Mirror Image by Smac Studio

  • Mirror Image is a light and materiality showpiece staged by Smac Studio’s principal architect Shona McElroy.

    This project, a two-storey duplex home in Dover Heights, Sydney, is the product of a longstanding designer-client relationship. The project marks the fourth time the pair of Sydney-based residential developers have commissioned Smac Studio architect Shona McElroy to oversee an interior renovation. This feature explores how Shona has cleverly manipulated light in the face of structural limitations while also experimenting with different and sometimes opposing materials.

    Mirror Image has a dual meaning. On the one hand, the name refers to the home’s build; being a duplex, it mirrors the home next to it, separated by a central dividing wall. On the other hand, the name refers to the innovative use of mirrors to reflect and redistribute light. “Due to sharing a wall, you knock out essentially an entire aspect of natural light,” Shona says. “Therefore, I felt it was important to maximise space and light with mirrors visually.” The kitchen cupboards are scored with rectangular mirrors that create the illusion of a larger space and cast light from the home’s north-facing windows back into the space.

    The brief called for a home that was “Hotelesque and ready to entertain”, inviting an unconventional yet striking blend of materials. Ice-blue marble sits against textured plaster walls, while burnished bronze sits against crimson velvet. A mat-black dining table by Kensaku Oshiro is paired with a gold pendant light by Paola Navone, while polished timber bar stools by Miyazaki rest upon dark oak floors by Tongue n Groove. “Materials are one of the most important elements in changing our experience of a space,” Shona adds.

    Mirror Image by Smac Studio

    The core material palette in Mirror Image features bronze, polished stone, Venetian plaster, and of course, the mirrors.

    Crowning the project is a tailored collection of artwork and artisanal pieces. The soft pinks and blues of Tasmanian artist Paul Snell’s ‘Bleed #202167’ (2021) form a calming colour composition with the white marble staircase. Other standout additions include a rose quartz sconce by Christopher Boots, an entire kitchen cabinet of vessels and bowls, and a commissioned piece by Sydney artist Anya Pesce.

    Mirror Image by Smac Studio is an exposé into the way light and materials can truly enhance our experience of a space.

    Mirror Image by Smac Studio

    Custom copper artwork by Anya Pesce.

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