When a fashion and interior designer friendship develop into a collaborate, an understated opulence is an outcome.
We had to profile this interior piece for many reasons and chatted to Janet about the unique job.
What was your initial brief?
The brief was to design something structured and evocative, prioritising the opulence of the Costarella product — whilst also reflecting it.
Costrarella requested there be a large accessories room, a display in the entrance hall to showcase the brand and a main retail area that would lay home to his collection of couture gowns and ready to wear garments.
How did you overcome the challenges presented by the heritage-listed building?
The heritage-listed aspect of the building did impose a few design challenges we had to work around. For example, the affixing of a five-metre meshed curtain from the ceiling involved the adaption of a tracking system typically used in more clinical settings. Some entryways were extremely constructive and we opened these up using bronzed mirror, this also helped visually connect each of the separated rooms to one another — something which would have been more directly achievable without considerations of heritage.
We wished to pay tribute to the existing site through understanding it’s narrative history, as well as the new narrative vision for the entire treasury complex. Through which we found a subtle way to ‘contrast-to-compliment’ the space — for example, we took advantage of the existing ceiling height and arched windows by extending contemporary vertical brushed brass elements throughout the space.
What is your favourite aspect of the design?
The overall aesthetic of contrast, as facilitated by the combination of marble, brushed brass, with the fluidity of the 5m high curtain and the warm colour scheme. This contrasting embodies the Costarella brand while reflecting the aesthetic of the redeveloped state buildings.
The whole space has a very indulgent and opulent atmosphere. What was the reasoning behind keeping the exposed ceilings?
This was purely a budget restraint decision. We felt the money could be better directed elsewhere on signature pieces such as the brass clothes racks, feature storage wall doors and concealed lighting under display shelves. Since we focused the opulence away from the ceiling and towards the walls, and subsequently the product, occupant’s attentions are guided towards these, areas away from the ceiling.
How did you incorporate your style with Mr Costarella’s structured style into the design?
We received an inspirational mood board from Costarella that gave us a clear direction of what he wanted for the space — simple and clean. This, combined with the brief, catalysed us to generate the concept of the ‘gallery retail space’.
We had this idea that we could use the clothes racks, and other usually utilitarian functions of a store, to frame the varying areas, and within these areas, the products.
Simply, we ‘paired-back’ what is typically expected from high-end luxury, and placed this luxury aesthetic back into the typical or useable design attributes that constitute a store.
Tom Dixon’s hand blown glass lighting fixtures are particularly striking. Was the collaboration with the Treasury Hotel already established, or was his work chosen as a complimentary feature to Mr Costarella’s designs?
We had a number of discussions going back and forth around choosing appropriate feature pendants for the space. Finally, the Tom Dixon melt lights were chosen as they complement the overall aesthetic of the space – which as previously mentioned, is aesthetically linked to Costarella’s designs.
What key materials were used to achieve the style you were going for?
We used brushed square brass; matt marble surfaces offset with 5-metre high metallic mesh curtains.
Bronzed mirror was another key element used to manifest our gallery-retail concept. We used it on the inside of doorways to frame and connect varying zones, as well as on custom-made plinths and display shelves — this also allowed us to reflect the products available in an evocative manner.
All of these attributes read together well, and narrate the brand as well as the existing site. However, it is partly in the materiality that a contemporary contrast to the original site is present.
JK Interior Design
Interview: Hannah Barry & Jenn Hiller