Selecting artwork for a monochromatic interior is never as black and white as it seems, as Rebecca Gross discovers in a penthouse apartment in One Central Park.
One Central Park in Chippendale, Sydney, is a residential glass tower block wrapped with lush green vertical gardens. Full-height glazed windows provide residents with expansive views and abundant natural light; and in the penthouse apartment designed by Andrea D’Cruz of D’Cruz Design Group, a strong black-and-white color palette is a contrast and complement to the colorful city outside. “It has a timeless and contemporary aesthetic with international appeal,” the interior designer says; fitting for a building that has won worldwide acclaim and a slew of awards.
“The intention for the whole penthouse apartment was to work with a crisp monochromatic palette that utilized warm tones of predominantly bronze and copper in strategic areas,” says D’Cruz, who undertook the apartment fit out for Frasers Property and Sekisui House. The designer engaged art consultants Art Duo to source the artworks and briefed them on the desired look and feel of the pieces. “Art plays an important role in the design process as it completes a space,” explains D’Cruz, who selected pieces that warm, soften, embolden or enliven each room. For the open living-dining area, D’Cruz selected two photography prints based on their color and effect.
Each has black, white and grey geometric lines and forms that are in harmony with the angular and rounded shapes of the furniture and circle pattern on the rug. “Black and white photographs ground the strength of the bronze and copper-toned feature wall and the scale was important for creating an impact,” D’Cruz says. “The context of the space and the balance of all elements within the space informed the placement of the artworks,” says D’Cruz.
The location of the sofa influenced the symmetrical positioning of the square photography prints in the living area, while the high bedhead and low bedside table not only dictated the smaller size and elongated shape of the framed prints in the master bedroom, but also determined their position. “It anchors the works to the bed level,” the designer explains. This intimate positioning is appropriate for prints that are excerpts from the artist’s journal and the golden tones and free handwriting warm and soften the striking room.
“Modern, monochromatic and bold geometric shapes dominate this interior and calls for bold graphic artwork. The repetition of pattern throughout the home is strangely soothing, while the black and white architectural photographs boldly burst from the warm timber wall.”
Photography prints hang in an ensemble on the opposite wall and each print has wispy lines in geometric formations that temper and balance the furnishings. “It was assembled to form a solid block or grouping on the wall,” says D’Cruz. “The order was relatively random with some consideration to tonal balance.” D’Cruz played with contrast and color in the remaining two bedrooms. The second bedroom already had the sense of warmth that comes with timber furniture, so the designer chose a “pure black and white artwork to fit the overall design concept.” Indeed, Andrew Purvis’ expressive painting is also well suited to a room that “experiments with asymmetry,” as D’Cruz says. In the third bedroom, Gemelle Madigan’s fine art print is a “bright and energetic” addition designed to counter reduced natural light. Its vivid hues not only appear to reflect and absorb light – like the copper chairs beneath it – but also evoke the vibrant city views that form the stunning backdrop outside this penthouse apartment.