A new level of innovative and considered use of colour has been achieved by the exceptional winning projects in the 34th Dulux Colour Awards, which were announced this week. Recognising the most cutting-edge and creative applications of colour across six categories of architecture and design, the renowned industry awards program attracted more than 450 entries from Australia and New Zealand.
“The level of sophistication, creativity and masterful use of colour continues to rise each year,” noted Dulux Colour and Communications Manager Andrea Lucena-Orr. “Architects and designers are becoming increasingly bold and adept at employing paint as an integral element in the design of both internal and external spaces and this is evident across all the winning projects.”
The judging panel, comprising five leaders in the architecture and design industry – Adele Winteridge, Director of Foolscap Studio; Jean-Pierre Biasol, Director of Biasol Design Studio; Jonathan Richards, Director of Richards Stanisich Architecture; Kathryn Robson, Director of Robson Rak Architects & Interiors; and Toni Brandso, Director of New Zealand’s Material Creative – was unanimous in its praise for the calibre of the finalists. They were particularly impressed by the level of ambition demonstrated across such a wide range of project types, from social housing to workspaces and educational facilities.
PROJECT: UOM SOUTHBANK – END OF TRIP (VIC) ARCHITECTURE/DESIGN PRACTICE: SEARLE X WALDRON ARCHITECTURE (ALSO GRAND PRIX AUSTRALIA WINNER)- Judges’ comments: “Ambitious in its conception and labour intensive in its realisation, this project stood out from the start. As an end-of-trip destination with bike storage and changerooms, its program is utilitarian, yet the architects approached it as an opportunity for broader engagement with the surrounding elements. It is a credit to them that they conceived of such a complex palette, comprising no less than 14 Dulux hues, and executed it so successfully. The random, pixelated effect of the thousands of painted battens is intricate like a woven textile, ever changing under different light conditions. It draws one into the space and, as the architects state, “affirms its specific civic arts identity through creativity and colour”. We are in awe of the outcome.”
PROJECT: SOCIAL HOUSING DEVELOPMENT RANGIORA (NZ) ARCHITECTURE/DESIGN PRACTICE: ROHAN COLLETT ARCHITECTS – Judges’ comments: “The uniformity and blandness that plagues much of the social-housing genre has been cleverly avoided in this highly considered multi-residential project for individuals over 55. With colour as a key tool, individual homes have been given unique identities while still visually integrating into the surrounding area as a whole. Colour has also been employed as a navigational device across the site. But it is the fine balance between cohesion and what the architect describes as “purposeful irregularity” in the application of the palette across the 28 units that is to be commended; there is just enough similarity in the hues of the facades for the village to identify as a whole and, on the flip side, just enough individuality for it not to slip into bland uniformity. This is a genre-busting project, worthy of high praise.”
PROJECT: ARMITAGE JONES (VIC) ARCHITECTURE/DESIGN PRACTICE: BERGMAN & CO – Judges’ comments: “Barely recognisable as a workplace and more akin to a contemporary hospitality venue, this highly refined ‘office’ space is a typological hybrid in which colour plays the pivotal role. Spilling over surfaces and paired with materials, colour saturates every space, delineating zones and creating distinct moods. The red seating pod, where the carpet is matched to the paint, is one example of this execution. Underpinning the entire scheme is a cool grey that is key to the strategy’s success; if it were another colour, the space wouldn’t have the same feeling. It takes on different appearances where it adjoins the accent colours of muddy burgundy and muted gold, yet gently dominates and draws one into the areas where it has been uniformly adopted.”
PROJECT: ADAM KANE ARCHITECTS OFFICE (VIC) ARCHITECTURE/DESIGN PRACTICE: ADAM KANE ARCHITECTS – Judges’ comments: “This is the epitome of brave design. It is always challenging to use one colour well, because it requires conviction and precision, but this project
demonstrates both. The layering of rich grey tones across so many surfaces makes the occupant feel as though they have been swallowed up by a shadow and the effect is cooling, calming and powerful all at once. Custom-made furniture and artwork, as well as material contrasts of marble and bronze, are accentuated by this moody backdrop. The high ceilings of the original Victorian structure and the natural light that floods the space enhance the design strategy, resulting in a sophisticated, timeless outcome.”
PROJECT: ARTS EPICENTRE (VIC) ARCHITECTURE/DESIGN PRACTICE: BRANCH STUDIO ARCHITECTS – Judges’ comments: “The impact and sophistication of this interior set it apart and totally fulfil the architects’ aim to conceive of it more as a public performing arts facility than a school building. Its sculptural elements are striking in themselves, but the accentuation of their curvaceous forms by strong black outlines or full swathes of the hue on structural components like the stairs, is masterful. It appears as though ribbons of black are twisting through the space, orientating and guiding people through it in the most seductive fashion. It is no coincidence that this architectural triumph is a hub for the creative arts – theatre, music, fine art, and so on – for it is nothing short of dramatic.”
