The attention to detail at Indigo Slam is extraordinary. It is innovative yet beautiful, almost poetic, moving all visual clutter and creating moments of magic at every turn. In addition to the ingenuity of the master project design, William was also intimately involved in every detail built into the home. When you take time to study every element of a home and think about every aspect of that space, the result is exquisite beauty and simplicity combined with perfect utility.
For a large home, it is exceptionally delicate, and Smart describes it as having quite a “femininity to it. It’s a home designed for a lady”. Even from the first entry, the name Indigo Slam is hidden within a sliding steel screen, only visible in the right light and at the right angle. The water feature outside displays a quote loosely taken from a Kate Bush song, then slightly altered by both William and Judith to suit the feel of the home.
You enter through an intricate door that weighs one tonne even with the delicate nature of the cross-bracing and gentle ebb and flow. The entrance was designed so that you feel the closeness of the small space juxtaposed against the vastness of the three-storey climb above you, a delightful synergy of confinement and space.
The handrails of the staircase are covered in white leather, attaching to the wall in the same ‘peel and flow’ design of the house exterior. There are no sharp corners or hidden spots of darkness; the light and shadow play replicates within every space. William purposely carried the ‘cutting, folding and sewing back together’ from the façade of the house into the smallest of detail. The disciplines of beauty and simplicity are present in the finishes of every surface, every piece of joinery. It is as much about what you don’t see as what you do. The overall effect makes a journey through the house feel like an artwork.
The smoke alarms, sensors, and lighting are all hidden from sight as these are the type of amenities that can instantly date a building, along with curtains which Judith openly dislikes. The home has shutters that operate with a hand-operated crank system. As per the brief, nothing in the house was to be electronic, William said this was perhaps the most challenging part of the design but one of the most innovative. Of the revolutionary design, William says, “typically, we linked six to nine of the shutters, and one handle would operate them all.” The handle was constructed by a lost-wax moulding system – an artisan process in itself.
The bathtub is handmade in New Zealand from beaten copper under Judith’s instructions. It is designed not to lose heat, and when standing in it, you can enjoy an unrivalled view of Central Park below. In the grand dining area is a table that seats 60 guests, cut from one single tree. At the time of its creation, a custom storage unit was built to house it, given its enormous scale.
Although William’s original architectural plan was developed in great detail, each artisan that came to the project added new elements of detail. He says they each bring on a unique view on the intricacies surrounding their craft, adding a further layer of design beauty.
Judith’s love of collecting started from a young age. Her first treasured item was a small bell she found in her homeland Zimbabwe, then Rhodesia. For this reason, each concrete pour of the house contains a little brass bell, and a copy of the book Indigo Slam is buried under the front door. The artworks inside the home were each hand chosen by Judith from around the world. She says of them, *”they will be here until the house crumbles… contemporary art does not have any value; we do not know how it may age.”
William Smart tells us Judith is a collector of things and has “a great eye,” she has many beautiful collections. They can be seen throughout the property in different mediums.
As the quote outside reads, “Look at the light, all the time it’s a changing. Look at the light, climbing up the aerial. Bright white coming alive, jumping off the aerial. All the time, it’s a changing. And the dreamers are waking.” William says, “I think that’s a bit like Judith; the dreamer waking.”
*Quote courtesy of Financial Times