Special Nonexistent Furniture
26 May, 2015

Style secrets from a luxe Sydney apartment by Brendan Wong


Interior designer Brendan Wong communicates luxury in a restrained way, with fine details and rich materials combining with bespoke art and accessories for an elegant, sophisticated feel. Here he takes us through one of his recent projects, a Sydney apartment, and shares his tips on using colour and design to evoke a luxe feel in a relatively small space.

What was the brief from your client in terms of inspiration and the final feel they wanted to achieve?

The brief was to create an understated space in which to showcase a rich mix of furnishings and artwork, whilst respecting the assertively modern Art Deco heritage.

Brendan Wong Design via Temple & Webster Journal

What was the architectural style of the apartment, and how did this inform your design choices?

The apartment is located in an immaculately restored 1940's Art Deco building in Sydney's eastern suburbs.

It's always a challenge to bring together a building with historical significance with a collection of artwork and furnishings both contemporary and antique. It's an enjoyable process to work through getting the right balance of old and new, subtle and dominant.

Creating a luxe look in a small space - Brendan Wong Design via Temple & Webster Journal

I wanted the envelope of the apartment to retain a crisp and confident presence, true to the era. Within that, more delicate relationships and dialogues are at play. The approach was to introduce some glamour layered with more subtle, refined and relaxing materials.

Brendan Wong Design via Temple & Webster Journal

Were there any design or aesthetic challenges you had to overcome in the living areas and bedroom?

With a relatively small space it was imperative everything in it has a level of detail - from the buttoned sofa to the carved armchairs and stingray and shagreen patterning. On closer inspection every piece delights even further. They can each stand on their own merit but together the diversity of forms and materials are rich and intriguing.

Brendan Wong Design via Temple & Webster Journal

Did your client's art collection dictate your colour palette, or did you source art to suit the space?

We commissioned artist Dor­ryce Rock for the work in liv­ing room to establish a visual anchor for the space, and its counterpoint was an existing work by Archibald prize-winning Judy Cassab.

In the study space the bold geometric forms of Tomorrow Morning by David Band add some vi­sual punch to the black grass­cloth walls.

The project also features works by Australian photographers Toby Burrows and Tracey Moffatt, sourced for the project.

Brendan Wong Design via Temple & Webster Journal

What is your advice on using dramatic dark colour, as you have done in the dining area? What is essential for making this work?

Dark colours work well in dining rooms to create a sense of drama both during the day and in the evening. I've used ebonised timber wall panelling and grasscloth wallpaper to maintain a sense of texture and opulence which can't be achieved by simply painting the walls black. It's essential to consider artwork carefully on dark walls as it becomes very prominent. Brass accents also add some sparkle and contrast to a dark backdrop.

Brendan Wong Design via Temple & Webster Journal

What is the key to achieving a luxurious feel, even in a relatively small space?

Simple colour palette: in this project the wall, floor and cabinetwork finishes are intentionally kept to a succinct black and white palette. I've then introduced lilac which is luxurious and, in smaller spaces, doesn't dominate.

Brendan Wong Design via Temple & Webster Journal

Accessories: there are many accents of gold in accessories, furniture detailing and artwork which keep the space sparkling and alive. A buying trip to LA brought back a vast collection of stunning accessories and sculptures, but my favourite item is the set of corner tables handmade with ebony timber and brass legs with a stingray skin top by R&Y Augousti Paris. Layering sophisticated accessories in a smaller space where you can see and approach them with ease is the perfect way to maintain a sense of luxury.

Visit the Brendan Wong Design website, find Brendan on Facebook or follow him on Instagram @brendanwongdesign

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