The Face is at the very heart of St Kilda’s beachside retail, hospitality and tourist precinct.
The building’s main façade is on the corner of Acland and Carlisle streets and it looks onto the tram interchange, O’Donnell Gardens, Luna Park, The Palais and Port Phillip Bay. St Kilda has a strong mixed personality that wholeheartedly embraces otherness and differences of humanity. For us, it is also a community of the surreal. So our façade pays tribute to Spanish surrealist artist Salvador Dali. The facial profile comes from Dali’s painting Sleep, which depicts a sleeping face with its features propped up on tiny crutches. On the north-east and north-west facades, there are pictures of drawers, inspired by the ones that open out of the bodies in Salvador Dali’s paintings The Anthropomorphic Cabinet (1936) and The Burning Giraffe (1937).
The foyer references the 1990s TV series Twin Peaks, created by David Lynch and Mark Frost, which is full of surrealism. We drew the red curtains, mirrors and black-and-white chevron floor pattern from a fictional Twin Peaks setting called the Red Room, which is inside the Black Lodge. (Incidentally, The Simpsons sends up the Red Room in the two-part episode “Who Shot Mr Burns?”)
The Face’s sustainability principles include low-energy lighting systems, natural or solar assistant cooling systems, high thermal-performance building materials and façade elements with climate control benefits. Thermal mass from the concrete structure helps minimise energy consumption.
The apartments are laid out and configured to achieve stunning views and plenty of natural light, particularly in the kitchens and living room areas. Recessed openings and a canopy on the building’s south-west provide sun shading. Lighting controls and generous bike storage are other environmental sustainability initiatives.