Private house - Melbourne (Australia)

A metropolitan villa

A residential project in Melbourne puts a strong accent on open-air living
Laura Maggi
Year of completion

The owners wanted a city location, but a home that would reap maximum benefit from its specific setting and the wider spirit of the place. So they put the challenge to a firm of designers based in Melbourne, the cultural capital of Australia, also known as the “garden city” because of its vast area of parkland, whose weather is so variable that the locals often say you get “four seasons in one day”.
With a history dating back to the 19th Century, Melbourne’s urban fabric is woven from an extraordinary mix of styles, from the local architecture of the 1800s to the more international trends of today. This two-storey villa with garden and open-air swimming pool falls decisively into the latter category. The living quarters are on the ground floor and include a large relaxation area, which complements the single, open-plan kitchen-diner. The interior opens onto the garden via floor-to-ceiling glazed doors, and the living room extends into a covered outdoor space for open-air breakfasts and dining, complete with barbecue. Within the bounds of the open-air living space, there’s a swimming pool, for a health-giving daily dip, and a sun deck at water level, like an island or raft, for relaxing on. Access to the first floor, where the bedrooms are, is via an internal open staircase, screened off from the living area by vertical slats, and shielded by glass panels topped with handrails. The bedrooms overlook the garden, which is evocatively lit at night. It’s when the sun sets and the lights come on indoors that the architecture really reveals its finely judged interplay of solids and voids, that create such a harmony of solidity and transparency.
The rigorous interior design is the epitome of discreet elegance. Light-coloured walls form a backdrop for contemporary furnishings, and the generous seating in the living area and the welcomingly intimate oval dining table underscore the high priority given to comfort. The long counter facing the kitchen strikes a more informal note, and adds a welcome contrast between light and dark surfaces.
Melbourne-based Urban Edge Ceramics, the project’s specialist designers, who have a substantial portfolio of indoor and outdoor residential projects behind them, chose Xtreme by Cercom – billed as “the ceramic expression of concrete” – for the tiling. It’s used in two neutral colours in this villa – xmud and xsilver – both in size 60×120 cm. When you need clean styling and a rigorous texture to juxtapose with furnishing elements of distinctive character, Xtreme is the ideal solution both indoors and out.

Cercom Ceramiche, Xtreme
porcelain stoneware
60X120 cm
xmud, xsilver
Technical characteristics
Water absorpion (ISO 10545-3): E ≤ 0,1%
Chemical resistance (ISO 10545-13): GA-GLA
Stain resistance (ISO 10545-14): compliant
Frost resistance (ISO 10545-12): compliant
Modulus of rupture and breaking strength (ISO 10545-4): R ≥ 35 N/mm2
Slip resistance (DIN 51130): R10 - R11
Thermal shock resistance (ISO 10545-9): compliant
Crazing resistance (ISO 10545-11): compliant
Linear thermal expansion (ISO 10545-8): compliant
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