In the heart of Sydney, Australia, where the urban hustle meets the serene landscapes, there exists a studio led by a visionary architect, Oliver Du Puy. Born with the fusion of French elegance and Australian ingenuity, Oliver's journey between the iconic cities of Paris and Melbourne, and his global architectural apprenticeships, have cultivated a unique perspective that now graces the vibrant city of Sydney.
Before founding his architectural haven, Oliver honed his craft under luminaries like Norman Foster in London, Kengo Kuma, and Junya Ishigami in the architectural meccas of Tokyo and Paris. His journey was a tapestry woven with threads of diverse experiences, a tapestry that now adorns his design philosophy. Oliver Du Puy's work is a symphony of context, proportion, form, texture, and the essential well-being of its inhabitants. His team, like a group of harmonious artisans, is dedicated to the use of non-toxic, natural materials, creating spaces that resonate with health and tranquility. But every architectural masterpiece has a storyteller behind it, and in this case, it's the homeowner, a woman originally hailing from New Zealand. She's a maven in the world of events, juggling her bustling career alongside the joyful chaos of raising two young adults and a beloved west highland terrier. Her story, her life, is the canvas upon which Oliver Du Puy paints his architectural marvel.
Now, let's journey to Melbourne, the city of juxtapositions, where the past intertwines with the present. In the inner suburb of South Yarra, nestled beside the Royal Botanic Gardens, stands a Victorian treasure, a relic from 1889. This historic terrace house, crafted by the renowned Reed, Henderson, and Smart (now Bates Smart), was once the abode of the foreman of Melbourne's first department store. It echoes with whispers of an era long past, and it's this history that Oliver Du Puy set out to embrace and revitalize. The transformation was not just a renovation but a rebirth, a reawakening of the Victorian elegance that was hidden beneath the shadows of time. Dark and cramped spaces were liberated into spacious, light-filled sanctuaries, a tribute to John Ruskin's words: "We don't want our buildings merely to shelter us; we also want them to speak to us." It became a home that resonates with vibrancy, warmth, and an uncluttered serenity. Wellness was at the core of this transformation. Every nook and cranny breathes tranquility, a sanctuary from the chaos of the outside world. Natural, breathable materials were chosen to nurture the well-being of the inhabitants. Lime-based paints and custom waterproof béton ciré were employed, eliminating harmful toxins and creating spaces that indulged the senses.
Wellness was de kern van deze transformatie. Elk hoekje en gaatje ademt rust, een toevluchtsoord voor de chaos van de buitenwereld. Er is gekozen voor natuurlijke, ademende materialen om het welzijn van de bewoners te koesteren. Er werd gebruik gemaakt van kalkverven en op maat gemaakt waterdicht béton ciré, waardoor schadelijke gifstoffen werden geëlimineerd en ruimtes werden gecreëerd die de zintuigen verwennen.
Delicate balance between old and new
The inspiration for the color palette came from Mark Rothko's color field paintings. Rothko's art, with its gradations of grays, greens, mustards, and pinks, became the guiding light. A soft green-gray from Farrow & Ball gracefully dances through the home, connecting it to the lush green surroundings. Japanese architect Kazuo Shinohara's work also left its mark. Symmetrical spatial compositions intertwined with poetic simplicity became the design ethos. Timber ceiling battens, reminiscent of Oliver's time in Japan, cast a calming embrace on the interiors.
Sustainability and nature were integral. Salvaged clay bricks wove the old with the new, while solar PV power and carefully placed steel windows connected the home to the ever-changing seasons and the natural world beyond.
The result is a delicate balance between the old and new, classical grandeur and contemporary serenity. It's a testament to Oliver Du Puy's vision, where the past breathes anew, and every corner speaks of balance, wellness, and timeless beauty. In the furniture, lighting, accessories, and art that adorn this sanctuary, every piece tells a story, adding layers of character and meaning to the space. It's a space that transcends the physical, becoming a luxury of spirit, a symphony of past and present, and a testament to the timeless elegance of architectural mastery.
Architecture and interior design by Oliver Du Puy Architecture & Interiors
Producer: Karine Monié
Styling by Jess Kneebone
Photography by Tom Ross
Text by Elke Aerts