Colour Awards reward the bold and beautiful

Colour Awards reward the bold and beautiful
A colourful cut-out creation inspired by Victorian terraces for a block of social housing units in Melbourne has taken out the Grand Prix title in the 2013 Dulux Colour Awards.

A colourful cut-out creation inspired by Victorian terraces for a block of social housing units in Melbourne has taken out the Grand Prix title in the 2013 Dulux Colour Awards.

The ‘Atherton Gardens HUB Development’ – co-designed by McCabe Architects and Bird de la Coeur Architects – nabbed the supreme award in the Australian-based colour awards for designers, architects and students last week in Melbourne.

“They took a drab building and made it into a designer building. I loved the different colours on the balconies. It’s a brilliant project,” said Denise L’Estrange-Corbet, creative director of WORLD and the New Zealand voice on the judging panel of four.

While eight creative colour schemes from New Zealand made the finalist cut – including the Manchester St ‘Gap Filler’ project in Christchurch, a boutique chocolate  shop interior, a KFC store in Lower Hutt that set the international standard for the corporation and a Wellington homeowner’s DIY colour scheme – none of these designs were selected as winners.

“Kiwi designers have to really think about what they are putting together, and realise the intense power that colour has over moods. Design and the power it has must never be underestimated. Colourists have to ensure that they are up with current trends, or go out and start their own.”

“Boundaries have to be pushed, and risks taken. We want to be challenged by the use of colour.  Play, mix, blend and clash - these are all things that we should experiment with when working with colour,” said L’Estrange-Corbet.

Situated on Brunswick Street, in the Melbourne suburb of Fitzroy, the Atherton Gardens HUB Development was a project to transform 152 social housing units.

Sitting within a heritage streetscape, the design was inspired by the neighbouring Victorian terraces. The ‘woven’ appearance of the brickwork pattern creates texture, combining with inlaid brick and exposed concrete to pay homage to the surrounding brick buildings.

Colour was vital to the design. The green ‘cut outs’ break the expanse and draw the eye along the building, and the brightly coloured seraphic glass balconies scattered along the concrete panels create counterpoints and a sense of individual identity within the design. It was also crowned as the winner of the Multi Residential Exterior category.

“Atherton Gardens HUB development had an exceptional colour scheme on the external façade of the balconies which created a strong contrast against the white external walls,” the judging panel said.

Across the finalists, L’Estrange-Corbet remarked that there was a strong trend toward bolder colour combinations. “Not the usual bold primary colours, but a lot of bright pastels that blended together beautifully.”

The other 2013 gold award winners:

Commercial Exterior: Wintergarden Façade by Studio 505


Described by the judges as “a butterfly-like paradise,” the colourful powder-coated metal art façade of the newly opened Wintergarden Shopping Centre in Brisbane was conceived as a study of biology, colour, geometry and layering. The 4,000m2 façade is patterned by a broad spectrum of colours from bright yellows to steely blues, which advance and recede as the light shifts.

L’Estrange-Corbet said: “This previously dull building has been made to look modern and exciting. From the inside, it almost looks like a stained glass. It was a very bold move, but a really worthwhile one.”


Commercial Interior: John Septimus Roe Anglican Community School (JSRACS) Campus, Western Australia by Brooking Design Architects


Judges were impressed with the layering and compositional colour used in this kindergarten space. Playful, peaceful and sophisticated, the pastels hues were used consistently without being overwhelming.

Said L’Estrange-Corbet: “Often children’s play areas are painted with primary colours, but with this project a range of bright and pastels are used to create a warm and calming space. It’s a great area for the imagination of children and shows them how to incorporate colour into their lives.”

Single Residential Interior: Queen St Residence by Edward Moore Projects Pty. Ltd.


With clever trims to reflect colour onto white-washed walls, playful pops of personality, and a stylised colour scheme to complement the sharp interior architecture, the Queen Street Residence easily won over the judging panel.

“I loved the bright colours, texture and design. This project encapsulated everything to do with interior design – and it wasn’t overdone. The kitchen bench top doubled as a staircase, which I thought was very clever,” said L’Estrange-Corbet.


Single Residential Exterior: Annandale House by CO-AP Architects


The alterations to this two-storey Victorian terrace house in Potts Point, Sydney, were subtle, cohesive with its sophisticated use of colour successfully engaging the exterior with its interior.

Combining heritage design with modern elements was seamlessly achieved with whites, reds reminiscent of raw steelwork primer, a series of pastels interspersed with brickwork, and a blue-black door. This unconventional colour combination earned credit from the judges, who noted that clever colour schemes can create a sense of cohesion between old and new.

Multi Residential Interior: 87 Chapel St by MGS Architects

For two four-storey apartment buildings which house 81 units, the “ingenious palette of colour” of 87 Chapel Street in St Kilda, Melbourne, earned the commendation of the judges for elevating the mundane existing design into an exciting and engaging interior space. 

Student: Backyard Shenanigans by Adrian Rivalland (RMIT)

This student project for the redevelopment of Silverton Primary, a school in the south-eastern Suburbs of Melbourne, impressed the judges with its use of colour, context and contrast to create a space that is community friendly.