location: Lumière Penthouse – Melrose Estate, Johannesburg | architecture: AMA | interior design: D12 Interiors | photography: Malan Kotze

The decision to move from suburbia into an urban apartment is a global phenomenon. It is perfectly illustrated in this loft penthouse.

The sensory nature of this architectural space infuses sleekness with its soulful qualities of placemaking. This minimalist, ‘single’ space apartment is defined by crafted energy, through a romance with concrete, solid timber, clay brick, mirror planes, white walls and polished stone. As a free, open-plan space the loft drives this assemblage of an alternative way of living and exudes a distinctive warmth in its contrasted materiality and spatial sensibility.

Generated through a weaving of the curve, and flow of line, it resonates as tangible, fresh modernity conveying a sensitive complexity of design that synergises architecture and interior design. Here, the combined teams of AMA Architects and D12 Interiors authored a raw and relaxed interior.

The space is an integration of set pieces of artworks positioned in its limited walls as rhythmic planar panels – together with sites in the concrete soffit – as a unique stage set for a powerful personal collection. The space manifests a personally curated, minimalist and yet layered narrative of celebrated artworks by Stompie Selebi, Deborah Bell, William Kentridge, Joan Miro, Alexander Calder, James Coignard, Pancho Guedes and Adam Maserow.

The experience that pervades is one of an immersive, tactile field of textures, connected through the Highveld light that washes over these curated materials. The experience in this almost single space penthouse distinguishes itself in flowing lines that respond to the flared floor plans, which open up to vistas across the Rosebank and Melrose treetops. The light scoop leading to the rooftop is a space beyond that introduces the dramatic Highveld sky as an alternative.

Generous views to Rosebank, Sandton, Melrose, Parktown, Linksfield Ridge, Modderfontein, Hillbrow and Johannesburg offer the history of the City of Gold. Here, the soulful experience is embedded in an understanding of a part of the culture of Johannesburg, founded on hardnosed materiality of concrete, steel and brick – the language of modern architecture.

It displays the meaningful aspirations and sensitivities of the contemporary designer age that brings relief to the overwhelming stresses of urbanisation. The style is an ‘as found-but-chic’ palette, rooted in a creative and fulfilling lifestyle that celebrates the move from suburban to urban, from house to apartment living.

The apartment identifies with focused living in this entrepreneurial city, and in a free-flowing urban lifestyle that is filled with personality, as a bespoke loft. For the architects, it represents a journey that is an ongoing search for an urban interior design that responds to meaning and process. The repurposed use of new and old here allows for the affirmation of memory through its spatial intelligence, bespoke materials, retained furniture pieces and contemporary art.

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