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Greatest Hits 2023: A Rising Design Star Introduces Warmth and Familiarity to a Sweeping New Build in Melbourne

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Greatest Hits 2023: A Rising Design Star Introduces Warmth and Familiarity to a Sweeping New Build in Melbourne

December 25, 2023

“I was raised in Melbourne in a diverse migrant household, and an important part of my upbringing was listening to my family share stories and memories of Sri Lanka. I came to understand the religious iconography and antiques in our home as touchstones for my parents to recall memories.” Architect-designer Brahman (“Brem”) Perera is talking about the ways sentimentality informs and flows through his work: “I love honoring my clients’ personal narratives and featuring their most cherished pieces in ways that resonate.”

This assignment came to him as the house—half of a modernist double in Melbourne’s Victoria suburb—was still in the planning stages and he was tasked with designing and overseeing the build out. His client, a well-traveled woman who lives with her two adult daughters, wanted “to transplant their previous family home into their contemporary new quarters in an authentic and integrated way,” explains Brem. His background and varied career prepared him well for the job: after earning a masters in architecture from the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology, Brem worked in fashion and designed interiors, including at esteemed firms Hecker Guthrie and Fiona Lynch, before launching his own practice in 2020.

The house’s construction took place “during Melbourne’s crippling 18 months of Covid lockdowns: the execution was a daily back and forth between the builders, clients, and myself.” says Brem. His end goal was to “layer the rooms with warmth and a familiar touch. Each gesture lends intimacy to the civic scale of the architecture.” Let’s take a look.

Photographs by Lillie Thompson, courtesy of Brahman Perera (@brahmanperera).

the family lives in the right half of the double terrace house. brem says his c 12
Above: The family lives in the right half of the double terrace house. Brem says his client “was particularly drawn to the clean architectural lines of modernist architectural heavyweights like Mies van der Rohe.”
presided over nala, the family&#8\2\17;s golden retriever, the house is &am 13
Above: Presided over Nala, the family’s golden retriever, the house is “often a hive of activity with friends and family constantly arriving and departing,” says Brem.
the view from the entry is of a carved ironwood totem by the late indigenous au 14
Above: The view from the entry is of a carved ironwood totem by the late indigenous Australian artist Declan Apuatimi and a Brud Studia chair made of travertine, a material that surfaces throughout the house. The art on the walls came with the family, some of it, such as the large canvas on the right, passed down by previous generations.
the open plan living room has large steel framed windows and skylights. brem gr 15
Above: The open-plan living room has large steel-framed windows and skylights. Brem grounded the seating area with a burnt orange sisal rug and vegetable-dyed floor cushions by Valentina Hoyos, Sika Design’s Francisco Albini rattan ottoman, and Gubi’s 9602 Floor Lamp with its signature wicker shade. The low travertine-topped cabinet links the living area to the kitchen.
the kitchen&#8\2\17;s trio of moroccan wire lanterns were purchased by the  16
Above: The kitchen’s trio of Moroccan wire lanterns were purchased by the client on a long ago vacation and transported from her previous home. The island and backsplash are vein-cut travertine. “The greatest challenge was being faced with an unadorned architectural language that was to be a family home,” Brem tells us. “I sought to add a grounding and elemental tactility using travertine to create a striated landscape of natural tones from which complementary neutrals could be derived.”
out of architecture school, brem &#8\2\20;sidestepped into fashion design&a 17
Above: Out of architecture school, Brem “sidestepped into fashion design” and opened his own clothing boutique. Here, he wears silk pants by Melbourne designer Amy Lawrence: “Amy and I often collaborate on wild, fantastical pieces with her signature pleated detailing.” Brem was included in Est Living’s recent Esteemed 10, a list of the most “influential voices in the Australian architecture and design community in 2023.”
the family&#8\2\17;s ladder back chairs and rug from their previous dining  18
Above: The family’s ladder back chairs and rug from their previous dining room migrated here, where they work well with a modernist table.
a second sitting area has a built in banquet that faces the front garden.&# 19
Above: A second sitting area has a built-in banquet that faces the front garden.”The Arflex Marenco armchair adds plush comfort to the space and the Charlotte Perriand Potence Pivotante wall light draws inspiration from the steel-framed windows,” says Brem. Go to Kalon for the Stump Table.
the wide floor boards and treads on the steel framed stair are french oak from  20
Above: The wide floor boards and treads on the steel-framed stair are French oak from George Fethers in Melbourne.
a custom velvet headboard spans the width of the main bedroom, as &#8\2\20; 21
Above: A custom velvet headboard spans the width of the main bedroom, as “a backdrop to the bed and the antique bedside tables.” The compact lamp is vintage.
the main bath is finished in a travertine lookalike: neolith’s strata ar 22
Above: The main bath is finished in a travertine lookalike: Neolith’s Strata Argentum composed of sintered porcelain. The soaking tub is from Agape.
the roof terrace is framed by plantings and has \270 degree views of the melbou 23
Above: The roof terrace is framed by plantings and has 270-degree views of the Melbourne skyline. The Sika Design Rattan Ottoman is paired with a vintage chair.

N.B. This story originally ran on March 27, 2023, and has been updated.

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Product summary  

Greatest Hits 2023 A Rising Design Star Introduces Warmth and Familiarity to a Sweeping New Build in Melbourne portrait 4
Franco Albini & Franca Helg

Ottoman Small

€439.00 EUR from Sika Design

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