Awarded Best Victorian Residential Project by the 2023 polytec Design Awards, the Collingwood loft project by Karavasil Architects is a striking display of high-end industrial design with a stately noir twist.
Based in Victoria, Australia, the scope for this project was an interior renovation of a loft style, two level apartment in a complex of heritage warehouses, originally constructed to the design of the notable architect, William Pitt.
“In paying particular attention to maintaining the pre-existing architectural essence of the building, the interior architecture explores the idea of manufacturing and craft, which pays homage to the activities of the factories which once operated in this rare surviving major industrial establishment of the late 19th and early 20th century,” says Georgina Karavasil Papargiris, who co-directs Karavasil Architects together with her sister, Vicki Karavasil.
The exposed red pipes and painted brickwork are expertly juxtaposed by a moody colour palette that boasts depth and sophisticated character, evident through black steelwork and dark Empire Oak joinery.
This play with contrast strikes a delicate balance between the warmth that a residential space requires, and the contemporary edge that sets it apart.
Divided into two distinct zones, the upper floor of the loft offers privacy in its two separate wings, while the ground floor focuses on togetherness and entertainment.
“Landscape embedded into the bridge interacts with the dining area below, providing a biophilic sensory experience. The incorporation of nature, along with the use of natural materials positively affects well-being, fostering a comfortable living environment,” Georgina says.
The kitchen is the hero, providing the obligatory textural layer to the space with a statement rounded marble island bench. Curved floor-to-ceiling joinery adds an element of unique form, while the intricate metallic inlays complete the kitchen with the kind of refined finish that it deserves.
Flowing on from the kitchen is a courtyard terrace that offers cross ventilation and entertaining opportunities. This feature is particularly important as compromised ventilation in the existing layout presented a challenge that Georgina explained was “embraced as an opportunity to design a practical, yet bespoke, design that authentically reflects the distinctive character of the clients”.
The curved joinery continues into the bathrooms which emanate textural opulence featuring terrazzo, as well as glazed blue kit kat tiles, grey stone walls, and custom-built mirrors with functional lighting.
The study space and bedrooms speak a design language that is consistent with the rest of the home, while offering timeless simplicity, maximised storage, and function.
Overall, the loft is an impressive, multi-dimensional interior that is a true representation of Karavasil Architects’ people-centric design ethos – to create custom human environments that resonate with their inhabitants.
“Through a rigorous procedural-based methodology, we draw from diverse influences to produce distinctive and meaningful outcomes,” says Georgina.
Although Karavasil Architects is a newly established architecture and design studio, Georgina and Vicki are no strangers to the game. Their combined experience forms the foundation of their practice.
“Functionality, material exploration, and environmental sustainability are core principles that underpin our every project,” adds Georgina. “We strive to ensure that our projects not only fulfil their intended purpose, but also possess resilience to be cherished and enjoyed for many years to come.”
Words by Elena Anagnostakis
Photography by Damien Kook