North Perth Townhouse, Simon Pendal Architect
Architect & Interior Designer: Simon Pendal
Image credit: Robert Frith
The existing townhouse located at the end of a 1990s reproduction Georgian Mews was tired and unremarkable. The upper floor was a warren of rooms and dark corridors, while the ground floor had no spatial presence. Its courtyard had diminished in importance and was filled with building services. The aim of this project was to re-phrase the townhouse as a cohesive whole.
The approach was to consider the townhouse as a sequence of set pieces where daily life is intensified. This evolved on two principal fronts:
- To accept and occasionally embellish the decorative parts of the original (reproduction) interior ornate skirtings, ceiling roses, cornices and plasterwork and treat each of the spaces as ‘castings’.
- To intensify these ‘cast’ spaces through the use of a single colour per room on floors, walls and ceilings.
Immersion within the coloured rooms suspends people and things in singular thick space, correlating a specific atmosphere to intended use. Transitions between rooms are amplified by vivid colour change orchestrating a powerful sequence from one to the next. The Prussian blue room, painted in Dulux Ahoy, in particular arose from an interest in making spaces which possess the effect of Chiaroscuro paintings.
To achieve these set-like qualities, Simon Pendal Architect sought an accord between colour, its alignment and the use of artificial and natural light. Pendant light fittings were correlated to room-tone and colour. These either recede so as to amplify the effect of pooled light or become objectified so as to contribute to the composition of things. Elsewhere, white alcoves and portals become illuminated vessels at first floor level the white stair portal and white alcove act as lived scenery enlivened by the human figure. Natural top light intensifies luminous niche spaces by day, or acts as an axial termination in darkness.
Diaphanous linen curtains temper Perth's harsh light, and in certain rooms such as the all-white bedrooms, to allow each to have a presence that that is almost fog-like.