Thornton began with the developer standing on a prime north-facing riverfront block of land with spectacular panoramic views across Brisbane. The hitch? The block was already occupied by a lowrise ‘Queenslander’ – a protected heritage-listed home. After two years of lobbying, the council allowed for the Queenslander to be moved to the front boundary of the block and permission was given to build ‘an additional dwelling’ behind it.
This would have to be no ordinary residence. Liam Proberts of bureau^proberts was commissioned to design a residential tower that would breathtakingly cantilever over the existing heritage-listed home. Thornton would comprise just 13 full floor residences commanding $22,000 per sqm, over $6m each. It needed a bespoke and refined brand identity capable of commanding the attention of the small and unique audience of buyers prepared to pay for privilege of owning the very best of the best.
“You know what you’re doing, so get on with it” more or less sums up the brief.
JGL gave us the project overview and outlined a unique approach to adding value to each residence: by championing a unique creative collaboration between four true masters of their craft: Architect Liam Proberts, internationally renowned for his subtropical residential designs; Chef & Restaurateur Thierry Galichet, whose years of culinary magic would inform the design of Thornton’s kitchen and entertaining spaces; Gallerist & Curator Phillip Bacon AM, whose insight into displaying art to its true potential would shape each residence’s gallery space and Ralph Wilson whose infinitely collectible artwork would grace Thornton’s foyer.
When you’re spending $6m+, you want to know you’re getting value for money. In that bracket, there are quite a few options. But value isn’t just measured in attributes like an ‘unrepeatable position’, a north-facing residents’ recreation deck or the bespoke interior materials like Noceto Striato natural stone quarried in Greece and hand finished onsite or Herringbone oak floors. Often value is measured in prestige. Can I own something no one else can have, that everyone would like to have? With only 12 residences available, purchasers would be in a very exclusive group. The brand identity and every piece of collateral we designed would need to clearly elevate the project beyond the ordinary and far above all the other contenders in the market.
Brené Brown said, “Maybe stories are just data with a soul.” Design is much the same. There are mandatories that must be conveyed for a project like this. The art is in delivering them in a way that is both a journey and a joy. For Thornton we needed not just an identity and a brand, but a deep, rich back story, both as a luscious visual narrative and a compelling written river that would inform conversations between those in the know.
Thornton launched in November 2020 with ‘The Thornton Experience’, a bespoke display suite open by appointment only. In four months, the project had sold 8 of the 12 available residences, over-fulfilling the pre-commitment build obligation of 50%, and was sold out soon after. Construction commenced onsite in June 2022, with an end-of-year 2023 completion date. The project has been a resounding success.