Indigo Slam

Smart Design Studio with Khai Liew

A piece of art to be lived in, this exciting project fronts Central Park in Sydney’s Chippendale and creates an inspiring residence for an art collector. Behind a facade of sculpted concrete, serene living spaces and monumental halls create a dynamic spatial interplay of spare interiors in which the main decorative element is light. The concrete façades of Indigo Slam are alive to the changes wrought by light, shade, sun and cloud, providing the urban park across the road with a lively backdrop to public life.

The house sits comfortably in a context of mixed scales and uses. Approaching from O’Connor Street, a steel screen opens to lead the visitor into a generous vestibule. The space then compresses to a low and narrow corridor before suddenly opening to a cavernous stair hall lit from concealed roof lights overhead. This unique room is grand and austere in its size and sparseness, but inviting and enticing as it leads one upwards through the building.

As a counterpoint to this dramatic spatial sequence, the living areas leading from it are informal and intimate. Bedroom suites occupy the first floor, overlooking the public park to the north. The curves and planes of the façade here act as screens to provide privacy and shade for the occupants. On the second floor, sitting and dining rooms overlook the park. A sky-lit kitchen and study look back into the building, creating views across the stair hall. Spaces are large but not ostentatious. Internal finishes are modest and pared-back: floors are brick-paved, walls are set render, fittings are simple.

The house was to be designed to last for 100 years. The brass door handles, artwork frames and fabricated Corten gate and letterbox, were custom-designed and manufactured for the project, with detailed input from the design and building team. Custom furniture commissioned for the house was designed and made by Khai Liew, with the elegant and restrained landscape design undertaken by Christopher Owen.

Furniture: Khai Liew. Lighting: Boaz. Finishes: Austral Bricks, CDK. Fittings & Fixtures: Vola, custom.

Photography: Sharrin Rees, David Roche