Future-Focused Living | YSG Studio’s Fantales House

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    Following our ‘Kitchen Closeup’ on the Fantales House by YSG Studio in collaboration with Laminex, we unearth the equally artistic design details inside the adjoining living and study area.

    The Fantales House, designed by Sydney-based YSG Studio, explores how our communal spaces can better cater to our current lives. YSG Studio, known for their eclectic and expressive interiors, were tasked with designing a future-proofed kitchen with adjoining living and study area exclusively using Laminex laminate. 

    After stepping inside the rich and soulful kitchen space, we enter the adjacent living and study zone, designed to meet the demands of how we ‘live, work and play’ in our homes. When space is at a premium, YSG Studio principal Yasmine Ghoniem says this multi-functional area proves it can work hard in different ways. 

    Yasmine’s mission was to use Laminex through a new and exciting lens, bringing the same sense of playfulness that permeates the Fantales kitchen into the living and study zone. The desired effect: to create a sense of cohesiveness that wasn’t predictable or repetitive. 

    We chat with Yasmine on the defining elements in her Fantales House living and study area and how her studio’s interpretation of the brief shines a light on the possibilities of Laminex laminate.

    Produced in partnership with Laminex

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    YSG Studio were presented with the brief to create a living area incorporating a study zone, adjoining the kitchen. It was to reflect the way we live now by overlapping ‘live, work and play’. 

    Form Follows Function

    The Fantales House needed to consider a shift in what we now expect from our homes. “Larger homes might have separate rooms that can be dedicated purely for office work, but where space is at a premium, the challenge is, ‘how can we use each space in multiple ways?’ Everything you put in has to be really well-considered,” she says. And to reflect this new reality, Yasmine was asked to use Laminex in a way that presented its flexibility, durability and adaptability. 

    The living area is designed as a space to gather, relax and entertain, while the subtly integrated study nook is a nod to how our spaces have evolved into a place of work. It features a desk, drawer storage and bullnose shelving, all made from Laminex laminate, with operable screens made from Laminex Danish Walnut Chalk finish that slide to close off work (or homework) for the day. Their partial transparency creates depth, and when the screens are open, the nook can create visual interest through books and personal objects on the open Laminex Pillarbox Natural finish shelving. “There’s an ease to this space,” Yasmine says. “There’s nothing too fancy, too fragile, too precious. And it’s achievable. A lot of the materiality is cost-effective. It’s just thought about slightly differently.”

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    Bullnose shelving makes three different appearances in the living and study area. The term bullnose calls on their softly curved edge, designed to be extra thick, and made from HMR particleboard, post-formed with Laminex HPL.

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    The custom recessed shelving in the living space features a textured wall, and Laminex Danish Walnut Chalk finish bullnose shelving designed for displaying objet d’art.

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    When it came to the living room joinery, YSG Studio were influenced by a growing interest in liquor cabinets, entertaining the idea of creating a cupboard that looked equally as good with its doors open through “its punchy red internals”.

    Sculptural Motifs

    Looking through to the living area from the kitchen, a curved tile-framed portal sets the sculptural tone of what’s to come. Yasmine says they translated the kitchen’s above counter joinery and the curved edges of the internal shelves into the screen battens and shelving in the living and study zone. “The battens also echo the vertical dowel door pulls of the kitchen’s joinery,” she adds.

    Screens are a signature feature in YSG Studio’s projects. “I love being able to get a glimpse of what’s beyond,” Yasmine says. “And this was a great opportunity to showcase how you can do the same thing not just out of timber, but with laminate.” In the Fantales House living area, Yasmine designed linear screens to comprise two units: an outer screen permanently fixed between the desk and ceiling and the rear screen that can slide across to partially conceal the desk area. The screens feature vertical fixed louvres in Laminex Danish Walnut Chalk finish, bonded together and post formed in Laminex PL (pressure laminate), attached to an MR (moisture resistance) particleboard frame. “We liked the idea of the shelves and their ornaments piquing visual interest even if the screen was partially drawn over them. On a practical level, each batten fits snugly within a handgrip to pull the screen over or push it back,” Yasmine says. 

