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Pandemic Creates Time of Change for Design

Change for Design

As we embrace the “new normal”, Cottee Parker is identifying and adapting to changing trends, particularly in the luxury apartment sector.

How we live has changed, and architects, interior designers and developers are shifting their thinking to meet those evolving needs.

Many people are taking advantage of more flexible work arrangements and making the move to coastal locations, such as Queensland’s Gold and Sunshine coasts.

This has meant many more buyers are owner-occupiers—buyers who intend to live in the apartment and who have a greater expectation for the development’s design than investors.

Developers are responding to the change in the market, with a growing trend toward customisation to attract sales. Depending on the developer and the unit price, buyers have the freedom to make minor changes to finishes or appliance brands, or completely re-plan spaces to meet their specific functional needs.

These buyers are knowledgeable about the quality of materials, space requirements, luxury brands and design trends. At the prices they are paying, there is an expectation that their homes are well-designed to support their lifestyle.

With an investor market, multi-residential design can be generic and “one-size-fits-most”. However, with a shift towards an owner-occupier market, Cottee Parker is working directly with the final residents of the building.

There is widespread acceptance from developers to allow purchaser variations, and this is having a direct impact on what we are providing in our buildings.

Change for Design

▲ Pool and recreation deck, Flow, Rainbow Bay Gold Coast. 

While every purchaser has their own functional requirements and personal style, some common trends in the luxury apartment sector include increased apartment sizes, higher quality of selections, a focus on wellness, integration of modern technology and the rise of working from home.

Another trend has been a shift toward “boutique” buildings that have just one or two dwellings per floor. Buyers want spacious floorplates, abundant natural light, wrap-around balconies and seamless indoor-outdoor living spaces which is perfect for the Queensland climate. In short, buyers are chasing a home in a great location that takes advantage of our beautiful natural surrounds.

In the past, the expectation for multi-residential developments was to provide a gym, pool, barbeque spaces and a private dining room. Now, the space given to shared amenities has increased exponentially.

Developers are responding to the resident’s requests for amenities that address wellness, social, work-from-home and location-specific lifestyle requirements.

With increasing levels of stress in current times, mental and physical health is a priority for many people.

As such, multi-residential developers are aware that discerning apartment purchasers are wanting spaces that improve health and wellness. Gyms now include the latest equipment, as well as newer trends like movement rooms for yoga, barre or pilates.

In terms of wellness spaces, developers are including bookable massage and treatment rooms, steam rooms, saunas, and magnesium ice baths.

Within apartments, laundry sizes have increased to provide space for rinsing and hanging activewear. For a more private wellness experience, steam showers and feature baths are an expectation in master ensuites.

Wellness is not only about providing spaces for exercise—mental health can be improved through well-considered interiors.

Biophilic design seeks to connect building occupants more closely to nature and has been scientifically proven to reduce stress—it is one of the reasons many workplaces today include a lot of indoor planting.

In the interiors of apartments, spaces are more organic in shape and form. Materials with natural patterns and sensory textures are selected. Warm and soft lighter colour palettes are preferred. Rooms are more spacious and connected, with floor to ceiling windows allowing as much natural light, views, and ventilation as possible. Abundant planting grows on every level of the building.

Change for Design

▲ Contemplation retreat, Nature by Cube, Cotton Tree Sunshine Coast. 

Buildings that incorporate extensive planting are also appealing to purchasers downsizing from suburban homes, as this inclusion of natural surrounds offers familiarity and a gentler transition to apartment living.

Biophilic design was at the heart of Cottee Parker’s concept for Nature by Cube at Maroochydore, and even inspired the project’s name.

The trends in luxury residential projects a few years ago was toward a darker, sexier, showier, more European feel. Purchasers were looking to entertain and impress.

However, buyers’ preferences have been overtaken by a softer design aesthetic, akin to resorts and spas—nurturing, relaxed and natural.

The home is now a refuge from the stresses of our challenging lives, as we seek to regain balance and a return to “our normal”. The shift towards a more “liveable” luxury design aligns perfectly within a coastal context.

One of the most prominent lifestyle changes has been the rise and acceptance of working from home.

The ability to work effectively from home has been rolled out to remarkable success, with most businesses offering this as the new norm. Having that home on the coast is no longer a distant dream; it is a realistic possibility.

