Piccolo and Woods Bagot bring back the brick by Woods Bagot

Comments Woods Bagot 03-11-2017

Reuniting two of Australia’s most awarded architectural design practices, Woods Bagot and Hecker Guthrie, Piccolo has unveiled its sequel to the multi award-winning success of Upper House and The Garden House - this time in bayside Melbourne.

On the cusp of Elwood village, the recently completed Elwood House delivers a calming and contemporary luxury living experience for its residents. Woods Bagot and Hecker Guthrie, the design dream team behind The Garden House (2011), a winner of six major property and design awards, have improved on perfection with a collection of residences that embrace the idea of a house rather than an apartment.

Exposed feature brickwork and full-scale kitchens veer from the over-seen neutral palette to create what feels like solid, grounded and immensely liveable habitats.

Piccolo director Michael Piccolo said there had long been a desire to replicate the success and timeless design of The Garden House elsewhere, but logistics had proved difficult, particularly when the project’s architect and Woods Bagot Design Director Nik Karalis moved overseas. With the purchase of the former Elwood RSL Club site at 2 Pine Avenue in 2013 – a site Piccolo had his eye on for years when living just around the corner – as well as the return of Karalis to Australia, the pieces of the puzzle fell into place.

“Our brief to Woods Bagot and Hecker Guthrie was to basically improve on perfection in the unique village of Elwood. The result is a new style of The Garden House, referencing the leafy green beauty of Elwood and surrounding bayside environment,” he said.

“We are very pleased at the end result and, most importantly our owners are delighted to find the future Woods Bagot and Hecker Guthrie imagined for Elwood House is even better in person.”

Commissioned by Piccolo

Located on the corner of Pine Avenue and Ormond Road, Elwood House features 30 thoughtfully designed 30 boutique apartments. A lesson in timeless contemporary architecture, the building’s calming facade melds exposed concrete, slender profile brickwork handmade in Denmark and irrigated balcony planter boxes overflowing with greenery.

“These types of quality projects can only happen when there is a real belief by the developer that quality and spatial extension delivers both design and sales results. Working within the perfect trilogy of architect, interior design creative and client makes for seamless product delivery and consistency often missing in multi-residential design.” said Woods Bagot’s Karalis

The individual apartment interiors by Hecker Guthrie are entirely bespoke, with considered additions that surprise and delight.

“In our eyes, the Garden House was a truly successful collaboration between designer, architect and developer. Elwood House being our second collaboration, and with the change in location, we wanted to bring an even greater level of refinement to the project. The challenge is always in creating beautifully designed spaces, that are also timeless, and that allow the purchaser the potential to truly personalise their home.

It was important to remember that while a lot of the buyers were downsizing from a family home they were also expecting an upscale of amenity. Downscaling to Elwood House doesn’t mean compromising on the things that matter.” said Director Paul Hecker

Only the finest finishes have been applied, with the challenge set to improve the quality of The Garden House. Grey Aether natural stone floors are present underfoot throughout and continue through to kitchen benchtops, while American Oak timber cabinetry adorns kitchens and storage areas. Gagganau appliances turn the expansive kitchens into havens for home chefs who have expansive double pantries in which to store all of their cooking needs. Bespoke joinery continues into the open plan living rooms where a custom entertainment cabinet provides hidden storage for all of life’s bits and pieces. A large wall unit in American Oak timber provides more storage options, as well as a hideaway marble bar and built-in study desk – all contained behind easily closable doors, providing flexibility in living space use.

Commissioned by Piccolo

Bathrooms are a haven to escape to, set against a leafy, green backdrop made possible through the inclusion of clever private terraces that encourage natural ventilation. A Branco Venna natural stone on bathroom wall surfaces works to juxtapose the organic weathered brass fixtures, while features maximise practicality.

Created for Garden House, Apaiser’s ‘Piccolo’ bathtub sits proudly in larger bathrooms, complemented by dual ‘his and her’ custom-designed stone basins designed by Hecker Guthrie. An expansive shower and toilet are separated by bespoke glass doors from the main bathroom.

Elwood House delivers on its vision to progress the perfection of The Garden House and credit for this must go in part to Piccolo’s personal obsession with perfection.

The project also features two retail tenancies fronting Ormond Road, beauty salon The Skin Boutique and the latest offering by Sixty One Group, the team behind favourites including Prahran’s Tall Timber, Richmond’s Touchwood, Hawthorn’s Short Straw, Fitzroy’s Marquis of Lorne and Carnegie’s Left Field.

The Group’s as yet unnamed café, to open in the coming months, will offer breakfast and lunch seven days, also serving dinner a few nights a week.


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Woods Bagot is a global design and consulting firm, with a team of over 1000 people working across studios in Australia, Asia, the Middle East, Europe and North America.

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