A love of books is central to the life of the clients, so the heart of this project is a library – an intimate retreat housing their collection. Employing a palette of perforated steel, the new work contrasts with the existing 1920s shell to create a dark heart with a light perimeter. Forming a central core, the library defines the spatial boundaries of the rest of the apartment and its arrangement of bedrooms, kitchen and living around the perimeter.
A clear distinction between the existing apartment envelope and the new joinery and other works is achieved through colour; new work is dark while the existing building fabric is white. The bookshelves and joinery units appear as furniture within the existing shell providing permeable spatial boundaries that allow for the flow of air and light through their perforated surfaces. The commercial/ industrial concrete (floors, ceiling) and steel are paired with the warmth of the timber flooring and shelving.
Our approach represents the reverse of a minimalist response to hiding everything behind doors; the new design celebrates their personal things sometimes explicitly, sometimes in a more subtle and enigmatic way, behind the perforated steel. There is a delight to what is revealed and what is not.