Darren Palmer is one of Australia's most prominent interior designers. While crafting the interiors for Mulberry, his expertise and keen eye mean every apartment has become a balance of function and sophistication.
We caught up with Darren to ask him about his work on Mulberry.
Why do you think more people are opting for an apartment lifestyle?
There are several reasons to embrace apartment living. Some people who have traditionally been living in a detached house with land find the appeal of not having to maintain a property and garden undeniable. Having the security of a building means that you can travel freely and be less concerned with your home whilst you're away.
Then there's the benefit of having a brand new home that has been created with the latest innovations in design and appliances included. In apartments, you can often achieve views and outlooks that you can't realise in a standard 1 or 2 storey home. Not to mention the fact that you get more internal living space for your money in most instances, compared to a house in the same area.
What do clients tend to desire most in interior design?
Clients always want something that is created for them, to suit their lifestyle and their needs. When creating an interior, you always start with function, the requirement for inclusions, what the occupants need to live well and how they want to feel in their home environment.
What design features work best to create a sophisticated apartment?
Modern inclusions and materials play a big part in creating a sophisticated look. Mostly though, sophistication is best represented by a coherent and considered interior colour and material scheme. A well resolved interior palette will feel pleasing to the occupant. So, good design, great detailing and a well thought out set of materials and inclusions will create the sophistication that we all desire in our homes, but some find it hard to achieve.
What kind of tone and mood have you gone for at Mulberry and why?
There are three schemes in Mulberry, all playing with contrast. There are two low contrast options, one is a muted light neutral palette, the other is a mid to dark grey palette. These two palettes are balanced and feature lots of consistency across the flooring, cabinet and benchtop colours and materials, reflecting popular and timeless interior schemes that are desirable and livable. The third palette is a high contrast palette of walnut and warm white. The walnut featured is very much influenced by interior and kitchen trends from Europe. It is possibly the more cutting edge of the three schemes but also features enough of the popular neutral palette to work with any home owner's furniture and decor desires.
'When creating an interior, you always start with function, the requirement for inclusions, what the occupants need to live well and how they want to feel in their home environment.'
Why have you chosen these materials for the design?
Everything used in the materials palette is chosen to create high impact, be durable and value for money. I wanted to create opportunities for interest through introducing textured elements like timber looks and concrete-like finishes. I have also included terrazzo, the latest trend in flooring sweeping the globe.
Canberra is infamous for being dry and cool. Does climate influence your choices in interior design?
Climate and geographic location does always influence the choices of an interior and Canberra is no exception. There are lots of natural finishes and materials that feel appropriate to the Australian landscape as well as being current, contemporary and leading-edge, reflective of Canberra's unique design culture.
What were your highest priorities and biggest considerations when working on Mulberry?
I wanted to create homes that felt fresh, contemporary, comfortable, inviting and provided every owner with the best experience for their new home or investment. I have chosen durable and long-lasting inclusions but have also been careful to provide a real connection to the Australian landscape through the use of timber and timber-look laminates. Each scheme features a very natural feeling whilst also focusing on usability, functionality and livability.
What inspires you the most in interior design?
Nature is my big inspiration and will continue to influence my designs. I love the colours, textures and materials of nature and very few schemes, whether colour or material palettes, work as well as those lifted directly from nature. My rule is that if you see it working in the natural environment, it will work in the built environment. I strive to provide a connection to nature in all my designs, and Mulberry is no exception.