Image above, The Harry Seidler mural at the Rose Seidler House, photo by Nicholas Watt. Written by Sharnie Shield.
Privately commissioned artworks have a long history in architecture and today we are seeing a fresh appetite for wall-work with a more personal touch.
The resultant work, Wrestling, has become an iconic wall-work, a Sydney art treasure, enjoyed by the thousands that pass by it daily. In its 40th year, Albers’ work remains sharply contemporary, a visual puzzle that heightens the sense of space and shows the artist’s legendary dexterity of mind. Seidler, who had previously designed and painted the outdoor mural for his Rose Seidler House, was one of those early adopters in Australian architecture, who showed us how art and architecture could combine. Almost half a century on, the combination of creative practices continues to delight as we invite artists into our homes to make their mark.
Never shy of painting new pictures in the world of residential architecture, Austin Maynard Architects has recently completed Alfred House in inner-city Melbourne, applying a contemporary brush to site-specific murals, with its central courtyard featuring a private commission by Adelaide-based artist Seb Humphreys. “I wanted to produce a painting that sat within the environment as a feature and also as something that would disappear once you were in the space,” says Humphreys, of a work that can hardly be ignored. He adds: “I feel there is a unique point where a mural can interact with a space just enough so that once you are settled in, it will seem like it has always been there and sets the mood of the environment.”
Describing the work, requested by the owners via a family connection, AMA director Mark Austin says, “The two-storey high custom mural can be viewed from almost every corner of the new addition.” The work adorns the rear of the existing terrace. Austin says it brings “a dynamic element, it serves to break down the scale of the rear wall of the old part of the house”.
Humphreys elaborates on this by saying, “The only request from the client was that the original red brick be left in some parts. The result of doing this is that the history of the wall is not lost and instead can be used as a source of inspiration with the textures, colours and ageing of the wall being incorporated into the painting. Fusing these aspects with the black and whites of the contemporary extension, the mural created a dynamic intersection between the old and the new.”
The residents of Alfred House aren’t alone in requesting the walls of their home be given over to the hands of an artist. South Australian interior and design studio Enoki recently commissioned artist Joel van Moore to create a striking art wall in the kitchen space of its Hindmarsh Residence. Undergoing a layered renovation, a shared zone was created – a central hub full of warmth, where the young family can cook and entertain. Susanna Bilardo, director and designer at Enoki, says: “Kitchens are often beautiful spaces, but from project to project they have a very similar feel and materiality. The artwork shifts the kitchen from its usual domain, injecting humour and freshness.”
Having applied his graphic work to buildings, furniture and a collection of rugs in collaboration with fellow street-artist, Beastman, van Moore is no stranger to the art of the interior. Working under the name Vans the Omega, he was commissioned for his trademark vibrant, geometric style “to create a wall art that was unique to the client, the project and location of the work,” Bilardo explains, adding, “The client loves Vans’ work. They wanted him to create a piece that was unique to them and one that would sit well within their family home.”