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Feb-2013

HOMEWORKS MAGAZINE – FEBRUARY 2013 ISSUE

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HOMEWORKS MAGAZINE – FEBRUARY 2013 ISSUE

Interior Designer Aldo Cutajar creates a warm, contemporary apartment
against the backdrop of old and beautiful Birgu.

modern-living-area-interior-design-malta.jpg
Interior Designer: Aldo Cutajar, Gemini Design Studios

 ARTICLE TEXT:

“Peter is meticulous.” “Peter is very tidy.” “Peter likes to be precise.” This is coming
from Peter’s friend and interior designer over a glass of red wine around the flawless
kitchen table. Peter the Perfectionist in question is Peter Gluckman, a Swede who has
just sold his business in Sweden and moved to Birgu. His fastidiousness derives from the
previous nature of his business – engineering – which was all about detail. “It’s just the
way I am,” he says, “if I don’t know about something, I’ll do my homework until I do
know it. I like things to be right.”
Peter’s location preference was always Birgu, and in particular St. Angelo Mansions
block, as a number of his friends live there. This, and of course the spacious layouts and
spectacular apartment views.
Peter, “I like this area very much. I’ve been coming and going for almost three years,
since most of my friends live here. It was natural for me to get an apartment here. This
apartment was originally owned by a friend of mine who rented it out, so the interiors
were all very standard. I wanted to gut it entirely and start with a blank canvas.”
Peter went about engaging an interior designer from Sweden and when he came across
the Gemini Design Studios website, he saw that Aldo Cutajar’s designs were similar to
his style.
Peter’s previous house in Sweden was a large one (over 400 square metres), full of bold
and modern furniture. Since relocating was an opportunity to create the exact space he
wanted, he began with a clean slate, bringing very little with him; the iconic Artichoke
Light by the famous Danish designer Poul Henningsen, a few paintings that he couldn’t
forego, and the renowned Swedish-made Hastens bed.
As pointed out, Peter was very specific about what he wanted; a neutral colour palette,
warmth, as much of the sea view as possible, an integration of technology, and a large,
open plan kitchen where visiting guests could mingle.
“I also wanted a personal style; not something you could buy in any furniture shop. I
wanted something original.”
Aldo, “To ensure that everything was accurate, we made bespoke furniture pieces for
the most part – in particular, the required made-to-measure pieces for the technology in
order to conceal wires and unsightly pieces.”
Peter, “When it came to colours, I knew I wanted different shades of grey and stainless
steel throughout. I wanted browns to break this up. I also wanted to combine all this with
sand colours. I don’t like yellow at all, which is rather un-Swedish of me. In fact, the roof
room was painted magnolia and I had to repaint it because I just couldn’t stand it. I like
the warm neutrals because they’re not boring, yet they can be used for so much as a
backdrop. The colours can come in through the art and accessories.”
The large kitchen was central due to Peter’s love of cooking and entertaining. Space
management was paramount, as well as abundant light.
“I was really most concerned with the kitchen from the beginning. Aldo had done the
rendering but it wasn’t real – I couldn’t see it. I wanted white, high gloss with stainless
steel features. The wine fridges were also very important to me. I was worried that
everything wouldn’t come together like I wanted them to. When things don’t make
sense to me, I can’t just let them go. For instance, we had designed an extraction fan,
which looked really cool on the drawing. However, when the guy started talking about
building it, I could see that it wasn’t going to work. There were if course a lot of bumps –
but Aldo was there to ensure that we got to them on time so that we could fix them.”
The solutions to opening up space and light were elements such as the strategic
reflective mirrors, as well as the sliding glass door to the balcony, which opens up
completely. Apart from the striking fireplaces, warmth is accentuated through the
lighting. Complexion-flattering halogen lights were used throughout, and a
concentration on accent lighting with dimmers offers a sensual effect.
The master bedroom is the epitome of comfort with its tremendously luxurious walk-in
wardrobe (which was converted from a bedroom) and soothing fireplace – a duplicate of
the one in the living room – underneath the wall clad television. What was previously the
entrance to the bedroom is now used as a box room, behind the television. The frosted
glass wall of the en suite bathroom also serves as a light box, creating a comforting
bedroom ambience. A separate toilet, which ensures privacy, is positioned behind the
television/fireplace wall and leads on to the box room.
Aldo, “The glass serves to diffuse the light easily into the bedroom so that there is even
light. The bedroom was very wide (there were previously wardrobes to one side), so the
frosted glass still offers the room volume, but it conceals the mess and keeps the room
appearing clutter-free.”
When asked what he would have done differently in twenty-twenty vision hindsight,
Peter has to think for quite a while before responding that he would have installed
underfloor heating throughout the apartment. The bathrooms are equipped with the
heating and Peter found that it was a great comfort. “Apart from that,” he says, “I
wouldn’t change anything. This apartment has turned out exactly as I wanted it and is
ideal for me at this point in time.”
Peter’s friend concludes, “Although Peter is meticulous, he likes comfort. A description
of him would be this apartment – a sanctuary with its music, flowers, candles, wine and
warmth against a perfectly finished backdrop.”

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