Sitting within a low-rise tower in Sydney’s Surry Hills – previously used for storage and commercial purposes – NoMad is described by the couple who live there as an ‘urban sanctuary’. As avid travellers, the pair wanted somewhere they could feel grounded and at peace, with spaces they could fully immerse themselves in. Tasked with fulfilling this brief was interior design studio Alexander &CO., whose workspace is located in the neighbouring suburb of Bondi Junction. The resulting apartment’s spacious volumes and expressive shapes render it a private gallery, encouraging anyone who visits to treat it as such.
The custom kitchen island by Concrete Bespoke, colossal in scale and sculptural in form, is the pièce de résistance. The bench had to be carried in by a crane through the windows and carefully manoeuvred into place. BRDR Kruger Pauline stools, a painting by Cedar Jeffs and a collection of locally-sourced ceramics complete the space.
The Building; Celebrating and Repositioning
The shell of the three-bedroom-two-bathroom apartment comprises the typical characteristics of an industrial building: concrete floors, tall ceilings with exposed trusses, broad structural posts and factory-style steel-framed windows. Rather than seeking to reduce these features, Alexander &CO. chose to honour them in a more contemporary fashion.
“The structural envelope possessed a beautiful scale reminiscent of its industrial heritage. However, it lacked the amenity of a habitable apartment,” Alexander &CO. director Jeremy Bull says. Now that the latter has been amended, the building’s historical features are pillars of its design; the floors provide visual weight, the ceilings create depth, the posts amplify internal proportions, and the windows generate continuity. “The conclusion of this project was a completely reinvigorated narrative which celebrates and repositions the building’s history,” Jeremy says.
The theme which underpins the interiors is that of wandering – through the spaces and one’s thoughts. “The spaces are conceived as an artist’s studio; a gallery of daring handmade shapes in concert with one another,” Jeremy says. Replicating the experience of a gallery, occupants are engaged in a two-way conversation with their inanimate surroundings; the materials, furniture and art all exist to tell a story. For this reason, Jeremy says, natural light was key, and ‘white space’ was cherished. “The interiors are made to feel deliberately sparse to draw attention to their contents.”
A salient example of this theme is the open-plan living space, which the Alexander &CO. team has expertly curated. Sculptural furniture pieces including the Edra On the Rocks sofa and De La Espada Laurel side table are paired with expressive lighting pieces such as the Flos Cocoon table lamp and Taliesin 2 floor lamp. Arranged atop an oversized rug from Armadillo, these pieces appear to be on display; only, they are there to be enjoyed and used in the function of a home.