This shift had led to greater provision of study spaces either within apartments or in a shared business lounge amenity. Within the apartment, consideration for the separation of multiple family members working and studying from home is important.

As well, developments are including additional shared amenities, such as video conferencing booths, meeting rooms, business lounges and workspaces.

Change for Design

▲ Penthouse study and cellar, Nature by Cube, Cotton Tree Sunshine Coast. 

As developers strive to attract purchasers and stand out from their competitors, the importance of well-considered and cohesive design is essential.

To keep up with the demand, developers race to make the most of the excellent market conditions. The project team is now expected to work collaboratively right from the start.

A wider variety of disciplines are consulted, including sales agents, marketing, 3D visualisers, engineering consultants, architects, interior designers, project managers, the developer and even builders.

There is also a benefit in retaining a consistent project team across multiple projects, aiming for a cohesive sales proposal and a faster project delivery. Buyer confidence is inspired by using a quality team of consultants with a proven track record in multi-residential project delivery.

Multi-residential design thinking is much like retail thinking; it is about selling a product. You need to know your customer, give them what they want and be flexible enough to change as their needs change. You need to provide a better value offer than your competition and you need to stand out and create desirability.

The project must have a cohesive and legible brand. It is imperative for the development to have one consistent narrative running through the name, the building form, the interior ambience, and specific shared amenities.

It is all about tailoring the design to the place and providing the most comprehensive setting for the resident’s lifestyle. There must be numerous “wow” moments that reinforce the narrative and create a sense of amazement and desire in the visualisation renders.

Flow is a multi-residential building on the southern Gold Coast, overlooking the ocean and world-class surf breaks. This development is a prime example of successful branding.

The project was named Australia’s fastest-selling beachfront apartment development last year.

The name, Flow, speaks to the site context. The building sits on the headland surrounded by water.

The architecture has a distinct simplicity of undulating expressed slabs, with wrap-around balconies that connect and immerse the residents in the exceptional natural surrounds.

Change for Design

▲ Surfer’s walking to Snapper Rocks, Flow, Rainbow Bay Gold Coast. 

While Australia was in lockdown, the evocative images and videos of the beautiful building, interiors and natural setting were splashed across social media channels. This enticed many prospective buyers to make contact, excited by the option to customise your space. An extremely limited amount of stock led to an amazingly fast sales track.

The gym, pool, barbeque, private dining and wine cellar spaces are wrapped in the liveable luxury aesthetic that permeates through the rest of the interiors.

However, it’s in the provision for surfers that this building stands out from its competitors. Flow has individual surf craft storage for each apartment, as well as a surf craft repair and waxing area and a wash down area at each entrance to keep sand out of the building.

An undeniable observation over the past year has been the integration and embrace of technology into everyday living.

As technologies improve and reduce in cost, we are seeing apartments with smart home systems to control lighting, blinds, security, temperature, and appliances.

With Bluetooth, everything can be operated remotely from your phone. Developments are using apps for booking amenities, notifications of parcel and mail delivery, community noticeboards for community news or events, and advising maintenance needs amongst other functions.

For rental or holiday letting, a smart building with embedded technology means that everything can be done remotely from viewing an apartment to signing the lease or checking in or out at any time of the day.

Technology improvements in Cottee Parker’s CAD platforms have been supporting the success of its design outcomes. Some programs include the use of Rhino and Grasshopper for complex geometry, as well as real-time rendering software such as Enscape.

As the building is being designed, we can review how it will perform climatically and adjust the façade design to minimise heat loads and increase natural ventilation. This impacts sales, as reduced energy costs are attractive to residents and can be proven.

We can also do real-time visualisation and “walk through” the spaces to see where an opportunity can be exploited, or an outcome improved. This is possible to do “live” with the entire project team online.

This has enabled us to work with developers and agents based on the coast. While we can collaborate externally, we are also collaborating internally across out multiple interstate offices to harness the expertise from all staff.

It also means that the project can move at a very quick pace as the design intent is immediately understood by all involved.

Change for Design

▲ Alegria Palm Beach, Gold Coast. 

Multi-residential design is in an exciting time of transition. Where previously designs were generic and large-scale, smaller developments allow for a more demographic-specific approach. This allows for projects to stand out from the competition, enriching the urban fabric with creativity and diversity.

