Creativity was back with a bang at this year's Interior Design Excellence Awards as the winners ranged from the ultra-glamorous to the simply stylish.
The much sought-after designer of the year award went to SJB for its work on six different projects in Australia and overseas.
"SJB's balance of diversity and variety with consistency was an extraordinary achievement," says IDEA judge William Smart of Smart Design Studio.
On the home front, the use of colour continues to be popular with pink and electric blue the hot choices. Round shapes in the form of glass balls, and curved brackets, chairs and tables also appear frequently. It was a strong field of work from 533 entries for the awards, presented by Inside magazine and Niche Media.
"Some pursued glamorous projects and others used pared-back natural materials," Smart says.
Contrary to the usual trend of drawing on the countryside for inspiration, Jackalope Hotel focuses on its art collection. Smart says the hotel is an accomplished, sustainable project with good connections to the outdoors. The luxury hotel comprises a restored heritage cottage with a contemporary charred wood and metal-clad section. Inside, Carr uses dramatic colours and lighting to create an otherworldly experience.
Designer of the year SJB, a Sydney/Melbourne practice, had 12 shortlisted projects and four high commendations. The Cleveland rooftop apartment by SJB is centred on a private garden in the sky.
The apartment (highly commended residential single) is brought to life by several skylights and the living spaces are relaxed with views of the garden and Sydney.
A sumptuous refurbishment of a grand heritage home in eastern Sydney, also by SJB, was highly commended in the residential decoration section.
Elenberg Fraser's cosmopolitan apartments at the Foy & Gibson precinct in Melbourne's Collingwood won the multi-residential award. Inspired by the New York meat-packing district and the suburb's industrial heritage, the sophisticated interiors at 107 Cambridge comprise warehouse-style kitchens with brass tapware, grand bookshelves and aged timber floors.
At the other end of the scale was the highly commended, simple, sustainable Hill Plains cottage by Wolveridge architects. The long roof line and hardwood cladding of the one-bedroom guest cottage, about 100 kilometres from Melbourne, was inspired by old agricultural buildings nearby. The cottage has an eight-star rating and is off the grid.
The biggest surprise winner was the low-budget Murdoch University Peel campus project by CODA Studio, which competed against some big-name firms.
Other winners include: Biasol (emerging designer), Woods Bagot (sustainability), Andrew Burges Architects (residential single), Rob Backhouse of Hassell (gold medal), Arent & Pyke (residential decoration), Fiona Lynch (retail).