An ultra-modern, minimalist home in the heart of Berwick has won a local firm a prestigious design award.
Design Unity won the award for Most Innovative Kitchen Design at the annual BDAV Building Design Awards, presented by Building Designers Association of Victoria.
The awards celebrate Victoria’s best residential, interior, sustainable, heritage conservation and non-residential design projects.
Winners were announced at the BDAV annual dinner at the National Gallery of Victoria on Saturday 29 July.
Design Unity picked up a second award, Excellence in the Use of Glass, for a house in Warragul.
Design Unity managing director Warren Jenkins said he and his staff were thrilled to win for their work on the Berwick house Venendo Insieme, which means ‘coming together’ in Italian.
“It was absolutely amazing. It is very difficult to win awards from this industry organisation. The quality of the entrants is broad and very skilled.
“To identify our projects as winners is a real boost for our business.”
Mr Jenkins described the residence as a “surprise house”.
“We designed a flat roof to give the house a low profile and a cantilevered form over the entrance hall that makes quite a statement, but when you walk in through the door the place is open, spacious and filled with light – that is the ‘surprise’ element.”
One of the family members has limited vision so the house was designed across one level with careful consideration of transitions between rooms.
The exterior landscaping was also levelled to the house. There are no steps inside and the one at the front entrance is illuminated.
Dedication to the minimalist ethos led to the kitchen being almost completely concealed.
When it comes time to prepare a meal the functional cooking zone pops up from the retractable cupboards that hide it.
The refrigerator, food storage, and kitchen appliances are tucked away in a large butler’s pantry. The only enduring culinary elements are a central island bench with a sink and streamline tapware.
Bathrooms conform to the pared back aesthetic with little spared on detail and fittings. The main bathroom features a large floating vanity with mounted sink, a custom made mirror, and polished plaster wall: it’s a space that says – in a soft muted voice – ‘luxury’ rather than austerity.
The judges said the “cleverly designed kitchen of Venendo Insieme is an example of a utility area being conceived as a piece of furniture”.
“The minimalist white island bench features a mirror treatment to create a floating effect that visually extends the dining area.
“The cabinetry surrounding the preparation bench is thoughtfully detailed to frame the appliances.
“Within the two exposed appliances sits a hamper door that conceals the preparation bench alcove.
“Through skilful space-planning measures such as hiding refrigeration in the butler’s pantry, the designers have been able to achieve an uncluttered kitchen that is part of the family area.
“The absence of handles and striking lights makes this kitchen sleek and stylish.”