The young Sydney designer banishing beige | Kanebridge News
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The young Sydney designer banishing beige

Jewel-like colours add depth and personality to this architect-designed inner city apartment

By Robyn Willis
Fri, Jul 21, 2023 9:43amGrey Clock 4 min

T here are people who enjoy living in gallery-inspired, zen-like spaces in shades of antique white and linen finished with layers of soft grey and beige materials.

And then there’s Nic Kaiko.

The young interior designer burst onto the Sydney market more than a decade ago with a thirst for colour and a love of ‘dynamic eclecticism’, a style he describes as a mix of contemporary and timeless design. Since then, he has created his own signature style based on rich colour skilfully imbued with pattern, working across residential and hotel environments.

A crimson red velvet lounge from Arpège anchors the living space. Photo: Fiona Susanto

But despite his experience in hospitality and hotel interior design, when he had the opportunity to create his own space to call home in Sydney’s Waterloo, Kaiko paused.

“Working for myself, I knew I could be a little more flexible but it’s tricky being your own client,” he said. “You can’t just pick up things you like and hope they work together. There needs to be a rationale behind your choices. You can’t have too many ideas.”

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Kaiko had wanted to buy into the Casba building in Waterloo’s Danks Street precinct since it opened almost 10 years ago. A collaboration between architects BLP and SJB, and interior designers BKH, the building is defined by its access to two parallel streets, linked by a central courtyard with a reflection pool at its heart. At street level, it is host to a suite of high end retailers, including  the new Winnings Appliances showroom, now also home to Spence & Lyda and Rogerseller, in the heart of the popular food and art precinct.

“It has beautiful public spaces and it was really activated on the ground floor,” Kaiko says. “The architecture and build was really high quality.”

Apartments were well thought out, with careful consideration given to light, ventilation and the natural flow between spaces. After securing an apartment in the building, he set to work. Because the execution of the design and build was so well done, Kaiko says there was not a lot that needed to change with the floorplan.

“The layout is perfect,” he says. “The bedrooms face east and the two bathrooms and the kitchen are really well planned. In terms of adjustments, which is tricky in apartments, it wasn’t necessary.”

The apartment in inner Sydney has a leafy aspect and enjoys abundant natural light. Image: Fiona Susanto

Taking inspiration from the silver travertine floor tiles and drawing on his experience in hotel design, Kaiko opted to paint the walls in soft grey tones, separated by a thin black line at picture rail height.

“The stripe on the walls came from when I used to do hotel work,” he says. “The bedroom particularly feels like a hotel and the layout lends itself to having that hotel feel.” 

Floor-to-ceiling semi sheer curtains in the bedroom continue the sophisticated hotel vibe, borrowing an old design technique of extending the curtains beyond the window frame to make the room feel larger.

The foundation materials were already decidedly neutral when he bought the apartment, which Kaiko decided to work with, including the flooring.

“The floors are beautiful. The travertine is cross cut and they are laid in that chateau style with big and small pieces,” Kaiko says. “They were fit for purpose and they continue from the public spaces into the bedrooms and then onto the balcony. 

“We always try to make the existing work.” 

To bring some personality into living spaces, the apartment is punctuated by rich tones of cobalt, forest green and a deep crimson, including an Arpège sofa in a colour reminiscent of the 2023 Pantone Colour of the Year, Viva Magenta.

“Cobalt is my favourite colour and I wanted to make that work. In terms of the concept, it was really more about colour blocking and keeping the background palette pretty neutral,” Kaiko says.

An abstract artwork in gradient colour by Brisbane-based artist Andy Harwood plays a central role in the living space, providing depth to the room and drawing together the equally intense shades of cobalt and deep pink. 

Nic has used an artwork by Brisbane-based artist Andy Harwood as the focal point in his living room. Image: Fiona Susanto

A veined marble coffee table from Zuster provides a visual link between the stronger crimson and the quieter neutrals while a touch of rattan in the kitchen pendant lights and the Thonet dining chairs lighten the mood. 

Pinstriped black lines ensure the look is urbane and contemporary, without being too heavy.

For Kaiko, it’s not just a design statement. As all good interiors should, the apartment reveals the personality of its owner.

“This project gives people a good indication of my loves,” he says. “Some people think colour is not high end but some of the great designers across the world use colour.

