City-dwellers understand that given the often gritty aspects of daily life, it’s a restorative reprieve that we’re searching for amidst the hyper-connectivity. A sanctuary of simplicity set against an urban milieu. In Brunswick East, design firm Multiplicity have converted a heritage bungalow into a steel-framed cocoon in which the rhythm of daily life can manifest with ease. Drawing on Ray and Charles Eames emblem of reductive elegance, Case Study House #8, the residence is a conceptual reflection of the beauty of functional, inner-city living. And in what better suburb than the progressive, historically diverse, and culturally rich area of Brunswick East.
What Multiplicity have illuminated in their considered references to Case Study House #8 is that the Eames concept is not reliant on location for success. That the original 1949 Eames home was built adjacent to a meadow overlooking the endless Pacific Ocean did not alter the fundamental design principals of the home, which are just as effective on a densely inhabited Melbourne street. It’s in the lean construction and deceptive simplicity of a steel framed extension that Multiplicity have transformed a once dilapidated timber bungalow into a contemporary home fit for a young family.
Retaining the Victorian cottage frontage, the two-story home is split into two halves of old and new, yet rather than creating a fractured flow, this contrast acts as a design element unto itself. A way of nudging its inhabitants, however unconsciously, into a connection with time and place. And despite the property’s south facing outlook, there is an abundance of light flowing through the addition thanks to a decisive use of glass and voided space.
Within the shell-like extension, internal volumes appear to hang from the ceiling, offering a complex system of nooks that offer family living some much sought after privacy. In a bid to maximise space, floating steel-framed cabinetry sits over hydronically-heated polished concrete flooring in the kitchen, while in the bathroom a sliding mirror allows for multiple views. The effect is both modular and bold. But despite so many geometric forms, the home retains a sense of lived-in warmth through tactile, playful accents. A floating timber staircase, white-netted feature ‘wall’, and a generous use of outdoor space all add to the overall juxtaposition of minimal and complex, warm yet distinctly cool.
The home is very befitting for its surrounds in Brunswick East, where design meets grunge to create a hotbed of creativity. A short stroll leads you to Lygon Street, where 400 Gradi churns out some of Melbourne’s best pizzas, Mr. Wilkinson provides an intimate den in which to enjoy top-notch cocktails, and chef-favourite restaurant Rumi offers up Middle Eastern fare. Closer to Nicholson Street, Pope Joan is a well-established local favourite for its coffee and delicious food offering. Just as the home provides an outstanding eclectic yet pragmatic design, its locale is both filled with dependable neighbourhood favourites and hip culinary hotspots – a winning combination indeed.
It’s in the lean construction and deceptive simplicity of a steel framed extension that Multiplicity have transformed a once dilapidated timber bungalow into a contemporary home fit for a young family.