Photos by Jacqueline Bosscher
Wentworth Towers apartment building, Strathfield
The Design Commission has undertaken the renovation of the main entrance of an apartment building in the past, but this project in Strathfield was very different to our neo-classical Darlinghurst project. This brick apartment building went up in the 70s, and unlike our other project had no heritage features or design history from which to draw inspiration. It’s redesign was instead inspired by its immediate environment. When first visiting the building, the wonderful surrounding gardens leapt out as the building’s best feature and the basket-weave brick pattern used on a few walls and balconies seemed under-utilised. The existing foyer and portico were dark with peeling wallpaper and damaged tiles, and so a wholesale change was needed to give residents a shared entry space they could enjoy. The start of the design process involved collaging together photos of the garden and then overlaying the basket-weave brick pattern so as to translate these elements into a large, tiled mosaic. The plants and bricks at ground level led to the use of soft greens and terracotta shades on the lowest parts of the walls. The magnificent gum trees and open sky led to the use of a multitude of blues, greens and browns higher up. Using the collage, the main mosaic wall could be designed down to the last tile. A simplified version of this pattern, using more white, was then used on remaining walls as a foil to the colour and detail of the main wall. Our tiles of choice were Mosa from Design Republic, for their infinite range of colour and size, as well as their Cradle to Cradle accreditation. All paints used were natural bio-paints and new, simple LED light fittings now flood the spaces with warm light. Mirrors at the back of the foyer reflect the garden into the space, and are an added security measure allowing residents to see behind them when opening the front door. The design has enabled the colour and light from outside to flood into the internal space, connecting the two areas visually and bringing a much needed lift to the interiors for the residents.