Capella’s most recognisable design feature is the screen print of Lord Howe Island’s own Kentia palms designed by artist Bruce Goold and replicated in cool blues and soft greens, reflecting the tone of the island. Made famous by the popular ‘Mambo’ surf wear designs of the 1980’s, Bruce’s laid back island-themed works are transformed in soft furnishings, artworks, accessories and furniture and appear in surprising ways right throughout the guest suites and lounges at Capella Lodge.
Earlier this year, Australian film-maker Bill Leimbach contacted Capella Lodge for a documentary he was creating about Bruce Goold, with plans for the pair to travel back to Lord Howe – an island with a seemingly magnetic pull, and the source of inspiration for so much of Bruce’s work.
Within a matter of weeks, Bruce arrived at Capella Lodge some 13 years after his last visit to Lord Howe in 2002.
Bruce’s designs and furniture collections have been essential to the look and feel of Capella since Baillie Lodges relaunched the property in 2004 as a chic beach-house, where barefoot luxury was the vibe; a lodge that was relaxed yet sophisticated, understated.
As minor refreshments have been made in the ensuing seasons, and the addition of whole new suite types to accommodate guest demands, a wider range of Bruce’s works have added to the lodge’s sense of the free-spirit. Soft furnishings with screen print patterns of seagulls, shipping knots, shells and date palms throw to framed lino cuts of the extinct White Gallinule, Lord Howe himself, the SS Makambo, island bananas. Lighthouse lamps light the Lagoon Lofts and the ‘banana lounge throne’ lazes in the Capella Spa.
Created in 2009, the Makambo Loft is home to some of Bruce Goold’s most striking work, with furnishings in bold reds and blues, cheeky sea gulls and lino cuts of the ill-fated ship, all framed around a fire-engine red spiral staircase.
Bruce said he was delighted and moved to see his artwork and designs featuring so prominently in the lodge, with the towering mountains and the cool blue lagoon a perfect backdrop.
“I was delighted to see my prints and fabrics scattered about, Lord Howe imagery in the refined and subtly decorated ambiance,” Bruce said.
“I took a book over of photos of how it was then with sketches of proposed decorations including photos of Anibou cane chairs I’d suggested for the lounge, one of them now in a corner in the spa in front of the unusual palm lamp that I had completely forgotten about.
“There was a mass of timber foundry patterns around after the sale of Cockatoo Island naval dock yard, now they are rare and sought after. The propeller blade next to the fireplace looks stunning, it took nearly a week to strip off the paint and sand it back to reveal the laminated sassafras.”
The documentary will include interviews with those who have known Bruce in life and work, and feature places that have inspired his distinctive artwork. It’s set to be aired on ABC TV (Arts) and Capella will share any extended video edits provided right here on the blog. Take a look at the preview here.