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Going bespoke: the new trend to hit apartment living

With Australia’s apartment boom in full swing (building approvals for apartments currently out-number houses and make up 40 percent of new dwellings nationally), it makes sense that developers and architecture firms are turning their attention to bespoke apartment offerings for buyers.

The term “bespoke” is already a fixture in the vernacular of luxury home owners, but the stone has been reasonably unturned in apartment development — until now.

Enter new development Banksia at the Docklands, Melbourne. In a move away from the cookie-cutter options of light and dark, they’re offering four custom-designed interiors for buyers, ranging from a Scandinavian natural timber scheme to a masculine palette of dark stone and marble. These four finish and colour schemes can be applied to any of the 14 different apartment types, making the development some of the most bespoke interior offerings available.

“We wanted to take a more serious view of the different market segments and deliver exactly what they want — which is to personalise their space,” David Allt-Graham, general manager of residential at MAB Corporation, the development firm responsible for the build, says. “Our philosophy was that the apartment should conform to the person, much like a luxury home build, so if someone has a particular flair for artwork, we wanted to offer an interior scheme that complimented that.”

Architects at MCR designed the interior schemes as a direct response to the market’s move toward bare-bones and natural finishes, and a yearning for homes that reflect individuality.

“There’s a real disenchantment with man-made ‘fake’ finishes in favour of natural materials going on at the moment,” says Banksia architect Debbie-Lyn Ryan from MacBride Charles Ryan (MCR). To fit this brief, Ryan opted for natural Australian timbers throughout each of the four interior schemes on offer. She believes this also provides a sufficiently neutral backdrop for buyers.

As for the inspiration behind tackling four interior options across 14 types of apartments? Ryan worked tirelessly throughout the design planning process find strategies to make the schemes as different as possible within a replication process.

“Our firm as long bemoaned the fact that apartment towers are often more like accommodation for battery hens rather than for human beings with all their individual quirks and personalities.”

While she’d do it all again, Ryan doesn’t see this level of bespoke architecture becoming totally mainstream in the near future due to the extreme dedication and documentation and cost for architect, developers and builders.

Ryan says this kind of bespoke offering requires extreme dedication from the architect developer and builder, which most developers have previously shied away from.

Either way, we see it as a big, exciting step forward for new-build apartments, which it seems many of us will be calling home in the near future.

Article originally published on by Danielle Pinkus

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