“A lot of people are afraid of using it and have a tendency to think ‘If I do everything white, it will look more high end’ but it can look incredibly pedestrian.”

No chance of that happening here.



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Designing Dreams: David Charette’s fascinating Spaces for Children’s Adventures

David Charette has teamed up with CIRCU Magical Furniture to design spaces that capture the essence of childhood wonder.

Tue, May 21, 2024 4 min

This collaboration between David Charette, founder and principal of Britto Charette, and CIRCU Magical Furniture aims to stimulate the imaginations of children, encouraging them to invent their own tales of adventure. Drawing on his extensive travels, Charette believes that journeying through different cultures can spark creativity in young minds.

His latest venture uses a mix of luxury elements and magical themes, incorporating products from CIRCU, Covet House, and other vendors to create unique, enchanting children’s rooms. These spaces are designed to reflect the excitement and mystery of exploring new worlds.

The Sleeping are:

David Charette has transformed a Montreal residence into a magical sleeping area where time seems to pause, and adventures await. Known for its long, cold winters and short days, Montreal served as the perfect backdrop for Charette’s vision of a space that remains warm and bright throughout the year.

Central to the design is the concept of “light and bright,” brought to life using de Gournay‘s hand-painted wall coverings in fresh mint, decorated with flying butterflies. These elements beautifully complement the original shapes of the KOKET Nymph Wall Lamp and the organic curves of the CIRCU Tristen Bed.

Charette’s attachment to the Tristen Bed stems not only from its youthful appeal but also from its ergonomic design, which makes it easy for children to climb in and out of, enhancing both its functionality and charm.

The Bed:

Charette paired the modern lines of the bed with the unique design of the Boca do Lobo Wave Nightstand and the funky style of Delightfull’s Billy Table Lamp. By blending these contemporary pieces with the classic elements in the decor of this luxury kids’ room, Charette has crafted a unique space that breathes a natural breeze of inspiration into any child’s environment.

This combination not only adds aesthetic appeal but also stimulates the imagination, making the room a perfect sanctuary for creativity and dreams.

The seating area:

The room also includes a cozy seating area perfect for young readers. Centred around the CIRCU Dainty Armchair, this space is tailored for kids, with the chair’s delicate structure and elegant design enhancing the room’s charm. Its pink velvet upholstery adds a vibrant pop of color, enriching the room’s palette. To distinctly separate this reading corner from the rest of the sleeping area, Charette chose the Boca Do Lobo Gold Folding Screen from Covet House, which not only adds an element of privacy but also contributes a touch of sophistication to the space.

The Play and Study area:

David Charette aimed to create a space with an “Out of Africa” vibe to spark a child’s imagination and inspire a passion for lifelong adventures and travels. Drawing from fond memories of camping during his own childhood, Charette incorporated a Teepee Tent into the room’s design, allowing children to feel as they are camping in a forest right within their own bedroom.

This nature-inspired theme is beautifully complemented by the Fornasetti wall coverings from Cole & Son and the Filigree Cricket Wall Lamp, which are insect-shaped sconces by Boca do Lobo.

Adding to the ambiance, Charette notes, “The clouds on the ceiling further the idea of camping (in this case “glamping”) and dreaming, and the Circu Cloud Suspension lamps add to the dreamy camping vibe.”

To maintain this adventurous theme, Charette selected the CIRCU NODO Suspension Chair. It not only brings a hint of outdoor fun indoors with an elegant flair but also offers a comfy spot for kids to unwind and lose themselves in their favorite stories.

In his design, David Charette, of Britto Charette, focused on enhancing the sense of freedom and sparking children’s imaginations in their own space. He chose one of his favorite pieces from CIRCU, the Sky Desk, for its playful design and inspirational form. Shaped like an airplane, this desk not only becomes the central feature of playtime but also transforms homework into an exciting adventure. The unique design aims to captivate and motivate young minds, turning everyday tasks into a flight of imagination.

David Charette designed this luxury children’s room with the hope that it would inspire children to dream, play, and develop a deep respect for nature as they embark on their own adventures.

He crafted the room to be “transitional,” capable of evolving with a child from toddler years into adolescence. This design approach not only aims to create a lasting, imaginative space for children but also to show parents the value of investing in unique, high-quality pieces like those from Circu. These carefully chosen items stand out from mass-produced children’s designs, offering both aesthetic appeal and long-term utility.

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