As residents needs for work-from-home spaces is satisfied, other types of work and hobby spaces are incorporated into developments to respond to a particular target audience. These spaces include craft rooms, workshops, herb and fruit growing rooms and even music and art studios.

With work-from-home and video conferencing reducing the need for vehicle ownership, options such as ride sharing will become more commonplace. In addition, as electric cars become more affordable and attractive, provision for car charging will be essential.

The increase of pet ownership has been another growing target audience. Developments are beginning to consider the needs of our furry family members, both within the apartment design and within shared amenities.

Cottee Parker is a firm that values agility, and we work collaboratively to respond to our clients changing needs.

If the past year has taught us anything, it is that there is no “normal” and that the world is constantly changing.

We have the capacity to adapt, and in doing so, we can create a healthier, smarter and more inspiring life.

Change for Design

▲ Pool and recreation deck, Nature by Cube, Cotton Tree Sunshine Coast. 

Main image: Indoor-outdoor living, Alegria, Palm Beach, Qld.


Dee Passenger

Senior associate, manager interiors, Cottee Parker Interiors

Georgia Posar

Interior designer, Cottee Parker Interiors


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Southport, Gold Coast apartment development site sells for $6 million


Sales activity for high-density-zoned development sites in Southport had been relatively subdued compared to the rest of the Gold Coast market

A Southport, Gold Coast development site – once planned for a 47-level tower – has sold at auction for $6 million.

It was bought by an undisclosed Gold Coast investor.

The 2430sq m site is at 114 Scarborough St, on the corner of Hicks St.

The receivers listing was sold by Colliers International who had five bidders compete.

It fetched above price expectations.

“Sales activity for high-density-zoned development sites in Southport has been relatively subdued this year compared to the rest of the Gold Coast market,” agent Steven King said.

“While sites in southern beachside markets continue to attract record prices, this sale demonstrates that Southport has begun its development site rebound,” he told the local paper.

The vacant site is within Southport’s designated Priority Development Area.

It was reported that a NSW-based company and Chinese investors had previously planned a 47-level apartment/hotel tower.

The DA approval was for a 47 level tower comprising of a 225 bed hotel and 264 (1, 2 and 3 bed) apartments

The site had cost $7.65 million, The Gold Coast Bulletin reported.

The site borders the Gold Coast City Council’s recently proposed “Towers Of Power” government and court precinct, a proposed $300 million development.


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Mosaic Property Group lodge next Gold Coast apartment development after double Mermaid Beach sell-out

Mosaic Property

Mosaic Property boss Brook Monahan says the development will set a new benchmark of luxury living for an upmarket boutique building

The South East Queensland developer Mosaic Property Group are set for their next development on the Gold Coast.

It’s going to be their most boutique offering yet, with just nine whole floor apartments planned for the Burleigh Heads dress circle The Esplanade.

It will be located just up the road from their successful 47 apartment development Grace by Mosaic, which sold out in just a few months late last year.

The new apartments at 42 The Esplanade, dubbed The Heads in the submission to the Gold Coast City Council, will be designed by the architecture firm bureau^proberts and will replace the current brick apartment block built over five decades ago.

Mosaic Property boss Brook Monahan says the development will set a new benchmark of luxury living for an upmarket boutique building in Burleigh Heads.

“This is a genuinely world-class, one-of-a-kind address,” Monahan told Urban.

“We are pleased to have the opportunity to create another outstanding address in Burleigh Heads, following the success of our first Burleigh project, Grace by Mosaic, which sold out in a matter of months.

“Our primary goal with 42 The Esplanade is to make it the most desirable, exclusive, and in-demand place to live on the entire beachfront in Burleigh.

Monahan says the the design draws on the areas’ natural beauty.

“The composition boasts honest materiality and elegant form,” Monahan says. It is singular in its execution while remaining authentic within the local context.”

In the design statement, bureau^proberts say the architectural design has a strong focus on subtropical building form, with a lightweight and breathable façade, lush green landscaping that continues from the ground level up and around the building, and an organic floor plate that pays homage to the undulating Burleigh headland.

Mosaic Property

Source: Excerpt from Architectural Plans prepared by bureau^proberts. 