    Likewise, Yasmine considered how typical shelving could be reimagined. The extra-thick bullnose shelves make three appearances in the living room: in the electric Laminex Pillarbox Natural finish exposed shelving and within the tower cabinetry, and in a wall recess, made from woodgrain Laminex Danish Walnut Chalk finish. The term bullnose calls on their softly curved edge, made from HMR particleboard, post-formed with Laminex HPL.

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    Yasmine describes working with Laminex as “a huge time and budget saver”, especially when designing the two custom coffee tables. “A slick pouring of Laminex Kalamata laminate glides over sculpted table legs whilst tonally anchoring the room,” she says. “Had I tried to achieve this with a dark stone, I would have had to purchase an entire slab.”

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    The YSG Studio team selected Laminex Pillarbox Natural finish from the latest Laminex solid-colour range, together with woodgrains such as the Laminex Danish Walnut Chalk finish and Laminex Milkwood Natural finish. YSG Studio explored alternate applications for each, such as the puzzle detailing in the Laminex Danish Walnut Chalk finish joinery. The Laminex Pillarbox Natural finish handles hint at what lays within.

    Colour, Texture and Pattern

    Colour is at the heart of YSG Studio’s widely-loved aesthetic. It’s fundamental to the experience of moving from one space to the next in the Fantales House, where “the pop of Pillarbox Natural finish red laminate coaxes the eye towards the living room, introducing the idea of the two spaces flowing into each other,” Yasmine says. “So you walk from this quite cocoon-like experience of the kitchen into a living space which is a lot brighter and just feels lighter,” she adds. 

    There is an art to how YSG Studio have injected Laminex Pillarbox Natural finish into the living area. They’ve balanced the saturation of the exposed shelving with “subtle glimmers” in the cupboard doors’ handles and its recessed base, as well as the strip across the desk’s drawer and on the two coffee tables. “This was to encourage visual exploration up, down, and across the room as opposed to just eye level, making the room appear larger,” Yasmine explains. 

    The two units of tower cabinetry doors feature Laminex Milkwood Natural finish and Laminex Danish Walnut Chalk finish in alternating strips contrast each other – mirroring the kitchen island – while a puzzle-like assemblage of Laminex Danish Walnut Chalk finish creates satisfying geometry with the woodgrain. Both applications showcase the inherent capabilities of Laminex laminate. 

    Internally, the tower cabinetry, designed to be a liquor cabinet, features Laminex Pillarbox Natural finish. When open, it can change the entire look and feel of the living space. “We entertained the idea of creating a cupboard that looked equally as good with its doors open with its punchy red internals – from shelving to wall and door surfaces,” Yasmine says. “Located behind the sofa, there’s no reason why it can’t always peep open!”

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    The study features Laminex Pillarbox Natural finish shelves, Laminex Porcelain Blush vertical surfaces and a Laminex Danish Walnut Chalk finish drawer.

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    Custom Furnishings

    Yasmine says working with Laminex reduced the need to explore other materials such as solid timber and natural stone – “ a huge time and budget saver”. The custom coffee tables at the centre of the living space exemplify this. “A slick pouring of Kalamata laminate glides over sculpted table legs whilst tonally anchoring the room,” Yasmine says. “Had I tried to achieve this with a dark stone, I would have had to purchase an entire slab.” 

    Inspired by Mid-century modern design, the custom coffee tables feature a base crafted from Tasmanian oak veneer with solid Tasmanian oak at the foot of each leg. The tabletop is made from Laminex Kalamata, outlined with Laminex Pillarbox Natural finish. These earthen tones and playful shapes ensure the olive green Ligne Roset Togo settee feels right at home. 

    Just like the custom coffee tables, the tower cabinetry set into the wall alcove is designed to feel more like a piece of furniture than typical living room storage. These custom features capture YSG Studio’s design intent and how, through a dedication to each design detail, they’ve revealed the inherent capabilities of Laminex laminate. 

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    “Larger homes might have separate rooms that can be dedicated purely for office work, but where space is at a premium, the challenge is, ‘how can we use each space in multiple ways?’ Everything you put in has to be really well-considered.”

     

    – YSG Studio principal Yasmine Ghoniem

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ysg studio's evocative interior palette