Contemporary and historic narratives intertwine to shape a design language that’s “glamorously masculine” in the HSP Residence by Nickolas Gurtler.
Located within Sydney’s iconic Monument Building, the sense of arrival at HSP Residence establishes a notion of discovery from the outset. Entered from the 11th floor, yet located on the 10th, the 1990s apartment with views of the Opera House and Paramatta River is a deviation from the norm and required a design language that would articulate and celebrate its eccentricities.
Interior designer Nickolas Gurtler was engaged by the apartment new owners, a professional couple, in late 2020. His Melbourne-based studio has established a reputation for seamlessly integrating a curation of ’20s, ’30s & ’70s furniture, art and design icons within contemporary spaces. This application perfectly negotiates between the timelessly linear architecture at HSP Residence.
Iconicpieces from the late 1960s and 1970s bring suave sophistication in the living room. A Gubi Pacha chair by Pierre Paulin in a pale ivory Milanese bouclé add new shape and form. At the same time, a highly sculptural lamp by Atelier Areti anchors the corner of the room and is adorned by a glamorous polished brass table from Minotti.
The dining space is imbued with warmth from a set of Gubi Beetle chairs in a burnt orange velvet and injected with expression by a pendant from Buster and Punch in a “controlled chaos” arrangement.
HSP Residence draws inspiration from contemporary and historic artists residences in St-Germain-des-Prés, alongside the client’s predilection for notes of glamour. It features a distilled backdrop of natural stone, dark timber joinery and the retained ’90s geometry of grey walls, darker grey bulkheads and black steel frame windows. The forgiving aesthetic worn by the bones of the apartment is where the drama and intrigue of individual pieces have their chance to sing and to begin to build a story, layer upon layer, without the space becoming overtly maximalist.
Having descended from entry-level to the apartment proper, a small foyer/study features a built-in sideboard styled with artwork by local Sydney artist Gerwyn Davies. The performative nature of the work is an introduction – that this is a home of carefully considered detail. Around the corner, a combined kitchen/dining space has been injected with warmth from dining chairs of burnt orange velvet adorned by the “controlled chaos” arrangement of pendant lights above. Offsetting the sensorial pull of individual styling pieces, solid oak floorboards in a herringbone pattern and white Venetian plaster walls find and bring cohesion despite their historical distance from the more contemporary choices. The result is overarching modernity.
The second bedroom is an intimate parlour in notes of blue with a velvet Marenco sofa and Arcolour side table, both by Arflex.
A rug from Greg Natale featuring an animal-like print and custom cushions made in earthy clay and salmon tones from Kelly Wearstler gently add a much-needed pattern language to the living space.
Nickolas Gurtler has cultivated a visually meticulous residence in playing with form, colour, and composition. For example, the sculptural quality of a floor lamp in the living room fills that particular space with intention, punctuating it both with form and function. Likewise, a collection of surface textures walk the same threshold between look and feel – leather, velvet, boucle, glass and gold, marble – all ultimately conceding to the colour and narrative of artworks.
At its core, HSP Residence conforms to the personalities of its inhabitants through the lens of their chosen designer. Even the second bedroom, which has been resurrected as an intimate parlour, has defined itself through a deep understanding of the practice and patterns of living.
Descending from the entry-level, a tableau with artwork by Gerwyn Davies, and an Oluce Atollo lamp set the scene for the design aesthetic.