and contemporary interior design. Using the white walls of their apartment as a neutral base, the duo have built a joyously colourful interior from an eclectic array of handmade objects, art and designed objects.  

Best known for their viral TikTok videos and the art they create for their homewares business, joshandmattdesign, the couple made the move from Sydney to Melbourne in early 2021. Dedicated followers of Verner Panton, Gufram and Jardan, their apartment is graced with everything from a pair of Driade Roly Poly chairs to a Giant Corn Stool from Third Drawer Down. “We are definitely drawn to colourful, interesting sculptural designs,” Moss admits. “We’ve learnt to trust the process and go with our intuition with what we like.” A firm favourite for Moss is a folded acrylic Adelphi chair by Edra, designed by Denton Corker Marshall architects for the lobby of Melbourne’s Adelphi Hotel. For Jessup, it’s a lush, red Ligne Roset Togo chair designed by Michel Ducaroy. “Our space has a lot of different things, but each object has been thought through,” explains Jessup. 

With its bright colours and geometric shapes, their interior is visually akin to the style developed by Italian design and architecture group, Memphis Milano. Founded by designer Ettore Sottsass in the 1980s, Memphis Milano brought its vivacious style to furnishings, lighting and home décor to create a maximalist look that could envelop every aspect of an interior space. For Jessup and Moss, this translates into a mash up of old and new, with most surfaces sporting bold patterns and squiggly lines. “Vintage stores are some of our favourite places,” says Jessup. “They are like an adult playground for us.”

The majority of art in their home consists of one-off pieces and works they have created themselves. A rainbow coloured gradient painting sits nearby a square of acrylic covered in a grid of carefully placed rubber ducks. Apart from personal taste, a key element of their designing process is ease of movement.

When creating content for TikTok or spending time with their dog, Luis, Jessup and Moss often shift furniture around to suit their needs. “We break things down into modular components, so we can rearrange our space easily,” Jessup points out. “That’s how we survived doing the business in a small apartment, we were able to do things like quickly convert the TV room into an order packing station.” 

Despite possessing clear design influences, their home’s décor also reflects their individual taste and professional experience. Jessup recently completed a degree in architecture while Moss is a software developer. “A lot of my personal designs and paintings are similar to web design, they are very colour blocked and graphic,” says Moss. Both are keen gamers, and in their spare time they play Minecraft and The Sims, focusing much of their attention on designing homes and structures. Using the modular bricks of Minecraft, structures can be built from scratch, the no-risk format of gaming allowing them to freely experiment with shape and colour without consequence. “We might put two colours together in the Minecraft house and that will inspire a mobile, painting or art piece. We really like having no rules,” laughs Jessup.  

Still in the early days of their interior design journey, the pair cite US designer Kelly Wearstler as a major influence in how they approach the placement of objects and furnishings in their home. “There was a night when we were watching her masterclass on interior design,” says Jessup. “Kelly really taught us how to see each individual object as a sculpture.” This way of thinking is especially true when it comes to the chairs they aim to keep collecting. As Jessup puts it, “Chairs are a blend of function, art and sculpture. Our chairs work as something to sit on but they can also be a centerpiece.”

Featured image: Matt and Josh sit on vintage blue Eros chairs from Kartell with yellow Arnold circus stools from Maker’s Mrkt. On the vintage marble table sits a green resin vase from Dinosaur Designs with a pink pendant floor lamp custom built by Josh and Matt. Courtesy: Josh Jessup and Matt Moss.

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