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An impressive collection of contemporary art sits at the heart of this exquisite Melbourne home

Tucked away in Melbourne’s leafy and opulent Toorak, Taylor Pressly Architects’ Curatorial House is a living showcase of what happens when art meets life. Here, the concept of curation has been applied thoroughly, where an interplay between architecture, design and art fulfils a brief that demands that these aspects be balanced. The result is a home that feels creative, unique and deeply personal. 

Beat vessel top by Tom Dixon from ECC.

Calling on local art gallery Otomys to provide a bespoke and complete curatorial service, the clients wanted more than just the architecture of their residence to speak to their creative flair and adventurous spirit. As such, the home has ended up with more than 60 artworks from 27 artists and gallerists across 15 cities, with the Otomys team taking charge of everything from procurement to installation. “Our aim is to ease the boundaries between art and interiors,” reflects Megan Dicks, co-director of Otomys. “Curatorial House expresses our belief that art is a necessity, not a luxury.”

But it’s not just the cultivation of a collection that embodies the idea of ‘art’ here. At this address, function itself is used as art too. The effect of light, for instance, which filters through the open windows from the trees above, has been cleverly maximised, even as the day begins to dim. Similarly, a range of sleek light fixtures have been introduced to not only highlight the home’s design but to create the kind of depth required to make the spaces feel interesting and dynamic. Take the vast entrance foyer, for example. In its impressive, three-storey void hangs an arresting light sculpture — delicate in nature, but grand in scale and offering a hint at what to expect from the house that lies beyond. 

Carousel XL pendant light by Lee Broom from ECC.

Armed with a creative brief and the understanding that few ideas were off limits, the architects were able to conceive a home that could capture the spirit of its clients via clever material layering, cavernous voids, light-flooded outlooks and a palette that is the perfect canvas for artistic interior touches. Think darker-toned marble counter-tops and neutral-coloured concrete on ceilings, cabinetry and walls, both elements against which brass accents were made to stand out unapologetically. These impeccable material details promise to ignite the more bold aspects of the build (from the sculptural lighting to the awe-inspiring art) and cultivate a contemporary vibe without feeling too ‘on-trend.’

Fil Noir dining chair by Rodolfo Dordoni for Minotti from ECC.

In all its grandeur, Curatorial House was designed with hosting in mind, and the architecture lends itself to that. In the home, communal spaces are bountiful, with three dining areas that each evoke a different story. The formal dining room boasts lofty ceilings and elongated tables, whereas the kitchen’s breakfast nook has been designed with intimate family meals in mind. For a more casual lunch, an al fresco dining space on the rooftop offers spectacular, sweeping views over Melbourne. 

Reeves bed by Rodolfo Dordoni for Minotti from ECC.

While the main focus in this home is the art on the walls, appreciation should be shown for how artistically the architecture has been applied too. One cannot help but be drawn back to the rooftop, where a glass atrium and generous pool interact through a play of light that feels almost like a dynamic piece of art in and of itself. It’s spaces like these that prove that while some homes simply display art, others embody it. 

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