Set in a characterful mixed-use neighbourhood in Auckland's Ponsonby is 43 Brown Street, a boutique apartment development by Legacy Property. Clad in brick, with exposed concrete and steel interiors, the building references the heritage warehouses of the area. The design, by architect Conway Brooks, shows honesty and authenticity in its materials and scale, and in a style that nestles in beautifully with the area's eclectic built environment.
Exposed masonry and concrete construction provide a far higher sustainability rating than timber framing, thanks to the high thermal mass floors and walls. Not only functioning as excellent heat sinks, these materials also mean fewer trades on site, as the construction finish becomes the final finish after being polished and/or painted.
Apartment living spaces feature high studs, exposed steel beams, timber shuttering and services painted out in white for simple, light-filled interiors. Interior designer Sonya Cotter detailed all the built-in cabinetry and finishes in the bathrooms, kitchens and living areas. She chose PlyPlay to line living-room and bedroom walls in keeping with the architect's design concept. The pre-finished pine plywood allowed for a faster install time with fewer trades on site. Its blonded factory finish complements and softens the white walls with the warmth of timber.
"The great thing about plywood as a wall lining compared with a veneer is the timber pattern comes in a large format," says Cotter. "You don't have the stripes of a veneer. Instead, the ply has this big show of grain displayed right across the room to create a lot of movement and interest. Every sheet is different and it shows a lot of character and warmth."
The versatile PlyPlay softens the concrete in the space while still complementing its soft-industrial aesthetic. The neutral background allows each resident to style their interior according to their taste in furnishings and fabrics. Darker furniture and fittings provide a more sophisticated, city character, while introducing bright colours gives an interior a younger and livelier touch.
Photos: Bryce Carleton
Text: Andrea Stevens