European style inspires this Greg Natale designed Sydney home | Kanebridge News
Kanebridge News
Share Button

European style inspires this Greg Natale designed Sydney home

French flair and a little femininity inform this harbourside home by award winning designer Greg Natale

By Robyn Willis
Wed, Oct 26, 2022 11:17amGrey Clock 3 min

In design circles, curves are often considered a gesture towards femininity. For designer Greg Natale, however, they are so much more. Moving beyond sharp angles and straight lines is an expression of movement and energy, while introducing a sculptural element to interior spaces.

Curves are an unexpected find in this penthouse apartment on one of the piers at Sydney’s Walsh Bay that features in Natale’s latest book, The Layered Interior. Once an industrial site characterised by practical, elongated ‘fingers’ jutting into the harbour, the piers were restored and repurposed in the 1990s, with a select few being converted into residences enjoying exclusive views of the waterways.

More than 25 years on from the conversion, Natale says the owners of this residence wanted a sophisticated, hotel-like experience that made best use of the space while being unapologetically warm and curvaceous.

“They wanted something that felt super light, really modern and very European,” he says. “She was looking at France (for inspiration), but modern French.”

The first obvious issue was the placement of the staircase, which was sitting in the middle of the two-storey void. Natale moved it to the side, to allow for better planning of the living area and to soften the edges of the solid white balustrade so that the staircase almost vanishes against the wall.

The penthouse needed to accommodate the owners and their two sons, who were living at home while completing university. The lower ground would provide accommodation for the young adults, along with a study and bathroom, while the open plan living area would be the centrepiece. While the curves are evident in their sons’ rooms, oak joinery and an integrated bedhead lends a slightly more masculine feel to the spaces.

Entry is via a formal reception area, with a deliberately lower ceiling to increase the sense of drama as guests step over the marble threshold and into the double height living space.

“The marble threshold is there to create a sense of arrival,” he says. “We have played with marble portals a lot – it’s a recurring theme.”

The dining room and kitchen continue the curved theme and are finished in the same refined palette of white walls, carrara marble and oak chevron floors along with the smallest touch of brass. While the house is furnished in tones of gold, grey and soft pink – including a spectacular circular rug from Natale’s range for Designer Rugs in the living room – he says it’s a surprisingly flexible space.

“The space is so neutral, someone could come in with their own furniture and put their stamp on it,” Natale says.

Upstairs, the drama continues with a master bedroom suite incorporating an open plan ensuite. Natale admits a bath and double vanity without walls is not everyone’s cup of tea.

“You have the master suite with an open bathroom for that hotel look,” he says. “I am not a fan of those kinds of hotels but the owner wanted that big open space and it’s amazing the sense of space you get with open bathrooms.

“You can create more interesting spaces.”

Natale also played with the ceiling shapes – another recurring theme in his work – to gently create zones and direct flow in the space.

“If a clean ceiling works, that’s fine, but having a white, boring, plain ceiling is not a considered space,” he says. “You should really look at the ceiling like a fifth wall.”

Indeed, every small aspect of this home has been considered to create the simplicity and sophistication the clients were seeking. But making everything look this clean takes enormous effort – and skill. The building was completely stripped back and replanned.

“It’s a highly detailed apartment, even though it looks very simple,” Natale says. “There are small details, like a brass strip along the shadowline between the skirting and the rest of the wall. We want everything to be considered – including the aircon.”

Pictures: Anson Smart

The Layered Interior, $110 published by Rizzoli. Order a copy here

See more stories like this in the first edition of Kanebridge Quarterly, out now


Chris Dixon, a partner who led the charge, says he has a ‘very long-term horizon’

Americans now think they need at least $1.25 million for retirement, a 20% increase from a year ago, according to a survey by Northwestern Mutual

Related Stories
Italy, Land of Uncollected Garbage, Combines Running With Trash Pickup
By ERIC SYLVERS 04/10/2023
Jean Arnault Has New Goals for Louis Vuitton Watches. Profit Isn’t One of Them.
By NICK KOSTOV 03/10/2023
Love Patterns? Try This Design Trick to Pull Any Room Together
By KATE MORGAN 02/10/2023
Italy, Land of Uncollected Garbage, Combines Running With Trash Pickup

At the World Plogging Championship, contestants have lugged in tires, TVs and at least one Neapolitan coffee maker

Wed, Oct 4, 2023 4 min

GENOA, Italy—Renato Zanelli crossed the finish line with a rusty iron hanging from his neck while pulling 140 pounds of trash on an improvised sled fashioned from a slab of plastic waste.

Zanelli, a retired IT specialist, flashed a tired smile, but he suspected his garbage haul wouldn’t be enough to defend his title as world champion of plogging—a sport that combines running with trash collecting.

A rival had just finished the race with a chair around his neck and dragging three tires, a television and four sacks of trash. Another crossed the line with muscles bulging, towing a large refrigerator. But the strongest challenger was Manuel Jesus Ortega Garcia, a Spanish plumber who arrived at the finish pulling a fridge, a dishwasher, a propane gas tank, a fire extinguisher and a host of other odds and ends.

“The competition is intense this year,” said Zanelli. Now 71, he used his fitness and knack for finding trash to compete against athletes half his age. “I’m here to help the environment, but I also want to win.”

Italy, a land of beauty, is also a land of uncollected trash. The country struggles with chronic littering, inefficient garbage collection in many cities, and illegal dumping in the countryside of everything from washing machines to construction waste. Rome has become an emblem of Italy’s inability to fix its trash problem.

