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Royal Como presents a unique design opportunity

C&L International Holdings and MADA (Monash Art Design and Architecture) are uniting to anoint an emerging artist with a significant commission. C&L’s upcoming residential development, Royal Como located at 663 Chapel Street South Yarra will cater for the one-off art commission.

Rather than simply purchasing an artwork from a gallery, C&L will award the $10,000 commission to a rising star in the art world as deemed worthy by artist and MADA Head of Fine Art, Professor Callum Morton.

One of Australia’s leading and most revered fine artists, Callum Morton is known for blending the disciplines of fine art, architecture and built form, with important national and international works produced for the public space and private galleries. Some of his more recent works include Monument Park at NewQuay in collaboration with McBride Charles Ryan and Silverscreen at MUMA in collaboration with Kerstin Thompson Architects.

The Royal Como Art Commission is an important first commission as it provides an opportunity for an emerging artist to work and show in the public realm. This is a unique learning opportunity for a MADA graduate and we are very pleased that we can provide such significant and high profile opportunities for our students and alumni.

Callum Morton, MADA Head of Fine Art

With interiors for Royal Como devised by Nexus Designs, Creative Director Sonia Simpfendorfer joined Callum Morton and MADA Manager Fine Art, Ruth Bain on the judging panel. Jimmy Nuttall, Emily Yuting Cheng, David Egan, Andrea Eckersley, Alyra Bartasek, Lachlan Petras were selected as finalists, with the winner to be announced on October 8th.

Incorporating contemporary Australian art into the project was a fundamental element of the interior design and the layout of the interior spaces. A gallery look is what we presented in our very first design concept meeting.

That C&L have created an art prize and commission is a very exciting extension of that initial idea and takes it to a whole other level. Our concept statement for the main lobby included “entering the lobby of Royal Como is the experience of being invited in to the inner sanctum and private living room of the house of a fabulous, well-travelled art collector on a very grand scale.

Sonia Simpfendorfer, Creative Director, Nexus Designs
Finalist Alyra Bartasek at work in the studio.

Urban Melbourne sat down for a chat with Sonia to discuss the Royal Como Art Commission as well as Nexus Designs' work on the project. Essentially Royal Como's interiors have been designed to capture the essence of modern Australian living, with Nexus' design team drawing on their knowledge of the South Yarra / Melbourne lifestyle to deliver interiors that are smart, sophisticated and simple.

Nexus' design influence extends beyond the apartments to common areas, lift lobbies, the display suite and the integration of internal signage and wayfinding, presenting more as gallery spaces rather than the traditional designs associated with residential spaces. Artwork is often the starting point for an interior and is also a vital source of inspiration: Nexus authored a colour palette handbook about the Australian landscape, art and poetry called Using Australian Colour.

Ideals sourced from the handbook are reflected throughout the project.

Royal Como communal area. Courtesy Nexus Design.

The Gallery Series apartments located over levels 7-17 draw inspiration from nature, with the colours, textures and materials referencing the richness of the Australian landscape and exploring the contrast between natural and urban environments. As Sonia describes it, it's very much about the notion of "connecting to something real." It is a classic, neutral scheme that is accentuated by bursts of colour.

A collection of penthouses on levels 18 to 21 are known as The Collector Series and feature a blend of natural stone and timber to create areas with immediate impact. From the stainless steel European appliances to the sculptural Marc Newson basins and baths, residents are encouraged to live the art collector lifestyle within Royal Como.

The Gallery Series apartment interior. Courtesy Nexus Design.

The urban Gallery look and feel created by Nexus Designs for Royal Como provides a blank canvas for people to colour their world and curate their cherished objects and artworks within their interiors. The Royal Como Art Commission is a natural extension of the gallery inspired approach.

We believe it is a tremendous association for Royal Como to extend Nexus Designs interior art gallery concept into an art commission that will take pride of place in the Royal Como foyer.

Sonia Simpfendorfer, Creative Director, Nexus Designs (interiors)

Touching on her role on the The Royal Como Commission judging panel, Sonia said she was excited to see what the artists come up. Ultimately the chosen piece will take pride of place within the ground level foyer that measures approximately seven metres in length. The artwork will initially occupy a much smaller space within the Royal Como display suite, possibly acting as a 'teaser' to the final artwork.

Finalist Andrea Eckersley at work in the studio.
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