FORMER GLORY INC. resurrects historically and architecturally significant buildings. Managing director Dean Bialek worked with SJB's Jonathan Richards and Ciolino Constructions to join two period apartments to form his own family penthouse. See @formergloryinc.
What was the brief?
A Latin-inspired rejuvenation of the original art deco features with bold, geometric ceramics, warm timbers, raw brass detailing and custom terrazzo. References included the American Trade Hotel in Panama City; Hotel Parco dei Principi by Gio Ponti in Sorrento and Hôtel Saint-Marc in Paris by Dimore Studio.
How did you come to live in this apartment?
My partner Celina had owned and lived sporadically in the top floor, front unit since 2003. A year after we got together in 2014, and with a baby on the way, I purchased the back apartment with plans to amalgamate the two into a three-bedroom penthouse for the family.
How did you maximise the sense of space?
The main idea was to open up the front unit to the Bondi Beach views to become one open-plan living space, and use the back unit for private spaces, including bedrooms and bathrooms.
What were the challenges of the space and how did you resolve them?
Finding the simplest, cleanest way to join the two units by creating a connecting corridor, leaving the final product feeling like it had always existed as a single, seamless penthouse.
How would you describe the completed interior?
Light and layered, leafy and luxurious. An elegant meshing of our favourite Latin Art Deco and mid-20th Century influences, with a focus on the tiles, fans and foliage associated with the Amalfi coast, Miami and Havana.
What are some of your favourite design elements?
The arched, chunky, green terrazzo shower hob in the powder room; ; the curved grey and white terrazzo countertop and shelves either side of our Lacanche cooker; the Gio Ponti ‘Verde’ backgammon tiles arranged in ‘Ziggy Stardust’ format on the master ensuite floor; and the kids bath in green, Moroccan handmade tiles.
How do you use the space?
Lots of cooking, eating, listening to music and entertaining in the front; well-earned rest and relaxation in the back. And lots of time on the balcony admiring the Bondi sunsets!
“Art Deco, done just right. Here designers and architects share their modern take on the design elements that shaped the Roaring Twenties and beyond, and reveal how others can follow suit.
When you think of Art Deco, what comes to mind? Is it the flapper glamour of the 1920s, the bold geometric patterns, the lavish ornaments? Perhaps it’s a combination of all three. Wherever our contemporary perceptions take their cues – and we suspect The Great Gatsby has a lot to answer for – Art Deco was for a time, pervasive, and reflected a bold move away from the previous status quo. Almost all parts of life in the 20s and 30s, even into the 40s, were shaped in some way by the design movement. Above all else, Art Deco was a celebration of modern times and technology, an embrace of luxury after the austerity of World War I. Considering its rich and convoluted context then, how do we – almost 100 years later – understand Art Deco? We put this question to architects and interior designers, who have shared with us their contemporary interpretations of Art Deco interiors and 1920s furniture design.
High above the Bondi shoreline sits one of the most architecturally significant buildings in Sydney’s surviving Art Deco scene. Built in 1929, the unit block had lost its lustre of late. Dean Bialek, the managing director of Former Glory Inc., worked with SJB’s Jonathan Richards and Ciolino Constructions to bring the heritage building back to life – joining two apartments together to form his family penthouse. A great admirer of Art Deco, Dean’s goal was to restore and rejuvenate the character of the apartments. “We prioritized the retention and upgrading of important Deco features in the pre-renovation spaces, carefully salvaging original cornices, handmade timber architrave details and frosted glass light fittings,” Dean tells.
Creating spaces that feel like a natural fit for their modern context and location was also essential. “It’s Bondi Beach, a lively place to start with, and the Art Deco style is often characterised by a sense of joy,” Jonathan Richards of SJB explains. “We wanted these interiors to maintain that jubilance.” Vivid bathroom tiles – seen here in deep green and lacquered black – terrazzo shelving and timber floors in the form of chevron parquetry feel reminiscent of classic art deco interiors, yet still fresh for today...”