Rone: The Omega Project

Australian street artist Rone transformed a condemned Melbourne house in haunting installation The Omega Project

BY SOPHIE DAVIES

We live in a time of constant churn, where old buildings are demolished to make way for the shiny and new. Capturing a moment of nostalgia, beauty and decay, Melbourne mural artist Rone has created The Omega Project, transforming the interior of a condemned weatherboard suburban house in the city's north with his signature wistful 'Jane Doe' female characters. Check out the space, open until Sunday 30 July, or tour its haunting rooms here, including an evocative video preserving the installation for posterity.

ABOVE: The Blue Room at Rone's Omega Project
BELOW: The Hallway

ABOVE: The Living Room

'This was an opportunity to recreate elements of a classic mid-century Australian home in its fragile final moments,' says Rone, 'drawing from memories of homes that I visited growing up, and of the many abandoned houses I have recently explored.' He leapt at the chance to celebrate the early 1900s home at the invitation of residential developer YarraBend, which will demolish this property by the end of the month. Inspired by the idea of a 'fantasy film set', Rone crafted murals for each room, using Taubmans paint to colour the blue bedroom and kitchen, green and mauve dining rooms, sepia living room and yellowed hallway. Stylist Carly Spooner curated the time capsule of dusty, mid-century Australiana ornaments and objects, from a wood-grain TV to figurines and retro phones, with one bedroom strewn with autumn leaves.

Doomed environments draw Rone, who previously memorialised the soon-to-be-demolished Star Lyric Theatre in Melbourne's Fitzroy with in-situ exhibition 'Empty' in 2016. He's also internationally known for his large-scale street art works, from London to New York and Hong Kong, and recently completed a huge portrait of a farming couple for Victoria's rural Silo Art Trail.

We love the video below of The Omega Project, a dreamy, bitter-sweet fragment of the melancholy interiors shot by Defero Productions for Rone's street art collective Everfresh Studio, set to music by Julia Stone. You can also see more sensual glimpses of the atmospheric house on Rone's Instagram feed, a fitting homage to lives lived and spaces lost...
r-o-n-e.com

The Omega Project is open for inspection at 28 Parkview Road, Alphington, 10 minutes' north of the Melbourne CBD, from 10am-5pm, until Sunday 30 July 2017.

Pictures: Tyrone Wright
 

The Beaumont: the ultimate art hotel?

The newest art hotel on the block is London's The Beaumont, which boasts a sculptural sanctuary for sensational stays

BY SOPHIE DAVIES

Fancy living inside an artwork? Then book a sleepover in ROOM by Antony Gormley, an inhabitable sculpture squatting on the façade of London hotel The Beaumont. A monumental, three-storey, cuboid figure, it's crafted from welded stainless steel plates – pale and matte just as they came from the mill – and is based on the British artist’s own physique. ‘I take the body as our primary habitat,’ says Gormley. ‘ROOM contrasts a visible exterior of a body formed from large rectangular masses with an inner experience.’

Opened in October, the Beaumont is the first hotel by London hospitality wizards Chris Corbin and Jeremy King, the genius duo who gave us grand cafés The Wolseley and The Delaunay, Gallic-glam Brasserie Zédel, convivial eatery Colbert and 2014’s Viennese-inspired Fischer’s (the Fizz loved its Euro-kooky interiors almost as much as its konditorei).

ABOVE: Gormley's dazzling ROOM sculpture squats alongside the listed Mayfair hotel
ABOVE RIGHT: Entry to its inner sanctum is via white marble stairs and a black curtain
BELOW: Gormley's minimal, wood-lined master bedroom creates a serene sanctuary

The radical ROOM sculpture sits on a low-level wing of the hotel’s façade, which serves as a readymade plinth. It's reached by ascending seven steps from a pure marble bathroom, then entering through a black velvet curtain. Once inside the crouching geometric giant, you’ll discover a sultry, fumed oak-clad bedroom, an elemental sanctuary that’s minimal, modern and mesmerising. It’s a space of mysterious contrasts; dark and light, cavernous yet enveloping, a meditative break from the norm. The room connects to a second-floor suite in the main building, where a conventional sitting room, hallway and guest bathroom beckon – Gormley intended to dramatise the passage between the two zones, as you leave the luxurious decor and bustling city behind to escape into another realm.

