Interview Feature

A Gentleman's Residence in the Sky by Amber Road

Sydney, NSW, Australia

Browyn Marshall

A rich and layered interior, an adventurous client and a prime location overlooking the Harbour Bridge in Sydney – A Gentleman’s Residence in the Sky imbues the expected apartment typology with emotion and character. Yasmine Ghoniem of Amber Road speaks to the process of curating richness in this unique penthouse apartment.

Defying the traditional, A Gentleman’s Residence in the Sky challenges the brief of a traditional apartment, with Amber Road driving this exciting journey. Typically, as it is Sydney and located with views overlooking the Harbour Bridge, there is an undeniable expectation that all aspect and internal design would revolve around the outlook, creating vistas toward said view. In this case, however, Amber Road have done the opposite. Yasmine Ghoniem (co-founding director) reinforces that the goal of Amber Road’s design philosophy and approach is to challenge expectations. “We like to explore, we like to be different, we like to question”. And this gloriously layered apartment is the most powerful reinforcement of that ethos.

A Gentleman’s Residence in the Sky by Amber Road imbues the expected apartment typology with emotion and character.

Initally a one-bedroom, two-bathroom apartment, the “objective was to turn the 80 square meter apartment into a two-bedroom, two-bath, chic and (sexy) penthouse”, says Yasmine. Inspired by their clients’ adventurous and global spirit, and his collection of paintings, sculpture and objects, the purpose was “rather than, as often is the case, focussing solely on the spectactular views outside, we quickly determined that the interior experience would be equally rich and layered”. Through a complete overhaul of the design, reconfiguring all of the internal spaces, creating cleverly hidden joinery and display cabinets throughout, these elements of richness act as interior architecture while standing testament to a layered and collected life.

Needing a space comfortable for entertaining and hosting interstate and overseas visitors, the client “wanted a space that was flexible and could accommodate large gatherings as well as intimate dinners”, Yasmine explains. Through the use of multi-functional spaces, moving joinery elements and furniture that serves more than a singular function, this was able to be achieved. The overall palette is imbued with richness. The chocolate timber, “rich and earthy ochre tones”, layered and dense fabrics, detailed cabinetry and varied and interesting curation of furniture, all create a backdrop for the client’s own collection of artwork, sculpture and objects. Similar to a travel journal, filled with words, sketches, imagery and stories of people met, the whole apartment comes together in a sophisticated bohemian aesthetic. It makes sense, therefore, that, as Yasmine notes, “with space at a premium, maximising the storage capacity and multi-functionality of every element in the apartment was essential”.

“The objective was to turn the 80 square meter apartment into a two-bedroom, two-bath, chic and (sexy) penthouse”.

Reflecting on the changes in client requests for domestic living she says, “space is sometimes not at the forefront of a brief, but rather creating a clear environment to showcase their prized life collections, is. Inside/out living is continuing to shine in every brief we see, where the base build supports external areas. Even if it’s a small balcony, it’s so important to treat these spaces with as much consideration as their neighbouring interiors”. As down-sizing, living with less, without clutter, becomes more important it is clear that clients’ requests are also evolving. For example, “open plans divided (not with walls) but with sculptural furniture pieces, is also becoming more evident”, Yasmine says, and in this case “due to the formidable size constraints, every square centimetre of the apartment has been optimised”.

Amber Road’s design philosophy and approach is to challenge expectations.

“With space at a premium, maximising the storage capacity and multi-functionality of every element in the apartment was essential”.

Amber Road’s multi-dimensional approach to design, and the resulting beautifully stratified and plentiful spaces create such interesting and enriching stories. And they so handsomely tell these stories of their clients. In a word, Yasmine describes their approach as ‘reductive’ with an emphasis on artwork and the associated value that is created through “essentially creating a sculpted interior”. With A Gentleman’s Residence in the Sky, “ee knew this was a client who had an adventurous spirit, and his willingness to embrace, and delight in, the design journey we ultimately took him o”’ is ultimately what hinges the success of this rich and layered home, challenging all expectations of apartment typology with its sophisticated bohemian character.

“We like to explore, we like to be different, we like to question”.

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