Project Sheet: It All Started With the Art

Using art as the starting point for the redesign of this Edwardian home, designers at Melbourne’s Flack Studio combine bold pieces with custom design to deliver a timeless and uniquely personal home. Penny Craswell writes.

In Australian interiors, Melbourne’s Flack Studio has become known for its colourful and rich style – a no-holds-barred approach to design that combines bold choices in finishes, furniture, and objects. The owners of the Middle Park residence were friends of a previous Flack Studio client and, along with wanting a cook’s kitchen, were keen to have their home transformed in the Flack Studio signature style. The design response is a vivid curation of eye-catching features that are great conversation starters and also reflect the clients’ personalities. “Our clients wanted a space that felt timeless – they didn’t want the space to feel new,” says Mark Robinson, director of Flack Studio. “They wanted a space of warmth and family history, while delivering on function.”

Flack Studios likes to take its clients on a journey via a series of meetings to discuss the design and to select finishes, furniture, objects and, above all, art. “As designers, our process always starts with art, we see art as architecture not as decoration,” says Robinson.

For the Middle Park residence, the first step was to focus on spatial planning to make sure that the two-storey Edwardian home functioned well for two adults and their two teenage children. 

A spacious open kitchen became the heart of the home. Clad in a black marble for benchtops and a patchwork of grey marble pieces on the ground, the kitchen is large and has all the bells and whistles of a kitchen fit for a chef. The cabinets, including a full wall of uninterrupted cupboards, also sport a patchwork pattern, this time in timber. At one end of the large kitchen, a round walnut table is paired with curved banquette seating in brown leather and green S2 Murena dining chairs. A Peter Cooley maximalist ceramics piece in blue and red sits on a shelf behind the table, while above hangs a Kate Tucker artwork titled Patch Work with shapes echoing the patchwork pattern in the marble floor below.

In the living room, soft, textured dark pink walls (Bacio by Porter’s Paints) provide a backdrop for a series of scene-stealing objects and artworks including an incredible antique Murano glass chandelier by Toni Zuccheri for Venini that hangs above a neutral sofa and an armchair in red velvet – there is red too in the custom credenza by Flack Studio, while a Glas Italia Fountain side table offers a companion piece in glass to the chandelier above. Part plaything and part design icon, the Sella stool by Achille and Pier Giacomo Castiglioni seems at home in this multicoloured space, with its bicycle seat, pink pole and rocking base. The artworks in this room bring the whole design together; an organic abstract piece Props/Personas (Mask) by Tom Polo hangs above the fireplace, while several sculptural and ceramics pieces are displayed on in-built shelving including Fluro Pot by Glenn Barkley with its bright red blobs standing out on a white vase form.

Featured image: In the living room sits the Apollo sofa by Antonio Citterio for Maxalto; Glas Italia Fountain side table from Space Furniture; Murano glass chandelier by Toni Zuccheri for Venini; and the Ultrafragola mirror by Ettore Sottsass from 1stdibs. Photo: Anson Smart. Courtesy: Flack Studio, Melbourne.

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