When designer Alicia Holgar took on the challenge of updating the interior of this Harry Seidler designed apartment in Brisbane, she was faced with an uncomfortably bare space. While the bones of the apartment were intact, the interiors comprised a stark material palette overlaid with white gloss joinery, and a suite of red and black furniture. ‘Overall the space felt cold and insincere, and the functionality was not optimised for an apartment of this stature,’ explains Alicia. ‘A more considered approach to the interiors was required to add warmth, character, and sophistication.’
A quality of Harry Seidler’s architecture that ultimately inspired much of this project was the integration of original art. As the apartment’s curved wall space allowed few artworks to be traditionally hung, Alicia brainstormed alternatives, and the idea of custom wall murals was floated.
It was at this very time Alicia discovered the work of Jessalyn Brooks – an upcoming Los Angeles artist whose empathic line works effortlessly reflected the essence of great designers and artists of bygone eras, including Le Corbusier, Picasso and Matisse. While inspirational imagery was discussed, there was no preconceived design for the resulting murals. ‘As a true artist, Jess waited to see and get a feel from the space, and through a creative process originated two captivating murals,’ says Alicia. ‘It was such a privilege to have Jess here in Brisbane and the experience will last a lifetime.’
Another piece commissioned specifically for this apartment is the foyer table, hand carved in Australian limestone by Melbourne based denHolm. Other paintings and sculptures in the house include those by Australian-based artists Ryan Hoffman, Sanné Mestrom, McLean Edwards, and Claudia Greathead.
To enhance the apartment’s existing curvaceous lines, a sweeping five metre feature wall was designed in the living room in collaboration with Anglewood. Functionally, this wall hosts a television (that doubles as an artwork) and two rows of solid American oak bookshelves, while seamlessly extending the space’s fluid architecture.
Overall, Alicia says this apartment combines refined European sensibilities with Australian ethics around sustainability, supporting local industries, and a laidback way of living. The work of French interior designer, Pierre Yovanovitch, was a key reference to the overall look and feel.
Alicia is the first to admit that bespoke design is not always easy, but the outcome is always worth it. ‘A lot of love and energy went into this project, and as such, there are many special elements that have been created throughout the residence,’ she says. ‘In the client’s words, the murals by Jessalyn Brooks are the piece de resistance, and I must agree. The hope is that they remain embedded in the history of the architecture, enriching its fabric, meaningfulness and memory.’
See more of interior designer Alicia Holgar’s work here.