Project Sheet: A Deeper Meaning

SWEE LIM IMPARTS HER LOVE OF FINE ART TO HER CLIENTS, BRINGING EMOTION, ENERGY AND EXPRESSION INTO EVERY SPACE. REBECCA GROSS WRITES. PHOTOGRAPHY BY PETER CLARKE.

Two works by Greg Wood are propped in the living space.

Two works by Greg Wood are propped in the living space.

“ART HAS CONTENT, meaning and practice. I put forward fine art from galleries to my clients, rather than art that is considered purely decorative,” says interior designer and art consultant Swee Lim of Swee Design. For this Edwardian house with a contemporary renovation by Coy Yiontis Architects, Swee selected artworks that bring emotion, energy and expression into each room, guided by the principles of style, scale and colour. 

Lyndal Hargrave’s Desert Rose hangs in the bedroom.

Lyndal Hargrave’s Desert Rose hangs in the bedroom.

Architect Coy Yiontis’ extension to the heritage house is a light-filled living, dining and kitchen area that opens to the back garden and internal courtyard and pool. The timber-batten ceiling and vertical glass frames emphasise the linearity of the space; glazing offers a sense of transparency and travertine flooring and shelving extend from inside to out.

Two paintings by Greg Wood are propped up on the travertine shelf in the living area. “The artworks needed to be atmospheric to soften the strong lines of the room,” says Swee. “Greg paints elusive landscapes often overlooked; the in-between places that express transience and ephemerality.” The landscape compositions reinforce the horizontality of the room; the colour weighted at the bottom of the painting balances the fireplace and dark timber ceiling; and the different scales are mimicked by the varied heights of the armchairs.

Across the room, Adriane Strampp’s Uncertain Histories hangs above the dining table. The chosen artwork needed to work in unity with Wood’s paintings while also filling the large horizontal space. “Constraints make me more creative, otherwise the possibilities are endless,” says Swee. “Curating artworks in a close setting requires a thread that links them together. These are all abstract oil paintings, and they are painterly and subtle with a soft, smoky palette and moody tone.” Like in Greg’s practice, Adriane similarly explores intangible landscapes that express the search for a sense of place.

A painting by Helen Kennedy hangs in the kitchen. The intense lime green on black is a nod to the outdoor landscape and the drip-like image has a sense of verticality, like the travertine veining and timber grain.

Christopher Pease explores his Indigenous and European heritage in his painting practice. The pixelated style and blue and green colour palette of Christopher’s Emu Dance is a bold addition to the traditional architecture of the study, while complementing the angular Utrecht armchair.

Wanting to bring colour and vibrancy to the master bedroom, Swee selected Lyndal Hargrave’s Desert Rose, its jewel tones and brown shades in tune with the timber panelling. Hargrave’s geometrically complex paintings are inspired by the orderly patterns and interconnectedness that lie beneath what the artist describes as “the chaos of life”.

“Artists have an intent when they create art,” says Swee. “It makes the work so much richer for people to enjoy. I want to impart that love of art and meaning to my clients.”

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