‘The interior of ROOM is only four metres square but 10 metres high; intimate at body level, but open above,’ explains Gormley. ‘The idea was to reveal this slowly. I wanted to structure night as a preamble to sleeping and dreaming, and reinforce the feeling of being fully enclosed so the window only gives a view of the sky. At night, the shutters allow total enclosure and blackout. The very subliminal levels of light allow me to sculpt darkness itself. My ambition is to confront the monumental with the most personal, intimate experience.’ 

FROM LEFT: Vintage sport murals and photos line retro-chic grill restaurant The Colony; The American Bar pours old-school cocktails, familiar to Hemingway or Fitzgerald

A world away from Gormley’s ultra-contemporary architectural extension, the hotel boasts a grand Grade II-listed 1926 exterior, with art deco interiors evoking the elegance of pre-war Mayfair. London's ReardonSmith Architects collaborated on Corbin & King's conversion, with interior design by Richmond International. Alongside 73 trad-modern rooms – including the lavish Presidential Suite – The Beaumont hosts a residents-only lounge-bar, The Cub Room, plus a spa with hammam and gym.

Open to the public are the Twenties- and Thirties-inspired American Bar, where photos of dandy Yankee and British personalities look down on drinkers, and pièce de résistance, The Colony restaurant, a classic, 100-seater space influenced by the trad American grill rooms originally found in New York and London. Vintage sport and travel murals, by San Francisco artist John Mattos, up the nostalgia quota, spanning stylish skiing and marlin fishing, along with elegant portraits of Clark Gable and co. Swing by for a Bourbon or some of Kenny's Meatloaf!

BELOW: Cutting-edge architecture meets the golden age of hospitality chez The Beaumont

The Mayfair garden square location, just a credit card’s throw from Selfridges, Bond Street's designer stores and leafy Hyde Park, attracts a well-heeled mob. Design aficionados, though, can’t beat bagging Gormley’s ROOM; think Jonah kipping in the belly of a futuristic whale…
www.thebeaumont.com   www.colonygrillroom.com

The Beaumont, 8 Balderton Street, Brown Hart Gardens, London W1. Double rooms from £395 a night, including Continental breakfast and tax.

All pictures by Nick Ingram except The Colony Grill Restaurant by David Loftus

The Most Marblelicious Bar In Town

Brit design star Lee Broom is the talent behind the marble-chic interiors of new London bar and restaurant Old Tom & English

BY SOPHIE DAVIES

British designer Lee Broom – aka Mr Marble – is a dab hand with grainy stone. During September’s London Design Festival, the only thing hotter than his hedonistic rooftop party at the Ace Hotel London Shoreditch was the elegant ‘Nouveau Rebel’ show at his Electra House boutique nearby. Marble lighting was the scene-stealer, especially the LED-lit Carrara marble 'Tube' lights, shaped like fluorescent strip lights but glowing with glamour.

Now Broom is behind the marble-chic interior design of new Soho cocktail lounge and restaurant Old Tom & English. Named after an 18th-century gin recipe (the spirit du jour), this reservation-only watering-hole is the brainchild of siblings Costas and Maria Constantinou, who collaborated with him on previous local venue The Arts Theatre Club.

Drawing on honest, traditional materials, Broom wanted to create a contemporary take on Sixties home entertaining, as if you’ve just swung by a mate’s stylish apartment for a sociable dinner or killer cocktail party. Solid oak ‘One Light Only’ pendants and slatted oak vertical panelling add to the retro vibe. Sofas and ottomans are a subtle grey, while hits of brass and red on lounge chairs and carpet up the ante.

