This Penthouse is Equal Parts Gallery and Family Home

Architect Oliver du Puy has transformed this former furniture factory into a sophisticated, art-filled penthouse


In South Yarra, Melbourne, Oliver du Puy has transformed a former 19th-century furniture factory into an urban loft for an art-collecting couple who divide their time between Melbourne and Provence. The result is a light-filled and refined space masterfully created and curated around their fascinating art collection.

Showcasing the clients’ private art collection was key to the design brief, so du Puy and his team created refined spaces that give pride of place to works by artists including Sidney Nolan, Bill Henson and Tim Storrier, and family heirlooms like an 18th century Venetian vase. Given the prized pieces within, it was essential that the space be suitable for large-scale entertaining and viewing.  

The home boasts views of the neighbouring Royal Botanic Gardens as well as the city skyline beyond, and level changes that subtly differentiate the formal and informal spaces — all tied together with restrained colours and materials that emphasise the artworks on rotation. The design incorporates several elements from the original factory including a custom oak door, ceiling, beam structures and timber windows, and the grey tones of the Melbourne bluestone that surrounds the building are visible in the materials like oak, steel and concrete, which were selected for their textural tones. A selection of statement furniture and lighting rounds out the home, including pieces by Michael Anastassiades, Patricia Urquoila, Gae Aulenti and Piero Lissoni.

‘I am always interested in counter-balancing the visual and phenomenological delights of light and mass, ritual and intrigue, emotion and expression. The sculptural approach was all about stripping back the essence of the warehouse to its basic core, then trying to imbue it with a warmth, elegance, and a bit of intrigue. The art of living well and slowing down was of particular importance to the clients, particularly in our busy, digital age,’ du Puy explains.

Text / Babette Radclyffe-Thomas
Images / Tom Ross