If there’s one thing that’s always in fashion in New Zealand, it’s layering. It’s a style habit born from necessity because of our changeable coastal climate; one that gives us the flexibility to add or subtract from our outfits depending on the turn of the wind or clouds. And perhaps it’s also an outworking of our love of the colour black — if you’re going to dress in monochrome, layering up contrasting textures or shades is the easiest way to add interest and depth to a look.
Textural layering is a concept that works brilliantly in interior design as well. It adds depth and interest to a space without necessarily introducing additional colours, and it can create the flexibility to change the space’s mood or function in an instant. Ice Stone Factory
One design company that specialises in layering and adding definition to architectural spaces in the most subtly elegant and effective ways is Rimadesio. Originally a glass manufacturer, the Italian company has become renowned worldwide for its graceful sliding panels, doors, room dividers, wardrobe systems and shelving units, as well as a complementary furniture collection.
Alan and Jeanne Bertenshaw, owners of Matisse International Furniture, first encountered the brand 15 years ago in Milan and were struck by the “amazing finishes” on the products. Glass, as produced by Rimadesio, is much more than just something to look through. Tempered or double-layered for soundproofing, scratch-resistance and safety, it comes in a wide selection of colours and textures, from completely transparent (also known as “vitrine”), to frosted, coloured and even impregnated with a fine aluminium mesh in a range of finishes.
This new, aluminium-impregnated product caught the eye of MAP Architects in Christchurch when it was designing a luxurious bachelor pad for its client, Richard Diver. Full-height sliders featuring a gold-tinted aluminium mesh were used as a moveable dividing wall between the kitchen and living space. Backlit from the kitchen, they glow like lanterns, adding a rich layer of texture to the glamorous space, and helping the apartment win a 2017 Interior Architecture Award from the New Zealand Institute of Architects.
The use of room dividers to add flexibility to spaces is a growing trend, says Alan. “People are becoming more interested in room dividers as versatility in living has become a bigger thing.” With the increasing popularity of luxury apartment living, room dividers offer the possibility of transforming spaces rapidly, closing off part of a living space for a temporary guest bedroom or study.
Matisse’s designers have created Rimadesio systems for several upcoming luxury apartment projects in Auckland, including sweeping cavity sliders for a double-size apartment in The International on Albert St, and wardrobe systems for the Ford Lofts in Parnell, designed by Nat Cheshire. Cheshire writes that the apartments are designed to have “the scale and quality of a home. We want elegance and generosity and privacy and an exquisite tension — between vintage brick, hand-oiled timbers, robust concrete and lacquered metal”.
It’s that sense of textural layering that Rimadesio plays into so well. The smoothness of the glass panels is complemented by the aluminium joinery, which also comes in a range of finishes — lacquered, brushed, powder-coated, anodised, and even finished with a thin veneer of wood. This choice of finishes and the ability to have everything “made to measure” is what appeals most to Matisse’s clients, says Jeanne. “With close to 70 colours to choose from, along with several options for finishings, they can create a truly unique look for their home.”
Another element with strong client appeal in an increasingly environmentally conscious age is that Rimadesio is a company that pairs luxury with a strong commitment to sustainability. Both of the key materials the company deals in — glass and aluminium — are fully recyclable, and as a company Rimadesio has bold sustainability commitments. Their production plants are solar-powered, and in 2011 the company reached its goal of zero annual carbon emissions — something to be proud of, considering this represents a saving of 1000 tonnes of CO2 emissions every year. All their packaging is recyclable, and they have a commitment to use non-hazardous materials, including non-polluting, water-based paints for their Ecolorsystem of glass colours.
The most popular wardrobe design is the Velaria, a minimalist, fine-lined aluminium-framed system featuring sliding glass doors. Like all Rimadesio systems, the sliding doors are top-hung, meaning their movement is silky-smooth. As a made-to-measure system, no matter how high your ceilings are, a full-height glass pane is always possible. “The doors and walk-in wardrobes are magnificent,” says Jeanne. “Nothing else comes close to them.” The modularity of the system also means that clients who are watching their budgets can put in a basic system at the start, and upgrade it (with, for example, leather-lined drawers, or a pull-down shirt rack) at a later date.
That sense of fineness is a key characteristic of Rimadesio’s design that extends to their furniture collection. In their Eos shelving system, the shelves seem to float off the walls, with no visible mounting elements or screws, and backlighting to add depth to the overall impression. This understated layering of textures — metal, glass, wood, even light — is how Rimadesio systems add enduring texture to a space without adding bulk. And that’s a lesson we can take to heart when dressing as well.
If you believe in investment dressing, the Cover Freestanding system from Rimadesio, designed by Italian architect Giuseppe Bavuso, is the ultimate tribute to your most beloved pieces.
The Cover Freestanding collection is a cabinet system of single glass pivot doors with aluminium framing, and glass side and back panels. It gives a 360 view and access to prized wardrobe pieces and objets d’art, displaying them as proudly as they would be in a store or museum exhibition.
The cabinetry system can also be used for more conventional art or design object displays, but we think that if you’ve gone to the trouble of collecting the perfect Celine coats, Tom Ford pumps and vintage Louis Vuitton luggage set, you don’t want to hide them away behind closed doors when you don’t happen to be wearing them.
The face of beauty is diversifying, but what about its DNA?
Luxury's year of reckoning, supermodel comebacks, nepo babies, Julia Fox and more.
These halloumi skewers hit all the right flavour notes.
A trove of water-ready pieces and sensual layers.
Plenty of ice in the blender is the key to this seasonal drink.
Including a crispy, golden spinach and feta spiral.
Light Emperador Marble Be inspired by the good things in life. Sign up now to receive emails from Viva, and you will be sent the latest news, profiles, videos, fashion shoots, competitions & more.