COMMENDATION – PROJECT: DAREBIN ARTS CENTRE (VIC) ARCHITECTURE/DESIGN PRACTICE: SIBLING ARCHITECTURE -Judges’ comments: “John Truscott’s influence is evident in this front-of-house refresh, particularly his use of embellishment to elevate the luxe factor. The designer and artistic director, renowned for his interiors at the Melbourne Arts Centre, inspired the choice of navy as the dominant hue for the painted surfaces and it certainly creates depth and drama to this entry sequence. Contrasting beautifully with the reflective highlights – the full-height concertinaed gold-foil wall, for instance – the bold colour blocks hint at a Modernist vibe and the result is a suitably theatrical
statement as the first impression for visitors to the centre.”
PROJECT: PERFECT STORM (NSW) ARCHITECTURE/DESIGN PRACTICE: GREEN ANVIL CO. + KILLING MATT WOODS + SET FOR ART – Judges’ comments: “Avoiding the ubiquitous industrial cliché, this warehouse renovation is instead a Brutalist– inspired marvel. Its minimalism and clean, clutter-free aesthetic signals a commitment to the vision by both the clients and their design team. The use of a single colour and finish, with the appearance of concrete, on all painted surfaces has a surprisingly warm cocooning effect, which is amplified by the soft curve where walls meet ceilings. It is utilitarian chic at its best – intimate, moody, balanced – and awarded for its simplicity and singularity.”
COMMENDATION PROJECT: RUCKERS HILL HOUSE (VIC) ARCHITECTURE/DESIGN PRACTICE: STUDIO BRIGHT Judges’ comments: “At first sight, the unashamed distinction between old and new in this period-home refurbishment and new addition is striking for its balance.
Upon closer inspection, the embrace of individuality and its expression in saturated colour are equally remarkable elements of this project. Palettes have been devised to reflect the personal nuances of each room’s main occupant: the yellow of a beloved football team, a powder blue for its subtle femininity, and greens as backdrops for teen paraphernalia. The main bedroom incorporates its owner’s eclecticism, in contrasting pinks and greens. It is a unique palette that has driven design decisions and been cleverly employed to distinguish between the old and new architectural components, as well as the unique personalities within.”
PROJECT: CASUARINA HOUSE (NSW) ARCHITECTURE/DESIGN PRACTICE: VOKES & PETERS- Judges’ comments: “Impactful in its simplicity, this new family home responds to its coastal setting by promoting an outdoor lifestyle and facilitating an easy flow between inside and out. Its Capsicum Red-painted external timbers and the sandy brickwork and masonry elements are perfectly balanced and contrast strikingly with the native foliage. Described by the architects as bright and defiantly modern when hit by the direct sun, the statement red exterior becomes subdued and moody when shaded, transforming the architectural expression from day to night. Overall, this is a bold design of unwavering commitment that exudes warmth and depth through colour and texture.”
COMMENDATION PROJECT: SPLIT HOUSE (NZ) ARCHITECTURE/DESIGN PRACTICE: PAC STUDIOmJudges’ comments: “This heritage villa in Auckland has been enlivened with colour in playful yet deliberate fashion. Announcing its revitalisation to the street, the villa’s front door and windows have been highlighted in a rich red that appears again in the shading screens across the back of the house. Here, the strategy has been to paint only the cut face of the vertical timbers, creating an optical illusion or sequence of disclosure as one moves across the site. It is an innovative and well-executed play of bold and neutral colour that surprises and delights.”
STUDENT WINNER PROJECT: ASCEND ARCHITECTURE/DESIGN PRACTICE: LOUISE MACKAY, SYDNEY DESIGN SCHOOL – Judges’ comments: “In this vibrant pop-up café concept, colour is the essence of the space. Inspired by artist Jean Michel Basquiat, it is designed with layers of transparent colour, eliciting a luminescent quality that would be exciting to experience, especially in the Carriageworks space, which is otherwise neutral. The potential combinations are evocative and joyful.”
STUDENT COMMENDATION PROJECT: HUMP HOUSE ARCHITECTURE/DESIGN PRACTICE: YING HO SHIU (HIRO), RMIT
STUDENT COMMENDATION PROJECT: QUEEN VICTORIA PAVILION ARCHITECTURE/DESIGN PRACTICE: MICHAEL REN, THE UNIVERSITY OF MELBOURNE