Sculpture by the sea

A work-of-art residential project by Ziel Design brings a polished, minimalist aesthetic to the oceanside with bar beach park residences.

The brief was simple yet specific. Create two bespoke Bar Beach Park Residences apartments that pair contemporary city living with beachside tranquillity, and one must be a place of total refuge and relaxation for the owner’s young family. Newcastle’s Katie and Maarty Hollebrandse of specialist design studio Ziel Design knew exactly how to approach the execution, and created two striking semi-brutalist homes with warm, classically elegant interiors. “The design was very much shaped by the clients brief, but naturally we had our own take on how this manifested itself,” Katie Hollebrandse said. “We wanted to design a building that responded to its context and had a timeless enduring quality to it.”

We wanted to design a building that responded to its context and had a timeless enduring quality to it.


The two apartments are spread over three levels, with the top floor taking in views towards Bar Beach, and both apartments feature a private pool. Hollebrandse said the site and location were fundamental to the overall design. “The site geometry was difficult to work with, however it also presented opportunities to shape the design. Rather than having a facade that followed the Bar Beach boundary, we articulated the building form. Conceptually this reflected the stepping coastline, and functionally it maximised the opportunity to capture views toward Bar Beach and Empire Park.”

Given the apartments’ close proximity to the ocean, the resilience of the materials used was key. Off-form concrete and rendered masonry were chosen as the primary building materials, and commercialgrade window frames were used to avoid corrosion. “Reducing the material palette to masonry and glass was both a key driver for the aesthetic, but also to ensure the building stands the test of time,” Hollebrandse said.

 Outdoors for both apartments, the turquoise pools provide a place for relaxation and play, while also adding to the sophisticated atmosphere and ambiance. They’re located close to the residences, so water can be viewed from the internal living areas, and in the owner’s apartment an oceanic mood is created inside by the dancing light. “The reflections create a subtle play of light across the internal surfaces, with the pool essentially acting as a water feature within the apartment as well,” Hollebrandse says. 



For the interior of their apartment, the owners requested a space that felt open and light, and Ziel added a sense of luxury with carefully selected interior fixtures and fittings. In the kitchen, greyveined Super-white Dolomite benchtops are contrasted with almost-black Navurban joinery in Ravenswood by New Age Veneers. The two elements are neatly brought together with clean lines of a slimline, elongated pendant light by Articolo.

The beautifully subtle Super-white Dolomite is also used in the bathrooms, while polish is blended with a little fun in the powder room. “The powder room always presents an opportunity to be a bit more playful with selections and create a point of interest with visitors, so we used the striking River Jade marble subway tiles,” Hollebrandse said.


The living area features a stunning juxtaposition of colours and materials including a stark white fireplace, organic marble and off-form concrete, which is used for a dramatic double-height wall. Hollebrandse said the off-form concrete used throughout the home being revealed for the first time was one of the most memorable moments of the project. “So much work and planning goes into these elements, so when they’re executed to such perfection it’s both a relief and fulfilling. Overall, the whole process was such a positive experience for us and the owners. The end result is something we’re all very proud of.”

ARCHITECT & interior design | Ziel design
builder | Ledbury constructions
Structural Engineer | Lindsay Dynan
Joinery  | Nadin West Joinery 
Interior Styling  | Gatherstudio
PHOTOGRAPHY | Katie Wade studio
WORDS |  Tiffany Pilcher