Take a tour of Australia's most spectacular private residence, Indigo Slam

"The best house in Australia" is opening its doors to you

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Credit: Smart Design Studion

The Sydney suburb of Chippendale is enjoying an unparalleled cultural renaissance, bolstered by the relatively recent additions of the Central Park precinct and the Old Clare, as well as time honoured neighbourhood stalwarts (i.e. the truly iconic Lord Gladstone). Recently cementing the area's status as a hot bed of renewed cultural and architectural interest, quite literally, is Indigo Slam.

For the first time and as part of the tenth annual Sydney Architecture Festival, architect William Smart of Smart Design Studio will lead four guided tours of Indigo Slam, the newly completed four-storey Chippendale residence making waves throughout the international architecture and design industries.

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Credit: Sharin Rees and Smart Design Studio
Designed in 2008, completed earlier this year and named for a crime novel by its owner, Indigo Slam is the private residence of art collector and philanthropist Judith Nielson, owner of Chippendale's perennially brilliant White Rabbit Gallery. Built on the site of a former Simona warehouse, the residence has been described as "a piece of sculpture to be lived in" and was designed in response to a brief that it be built to last 100 years and be "the best house in Australia", if not the world.

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Credit: Sharin Rees and Smart Design Studio
Materials (steel, glass, marble, loose bricks and concrete) were selected for their wearing properties, and fittings were installed to operate mechanically rather than digitally, including the bathroom's oversized vertical timber blinds that open and retract using hanging chains instead of curtains (another of Nielson's requests, though perhaps the best request was that the house accommodate her 60 person dining table). The design is also exemplary in its use of environmentally sustainable energy, employing geothermal heating and cooling options, in addition to solar hot water and photovaltic cells on the roof.

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Credit: Sharin Rees and Smart Design Studio
The masterful use of light as the main decorative element, its modest grandeur and undulating concrete façade elevate Indigo Slam into an entirely new league within Australian domestic architecture, ensuring that these tours are ones not to be missed. The four intimate, ticketed tours will be offered on the last day of the festival, which coincides with World Architecture Day.

The Architecture Festival will also be headlined by a global address delivered on the same day by Indy Johar, the UK-based architect, co-founder of Architecture00 and director of WikiHouse - a project committed to designing and building socially-driven, sustainable, resource-efficient and cost effective dwellings. Other highlights include a guided architectural tour of Carriageworks and The Old Clare Hotel, followed by lunch at critically-acclaimed restaurant Automata, as well as weekend-long tours of the Chippendale precinct, architecture tours, conferences, forums and in-depth discussions with architects. 


The Sydney Architecture Festival runs from 30 September - 3 October 2016. You can find out more information here

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Credit: Sharin Rees and Smart Design Studio
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Credit: Sharin Rees and Smart Design Studio

Tile and cover image: Courtesy of Smart Design Studio