Studio Prineas’ Fisherman’s House and its theatrical kitchen sets a backdrop for life, with utterly unique design details awarding it the top prize.
November 29th, 2023
The Gaggenau Kitchen of the Year competition is an bi-annual award for outstanding kitchen design. The design contest regognises and celebrates the best kitchens in new or renovated Australian residential and multi-residential properties, awarding those that display excellence in innovation, sustainability, design ethos and appliance integration.
The 2023 shortlist featured kitchens in some of Australia’s most impressive properties by the likes of Carr, Elenburg Fraser, B.E. Architecture and Robert Simeoni Architects. While each of these entries impressed the jury, it was NSW practice Studio Prineas that took home top honours, walking away with the Best of the Best award for its evocative parallel kitchen in Fisherman’s House.
Overlooking the Parramatta River, Fisherman’s House is a refurbished 18th century cottage set in the leafy Sydney suburb of Birchgrove, on Wangal Country. Challenging the typical expectations of a colonial cottage, the home is etched in drama, with a theatrical unfolding happening as one moves through the space.
Dropping down below the streetscape, the original home has been thoughtfully restored, with the footprint expanded via a new wing nestled in the sandstone cliff edge. Visitors enter the home through the new addition, via a concrete tower that peaks above the streetscape before descending down towards the water.
This staggered reveal is the first hint that this architectural approach is etched in drama, where layers of materiality and deep colour tones build onto each other before opening to a stunning waterfront vista.
“The exciting thing about moving through this house is the sense of drama and the unexpected,” says Eva-Marie Prineas, Principal of Studio Prineas. “When we’re working, we’re always thinking about layers and how we work with existing layers. Some we might keep, some we might retain, and then we’re adding new, the idea being that the new layer means that it has an extended life for another 100 years.”
In the kitchen, this new layer is wrapped in walnut timber veneer in the form of an open, parallel style kitchen that blends into the living space and the waterfront deck beyond. While sleek and beautiful, craftsmanship is the real hero, with precision cabinetry allowing for the kitchen’s amenities to be seamlessly tucked out of sight or kept on show without doors cluttering the space.
“The way the kitchen is designed is almost like a piece of furniture. That is just this beautiful backdrop for living… The simplicity of the kitchen is a really beautiful contrast to all the character within the cottage, and it has those special little moments, for example, where the appliance cupboard opens and reveals a characterful little window,” reflects Prineas.
Once again, the art of the reveal is paramount to the design of Fisherman’s Cottage, with a hidden original window juxtaposed by the reveal of the Gaggenau appliances, which inject modernity and performance into the revitalised space. Importantly, the appliances were not an afterthought to this design, but are woven into the very ethos of the home, echoing not only the visual cues of the kitchen but the desire to create spaces that are built to last.
It is this seamless design and commitment to longevity which makes this kitchen exceptional. Where the finished space, the materiality and the appliance specification all pay homage to the history of the home, while ensuring its preservation into the future.
The Gaggenau Kitchen of the Year Design Contest will return for 2024.
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