So it was fitting that at the recent World Plogging Championship more than 70 athletes from 16 countries tested their talents in this northern Italian city. During the six hours of the race, contestants collect points by racking up miles and vertical distance, and by carrying as much trash across the finish line as they can. Trash gets scored based on its weight and environmental impact. Batteries and electronic equipment earn the most points.

A mobile app ensures runners stay within the race’s permitted area, approximately 12 square miles. Athletes have to pass through checkpoints in the rugged, hilly park. They are issued gloves and four plastic bags to fill with garbage, and are also allowed to carry up to three bulky finds, such as tires or TVs.

Genoa, a gritty industrial port city in the country’s mountainous northwest, has a trash problem that gets worse the further one gets away from its relatively clean historic core. The park that hosted the plogging championship has long been plagued by garbage big and small.

“It’s ironic to have the World Plogging Championship in a country that’s not always as clean as it could be. But maybe it will help bring awareness and things will improve,” said Francesco Carcioffo, chief executive of Acea Pinerolese Industriale, an energy and recycling company that’s been involved in sponsoring and organizing the race since its first edition in 2021. All three world championships so far have been held in Italy.

Events that combine running and trash-collecting go back to at least 2010. The sport gained traction about seven years ago when a Swede, Erik Ahlström, coined the name plogging, a mashup of plocka upp, Swedish for “pick up,” and jogging.

“If you don’t have a catchy name you might as well not exist,” said Roberto Cavallo, an Italian environmental consultant and longtime plogger, who is on the world championship organizing committee together with Ahlström.

Saturday’s event brought together a mix of wiry trail runners and environmental activists, some of whom looked less like elite athletes.

“We like plogging because it makes us feel a little less guilty about the way things are going with the environment,” said Elena Canuto, 29, as she warmed up before the start. She came in first in the women’s ranking two years ago. “This year I’m taking it a bit easier because I’m three months pregnant.”

Around two-thirds of the contestants were Italians. The rest came from other European countries, as well as Japan, Argentina, Uruguay, Mexico, Algeria, Ghana and Senegal.

“I hope to win so people in Senegal get enthusiastic about plogging,” said Issa Ba, a 30-year-old Senegalese-born factory worker who has lived in Italy for eight years.

“Three, two, one, go,” Cavallo shouted over a loudspeaker, and the athletes sprinted off in different directions. Some stopped 20 yards from the starting line to collect their first trash. Others took off to be the first to exploit richer pickings on wooded hilltops, where batteries and home appliances lay waiting.

As the hours went by, the athletes crisscrossed trails and roads, their bags became heavier. They tagged their bulky items and left them at roadsides for later collection. Contestants gathered at refreshment points, discussing what they had found as they fueled up on cookies and juice. Some contestants had brought their own reusable cups.

With 30 minutes left in the race, athletes were gathering so much trash that the organisers decided to tweak the rules: in addition to their four plastic bags, contestants could carry six bulky objects over the finish line rather than three.

“I know it’s like changing the rules halfway through a game of Monopoly, but I know I can rely on your comprehension,” Cavallo announced over the PA as the athletes braced for their final push to the finish line.

The rule change meant some contestants could almost double the weight of their trash, but others smelled a rat.

“That’s fantastic that people found so much stuff, but it’s not really fair to change the rules at the last minute,” said Paul Waye, a Dutch plogging evangelist who had passed up on some bulky trash because of the three-item rule.

Senegal will have to wait at least a year to have a plogging champion. Two hours after the end of Saturday’s race, Ba still hadn’t arrived at the finish line.

“My phone ran out of battery and I got lost,” Ba said later at the awards ceremony. “I’ll be back next year, but with a better phone.”

The race went better for Canuto. She used an abandoned shopping cart to wheel in her loot. It included a baby stroller, which the mother-to-be took as a good omen. Her total haul weighed a relatively modest 100 pounds, but was heavy on electronic equipment, which was enough for her to score her second triumph.

“I don’t know if I’ll be back next year to defend my title. The baby will be six or seven months old,” she said.

In the men’s ranking, Ortega, the Spanish plumber, brought in 310 pounds of waste, racked up more than 16 miles and climbed 7,300 feet to run away with the title.

Zanelli, the defending champion, didn’t make it onto the podium. He said he would take solace from the nearly new Neapolitan coffee maker he found during the first championship two years ago. “I’ll always have my victory and the coffee maker, which I polished and now display in my home,” he said.

Contestants collected more than 6,600 pounds of trash. The haul included fridges, bikes, dozens of tires, baby seats, mattresses, lead pipes, stoves, chairs, TVs, 1980s-era boomboxes with cassettes still inside, motorcycle helmets, electric fans, traffic cones, air rifles, a toilet and a soccer goal.

“This park hasn’t been this clean since the 15 century,” said Genoa’s ambassador for sport, Roberto Giordano.


Chris Dixon, a partner who led the charge, says he has a ‘very long-term horizon’

Americans now think they need at least $1.25 million for retirement, a 20% increase from a year ago, according to a survey by Northwestern Mutual

Related Stories
Friday on my mind: The workers avoiding the CBD
Tougher Return-to-Office Policies Are No Remedy for Half-Empty Buildings
By PETER GRANT 04/10/2023
Levels of wealth continue to rise for Australians
    Your Cart
    Your cart is emptyReturn to Shop