Designing spaces is, for Calvin Huang, a passion that extends beyond profit margins.
With figures from Urbis’s 2018 March quarter report showing reduced local and foreign buyer activity and an increase in owner-occupier arrangements, a new generation of residential developers has emerged with a focus on designs that will hold both value and liveability.
Enter Calvin Huang, the Chief Executive Officer and force behind DCF Property. DCF is fast becoming known for creating spaces of high
quality, beauty and timelessness.
An avid art collector, Calvin’s development philosophy reflects his passion, combining the timeless elements of nature and fine art with high quality architectural, interior and landscape design.
“The fact that a person can spend eight hours per day in their residence and might live there for 10, 15 or 25 years makes it important
that they’re living somewhere with warmth and soul,” Calvin explains. “I want to create residences that are in themselves works of art
which can be passed on and remembered.”
DCF’s growing Victorian development footprint is heavily influenced by Calvin’s design philosophy, which is evident in his four existing projects.
The company’s first major project, INQU, is situated in the Victorian suburb of Kew and incorporates 36 spacious apartments and six retail outlets. INQU’s design was inspired by the interplay of opposites: creating a blurred line between indoor and outdoor entertaining spaces.
From the contemporary clean lines to the soft finishes and calming colour palette, these spaces present a neutral canvas to which residents bring their distinctive style.
Following the success of INQU, DCF developed Le Chloe, a residential project comprised of eight luxurious, three-story residences in West Melbourne. Featuring a faceted street façade, Bosch kitchens, private courtyards and lock-up garages, Le Chloe provides an oasis on the fringe of Melbourne’s CBD.
At its latest projects, the DCF team has focused on championing Australian artists as integral components of the design for two developments in North Balwyn.
The first of these projects, in the heart of North Balwyn village, is NoBa. Named for its suburb, the four-level apartment complex is modern and sculptural in design, with bold contrasts and natural materials.
In line with its philosophy of combining fine art with property design, DCF commissioned Stephen Ormandy, creative director at Dinosaur Designs Australia, to create a series of sculptures to reflect the form of the building.
“I’m playing with that sense of control where things line up and are purposeful,” notes Stephen. “However, I’m also using curves that reflect the natural world, and this project is a perfect example of creatives in different cities playing with the same set of principles.”
“What I’m looking for in the work I’ve been doing goes back to the play between architecture’s hard edge and strictness on the one hand, and the softness of the natural world on the other,” he continues. “Architecture is a wonderful inspiration for me. I’m inspired by the clean lines, the sense of space and the use of positive and negative spaces.”
For NoBa, DCF also partnered with DKO Architecture, an award-winning firm renowned for its focus on sustainable design, meticulous planning of living environments and the integration of internal and external living spaces. The development consists of one, two and three-bedroom apartments which showcase abundant light, open space
and quality design; hallmarks of DKO projects. Each balcony overlooks a lush, central garden, and there’s a rooftop terrace with barbeques, garden beds, a pergola and asymmetrically curved seating.
Just a short drive from NoBa is DCF’s latest development under construction, The Woods: a collection of seven townhouses each named for a native timber.
“Like all inspired artists, we approach the design phase of our projects with a sense of creative freedom combined with attention to detail,” explains Calvin. “The Woods continues that tradition.”
For The Woods, DCF has again commissioned DKO Architecture, along with Melbourne-based artist and sculptor, Amanda Dziedzic. Amanda created seven blown glass pieces, each with variations of tone and shade, to reflect each of the seven townhouses.
“The biggest influence in my work is nature,” says Amanda. “Plant life is fascinating and probably the most beautiful design out there.”
Lead architect, Kai Chua, explains that DKO’s first point of inspiration for The Woods was the site’s signature tree. “We wanted the architecture to have similar qualities: elemental, grand and timeless. That’s why our design is understated. There’s a strength in its simplicity of form.”
Boutique landscaping studio, Pollen, is taking care of the gardens, selecting exotic and indigenous species inspired by the traditional gardens of North Balwyn.
For Calvin and the team, the post-settlement experience is an integral part of any project. And one which is thoughtfully curated. To celebrate the impending settlement for residents of NoBa, DCF will host a settlement party at the Heide Museum of Modern Art.
“DCF delivers an experience that is carefully considered, including the post-settlement experience,” Calvin enthuses.
As for what the future holds? Once The Woods is completed, Calvin and the DCF team plan to continue supporting Victorian and Australian artists. But they haven’t ruled out collaborating with international talents, such as Los Angeles-based architects, Marwan Alsayed Inc
and Montreal-based artist, David Spriggs.
And while DCF will always look for ways to improve its offering for clients, Calvin’s commitment to the company’s philosophy is unwavering. “We’ll always keep the principle of being a sterling but untapped brand that focuses on quality for clients over investments,” he says. “At the end of the day, we’re here to create residences that people will love – that may even be passed on from generation to generation.”