Gunnamatta House by Akin Atelier, situated on Sydney’s Gunnamatta Bay, is where contemporary Australia meets mid-century Spain.
Interior design studio Akin Atelier and Jorge Hrdina Architects were tasked with designing a home that reflected the owners’ diverse cultural backgrounds; a couple looking to settle on the south coast of Sydney, one born and raised the other originating from Spain. The brief called for a celebration of both, integrating a laid-back Australian feel with an air of mid-century Spain.
The kitchen features vintage Knoll MR chairs around a cantilevered custom Arabescato marble and Smereldo quartzite island.
The materials used in the Gunnamatta House are there to tell a story. “The journey of the home is a sequence of shifting palettes that transition between spaces to provide a sense of subtle separation,” Akin Atelier founder Kelvin Ho says. The kitchen sets the scene – custom walnut and brass joinery, fashioned against a custom marble and quartzite benchtop. This palette travels through the rest of the home, varying, as Kelvin says, only slightly. “The palette shifts to complement the daily rituals of the family and also the connection with the landscape and bay.”
From an interior design point of view, it was essential to ground the home in its surroundings. Gunnamatta Bay attracts those seeking a laid-back coastal lifestyle, and it’s this ‘Australian coastal experience’ that informed much of the Gunnamatta House interiors, which have been layered, Kelvin says, with “the depth of European tone”. The home that emerges, as a result, is not only tangible memory of the owners’ separate upbringings but a symbol of the shared life that they now live.
The dining space features the Rothlisberger Oval table and India Mahdavi Best Friend chairs with vessels by Alexandra Standen. Artwork: The Cusp, Dice and Open Window (2020) by Zara June Williams.
The family room features a unique composition of textures and geometries. Pictured: the HT112 chair by HENRYTIMI and Callimaco floor lamp by Ettore Sottsass.
Elements of Gunnamatta House echo the Australian landscape, while others represent Spanish culture and history, a combination intended to strengthen the bonds between person and place. There is a sense of being grounded, just as there is a sense of being transported, almost like being in two places at once.
Akin Atelier are guided too by the sustainable practices that today’s design landscape demands. Kelvin Ho was named in the esteemed 10 – our Design Visionaries in 2022, and in an interview with est, he profoundly stated, “as designers, we need to make informed decisions on how and who we collaborate with to build a community that prioritises and values the making of responsible choices.” Choosing to use natural, sustainably sourced materials like those found in Gunnamatta House is just one way in which this can be achieved.
Akin Atelier and Jorge Hrdina Architects have brought us a deeply personal home that encapsulates, above all, how two people can be brought together by their differences.
Open planning was pivotal to achieving a laid-back Australian feel.
We see the home’s thematic palette reincarnated in the primary suite – custom joinery made from walnut and hessian linen, a bathtub set in royal marble, and carpet painted in sea-green. Artwork by Ali McNabney-Stevens.