But it’s sensual marble that rules at this sultry space, starting from the seductive marble 'Chamber' pendant lights suspended above the marble-topped, multi-level bar. A bespoke, post-modern marble fireplace surround dominates the main lounge, flanked by more marble care of sleek ‘Tube' lights, curvy coffee tables and 'Fulcrum' candlesticks. Broom’s sculptural crystal and marble ‘Globe' lights add to the mix of circular and geometric forms and signature cocktails are served in crystal ‘On The Rock’ glassware, boasting tactile marble bases.

“Marble features throughout in lighting, furniture and right through to the barware and tableware,” says Broom. “It’s a dream project for a designer and I believe it will be a real gem for Soho.” The bar is also a homage to Soho's naughty red light heritage, with rooms named after famous London madams and prostitutes, including Cynthia, Lulu and Nell.

Loungelovers in search of sin can sink into extended ‘Quilt’ sofas (originally for Heal's), while eagle-eyed design fans will spot bespoke updates of Broom's hero pieces the ‘Decanterlight’ and ‘Crystal Bulb’ recreated with new cuts.

Access to the basement venue is secret speakeasy style – buzz the bell at the heavy wooden door, then enter via a covert lobby. Inside, take your pick from pews in the bar, lounge or five vaulted cloisters, ideal for clandestine trysts or private quaffing. Drink aficionados can enjoy customised cocktails; foodies can expect twists on trad English dishes at intimate tables.

Each space within Old Tom & English has its own dedicated drinks service, such as a bar cart, revolving cocktail cabinet or vintage sideboard, from which waiters finesse your order (one even offers a surprise hatch to the bar). “I thought about the kind of personal service I like to receive, and the theatre of creating drinks in front of you or presenting food in a way which considers its interior, like you would at home,” says Broom. "The design has been created around those elements and much like the service informs the design, the design of the interior influences the service." Make ours a Martini...
oldtomandenglish.com  leebroom.com

Photographs: Luke Hayes

Point Yamu by COMO: Paola does Phuket

Luxe suites boast private pools.   'I always use light,' says Navone. 'Wherever you are, the idea was to bring the light and views of the landscape inside.' Supersized headboards, mirrors and day-beds play with scale

Luxe suites boast private pools. 'I always use light,' says Navone. 'Wherever you are, the idea was to bring the light and views of the landscape inside.' Supersized headboards, mirrors and day-beds play with scale

Luxe Thai resort Point Yamu by COMO draws on the talents of Italian design star Paola Navone 

BY SOPHIE DAVIES

When we heard that new Thai island getaway Point Yamu by COMO was upping the luxe factor on Phuket we were excited. When we realised Italian design whizz Paola Navone was behind the interiors, we started planning our holiday…

Walk into a COMO hotel – in Bali, Bangkok or Bhutan – and it’s the fragrance that hits you first. Throw in simply sleek mod-Asian styling, invigorating spa products, delicious food and some naughty-but-nice cocktails and you have the recipe that’s made founder Christina Ong’s escapes among the world’s most coveted.

Perched on Cape Yamu, on Phuket’s secluded east coast, COMO's latest style sanctuary overlooks the Andaman Sea and Phang Nga Bay’s jaw-dropping limestone karsts. 'Point Yamu is on a peninsula with water on three sides,' says Navone. 'The light and views are incredible, so they were the starting point.' She describes the project as 'still warm out of the oven,' and was delighted to take on her first hotel design challenge. 'I also liked working in Asia very much.' Although Belgian talent Jean-Michel Gathy took the architectural reins, the hotel feels like it was built from the interior design out, with Navone creating everything from coffee cups to side tables. The result is as uplifting as it is inspiring.

