Inside Bondi’s tranquil hideaway Bismarck House

An urban oasis with cactus gardens

Industrial minimalism has been transplanted to the Australian coast at this architectural hideout in Sydney’s Bondi, which captures the ocean breeze and connects to cactus gardens.

Bismarck House was designed by architects Andrew Burges and Min Dark in collaboration with its landscape designer-owner William Dangar of Dangar Barin Smith. Given its owner’s occupation, the garden served as the starting point for the holiday home, which conjures a sense of serenity despite being built off a laneway.

Photography: Kylie McDowell

‘We wanted the relationship between inside and outside to be very fluid, both spatially and materially’, explains the architects. ‘Our concept for material choices and organisation of the site was to think of the ground floor level as a continuous garden: this was a strong motivator in framing how to design the site.’

Bismarck House unfolds as a series of simple geometric volumes that tumble onto cactus and succulent gardens via sliding walls and floor-to-ceiling glass. These apertures naturally ventilate the expansive three-bedroom holiday home.

‘The internal garden is a beautiful surprise when you enter the property from the urban laneway environment’, says Bismarck’s owner, William Dangar.

Photography: Kylie McDowell

This ‘surprise’ is echoed in the kitchen, where a timber and glass wall opens onto the laneway allowing guests to spill out onto the street and connect with passing locals.

Says the architects: ‘[We looked for creative ways] to find some bigger connection to place, be it more abstract, like views to the sky or connection with some other markers of the coastal geography – topography, landscape, materials, or in this case organise the project around the laneway.’

Photography: Kylie McDowell

Interiors of the Cityside sanctuary have been crafted by Design Daily’s editor David Harrison and architecture author Karen McCartney to evoke a sense of calm. Raw concrete juxtaposes exposed brick, and industrial elements are complemented by a minimalist curation of furniture and art.

Photography: Kylie McDowell

’The atmosphere comes from the original design intent of a garden room, a blurring of the threshold of inside and out and the mix of natural building materials. Into that context, we brought in textured surfaces – French seagrass chairs from the 1940s; a woven Tuareg rug from Morocco; pieces in linen, papercord, paper, ceramic and timber.’

Photography: Kylie McDowell

Upstairs, skylights channel light into the bedrooms while connecting to the sky. And a garden has been planted on a ledge outside the master suite’s window that helps shelter the room from the heat of direct sunlight while providing a visual connection to the garden.

Dangar is now welcoming guests to Bismarck House, which is available to rent via Airbnb from $1,200 per night. The Bondi retreat is a stone’s throw from Bondi and Tamarama Beaches, while Icebergs Dining Room and Bar and the ocean pool are a 10-minute stroll away.

Photography: Kylie McDowell
Photography: Kylie McDowell
Photography: Kylie McDowell
Photography: Kylie McDowell

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