For the past 35 years, the Dulux Colour Awards have celebrated the best of Australian architecture, highlighting the role of colour in design. As the great modernists knew, colour has the power to transform architecture from the great to the sublime.
The 2021 winners are no exception – maybe it’s the times we live in, but the winners display a bravery and a confidence in colour that takes you aback. For years, white dominated, with pale shades used only as an accent. As the 2021 winners show, colour against colour is powerful – especially when layered with art, furniture and textiles.
Some highlights? We’ll start with the New Zealand Grand Prix Winner, the Central Hotel by Naumi in Queenstown, where designer Liv Macfarlane of Wānaka studio Undercurrent took a nondescript hotel building and layered colour after colour into the space. Completed with a confident array of furniture in jewel-like tones, it’s a riot of colour and texture that works beautifully. We’re looking forward to checking in.
By contrast, the Australian winner uses just one colour across the entire façade of a re-purposed warehouse. Architects SJB transformed a brick warehouse in Sydney with a new addition housing offices and a child-care centre, then united old and new with one colour, Dulux Grahams Beach.
In the residential interior category, our friends Kennedy Nolan, who are known for their comprehensive approach to architecture, were awarded for the Erskine House in Melbourne. Starting with a sophisticated but joyous palette of blues and greens, they paired this with timber and velvet in orange and mustard – a design for, as the judges noted, “playful adults and serious children”. Combined, the various elements of a character house now feel like a single expression.