Boasting stellar sea views, this alfresco lounge blends white decor with burnt-orange hits on pillars, a nod to the sun and Buddhist robes. A pyramid of Thai wooden beds and woven details up the wow factor

Boasting stellar sea views, this alfresco lounge blends white decor with burnt-orange hits on pillars, a nod to the sun and Buddhist robes. A pyramid of Thai wooden beds and woven details up the wow factor

A mix of modern and local design features in bedrooms, which feel colourful yet calm. Ceramic stars throughout, from turquoise lamp bases to airy, cut-out room dividers, as well as Navone's eclectic pieces for Gervasoni

A mix of modern and local design features in bedrooms, which feel colourful yet calm. Ceramic stars throughout, from turquoise lamp bases to airy, cut-out room dividers, as well as Navone's eclectic pieces for Gervasoni

Colourful yet uncluttered, contemporary yet indigenous, the look manages to be both minimal and relaxed. 'It's about building a resort where you feel soft and not stressed by anything that surrounds you.' Navone’s signature skill with colour and materials, and ability to create a laid-back mood through graphic furniture and tactile accessories, is much in evidence. Hits of blue and aquamarine in bedrooms – from oversized headboards to ceramic sidetables, lamps and vases – recall the sea and sky, with striking cobalt tiles adding indulgence to bathrooms. Cool white, pale wood and tranquil grey form a soothing backdrop, with bold orange bringing warmth to public spaces. Quirky touches come care of intricate-edged mirrors, flocks of plates on walls and many-faced ottomans, with Navone's beloved flowers everywhere. 'Whatever we liked that can make people happy.'

Thailand is 'a paradise for sourcing materials, crafts and design solutions,' says Navone. 'You can find a factory producing industrial tiles – very modern and sophisticated – or small workshops that do simple, beautiful bowls.' She covered entrance columns with broken ceramic ('probably the most popular material in Thailand'), and used a big chunk of carved wood from the country's north as a lobby sculpture. Ceiling graphics were inspired by Thai calligraphy, the imperial craft of weaving rattan was harnessed for walls, and old Thai roof tiles were used to create a fishscale-esque feature wall in the restaurant (both cutlery and the aquatic-hued tableware was commissioned locally). Balloon-like lampshades took their cue from native crab and lobster traps, and Navone even encouraged one gold-leaf artisan to sing while he worked, to achieve her desired wall effect. Chinese furniture and Burmese lacquer bring pan-Asian flair, with cheery elephant figurines to remind guests where they are.

Naturally, outdoor furniture expert Navone, who is Italian brand Gervasonis art director, gives good sunlounger. 'The pool is my favourite place. You can read a book semi-submerged with your drink in the shallow end.' Alongside the glittering 100-metre infinity pool, Point Yamu spoils guests with a COMO Shambhala Retreat spa (including a yoga studio and healthy organic Glow menu), buzzy bar Aqua, great diving and a private beach. Thai street food and Italian restaurants Nahmyaa and La Sirena also beckon, overseen by Australian executive chef Daniel Moran. Most of the 106 rooms, suites and villas have view-blessed decks, while selected boudoirs boast private pools. Come on in – the water's lovely...
comohotels.com/pointyamu  paolanavone.it

Blue tiles in bathrooms reference the Andaman Sea, offset by white and grey Sino-patterned floor tiles. A sculptural bath and double basins are sleekly contemporary; theatrical lights and an ornate urn add glamour

Blue tiles in bathrooms reference the Andaman Sea, offset by white and grey Sino-patterned floor tiles. A sculptural bath and double basins are sleekly contemporary; theatrical lights and an ornate urn add glamour

Bedrooms come in a choice of cobalt blue or turquoise schemes, teamed with soothing white, wood and tactile tiles. Floor-to-ceiling windows and balconies offer vistas of Phang Nga Bay

Bedrooms come in a choice of cobalt blue or turquoise schemes, teamed with soothing white, wood and tactile tiles. Floor-to-ceiling windows and balconies offer vistas of Phang Nga Bay

Loving Paola's aesthetic? Then check out Metropolitan by COMO, Miami Beach, her upcoming hotel launching soon.