Mosaic are already fielding enquiry from their VIP, pre-launch access list.

The Heads will feature a ground level pool, dining and lounge area. The apartments start on the ground level, the first complete with a large 130 sqm terrace with outdoor kitchen and landscaping.

Each apartment above will have balconies over 35 sqm.

Mosaic double-down in areas where they’ve seen great success. They had the same idea in the exclusive Mermaid Beach area, further north on the Gold Coast

After seeing success at Bela, Mosaic bought a site a few doors down on Peerless Avenue and created Dawn, which secured 95 per cent of its sales within its first two weeks of its pre-release to their database.

Development overview:

9 storey built form;

• 9 x 3-bedroom dwelling units;

• Two (2) levels of basement car parking with 29 resident spaces and 3 visitor spaces;

• Ample on-site landscaping and deep planting areas sufficient to contain large shade trees and balance the built form elements;

• Generous communal open space on the ground level and large private balconies for each apartment oriented to the beach;

• Pedestrian access directly off The Esplanade frontage; • Vehicle access to First Avenue via the adjoining development site, 4 First Avenue;

• Highly articulated building envelope with large boundary setbacks and separation to maintain residential amenity and privacy;

• Subtropical architectural design focused on enhancing the character of Burleigh Heads

Design statement

The site at 42 The Esplanade gives new opportunity to acknowledge Burleigh’s beachfront appeal. The tower’s form is sensitive to its site and neighbourhood by responding to the existing Norfolk Pine trees, key aspect views and privacy requirements from its neighbours. The 9, single floor, vertically stacked coastal homes achieve stunning beachfront and headland views by opening the living areas out to the east, with the master bedroom placed prominently to give the residents an unrivalled northern aspect. The glazed envelope is protected down each side with horizontal batten screens which rhythmically move in and out as they rise up the building.

The slab edges move and fold around the building, reaching out to connect its inhabitants with the Esplanades’ parkland, then cutting in to open up views and angle breezes through the interior spaces. The movement of the floor plate is an homage to the undulating outcrops of the nearby headland.

Landscape is employed at the ground level to interact with the street and give space to the existing Norfolk Pine which has been previous been constrained on all edges. This allowance of space is replicated up the building with the southeast corners being cut back to give the tree its breathing space. Vegetation is continued up and around the building, creeping through the screens and with time, will drape and soften the building edges and contribute to the visual and micro-climatic coolth around the tower. As response to the beachfront climate, large outdoor living areas reduce the reliance on indoor conditioning. Breezes are mapped such that openings across and through the plan allow for effective cross ventilation of the interior


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Rare Gold Coast Development Site on Offer

Gold Coast

A masterplan development opportunity on the Gold Coast has become available through a joint marketing campaign with Colliers and CBRE.

The Seaview Avenue, Mermaid Beach property represents a 1.13ha development opportunity.

Colliers residential director Brendan Hogan said the site was “an unmatched opportunity to create a staged, mixed-use lifestyle precinct—with concept plans for 735 apartments across four towers”.

“Sites of this scale with wide-ranging potential are increasingly rare and we expect it will be highly sought after by residential and commercial developers alike,” he said.

With the serious lack of high-quality development opportunities south of Broadbeach, Seaview Avenue represented a fantastic opportunity for a developer to lock in their forward pipeline in one of the Gold Coasts most desirable suburbs, the agents said.

Gold Coas

“This property represents a fantastic opportunity for a developer to deliver a staged lifestyle precinct commensurate with James Street and Gasworks in Brisbane supported by heightened demand from people to live, eat work and play within their own neighbourhood,” CBRE Gold Coast managing director Mark Witheriff said.

“The block sits prominently at the entrance to the Pacific Fair Shopping Centre, features three street frontages and provides flexible planning provisions.

“The scarcity of the land available in Mermaid Beach presents developers with a remarkable opportunity to create a destination precinct in one of the Gold Coast’s premium suburbs.

“The property is within a 1km radius of the five major lifestyle and transport facilities in Broadbeach—The Star Casino, Pacific Fair Shopping Centre, The Oasis Shopping Centre, Gold Coast Convention Centre, and Broadbeach South G-Link Station.”

Colliers and CBRE will market the site via expressions of interest campaign that closes on September 1, 2021.


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