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When third-generation Canberran property developer Dan Bisa found himself the owner of a parcel of land in Griffith overlooking Manuka in 2019 he almost had to pinch himself.
"When I bought it at auction I just thought I was the luckiest guy in the room to be able to buy this beautiful block of land," said Mr Bisa, the managing director of Bisa Property, the business that began with his grandfather and father almost 50 years ago.
"It's just a one-off location. It ticked all the boxes that would allow us to build a high quality, design-driven development. It's bounded by trees, it has a park on one side, there's no through traffic so it's tranquil and quiet, it's 300 metres from Manuka, and then it has its elevation as well. It's a unique block of land."
The brief to the architects, the multiple award-winning Cox Architecture, was to create an apartment development that was "out of the ordinary" with a level of beautiful design and attention to detail that the premium site and location deserved.
Importantly, the apartments needed to maximise natural light, and offer larger than average living spaces.
The result is Illume, a boutique-style development comprising 63 apartments - including nine "Grand Residences" - that embrace light as a design element. Serendipitously, the address is Light Street.
'We are creating a building that I'm going to be proud to stand in front of and I think that will be the same for the people who live here. There is great emphasis on style and quality, and being sympathetic to the surroundings. We are really allowing this block of land to shine," said Mr Bisa.
"Having that light and room to live was a big part of the brief. There is a real lack of apartments that have light amenity these days. We wanted the apartments to have lots of glass, and for light to permeate through the whole building."
Illume features two distinct yet cohesive building forms that also add to its unique positioning in the market.
One is a contemporary six-storey building with a combination of one, two and three bedroom units, and Grand Residences. The other is a three-level building whose brick exterior finish is aimed at marrying with the nearby heritage buildings designed by Malcolm Moir and Heather Sutherland, two of Canberra's earliest and most acclaimed architects.
The three-storey building comprises only three Grand Residences, grand by name and nature. Each taking up an entire level, they cover more than 270 square metres, with 360 degree views, exclusive lift access, double lock up garages and private wine cellars.
They feature expansive and private entertaining areas and high-end features like stone benchtops, a walk-in butler's pantry, and under-tile heating in the ensuites.
"We have beautiful Moir and Sutherland architecture across the street and our goal was to celebrate that - there's a lot of character about this building. And by having a whole floor for each apartment it creates a unique offering for Canberra," said Mr Bisa.
Interiors at Illume are by award-winning Canberra based interior designer Sally Hieatt, known for her creativity and attention to detail. She's curated the finishes and fittings to create an ambience of "refined sophistication".
The light-filled interiors feature curved detailing echoing the buildings sculptural forms, and timber flooring in all living areas.
"With Illume there's been a real focus with these interiors including the detailing of the joinery - the joinery takes cues from the architecture - and on the quality and the selection of the finishes," Ms Hieatt said.
The outdoor spaces around Illume are receiving the same attention to detail providing peaceful, leafy areas to relax.
"It really has a lovely feeling, it's a place that's really private. When we've finished, these areas will be very tranquil, surrounded by trees and enhanced by the nearby park," Mr Bisa said.
"We already have families and downsizers who are buying and saying we'll use that space to hang out with our kids and grandkids. This is not a big development; it's a very private development."
Mr Bisa has a strong attachment to Canberra's inner south. He grew up 800 metres from Manuka and walked home every day from school through the shopping village.
"We've always lived around here, we know the area and we have a lot of emotional ties. It's always been a nice place just to be," he said.
Mr Bisa's father is now less involved in the company but is still a strong mentor for his son whose mission is to carry on the legacy of the business with its reputation for quality projects.
"I'm pretty lucky because my father and grandfather set a very high bar and they have always been known for quality buildings, integrity and really having pride in their work and I get to continue that. I have people coming to us who have bought five or six of our products and so they have no questions, they aren't worrying about the level of quality because they have that certainty.
"Legacy is something I really believe in. Coming from a family business that is three generations you value that."
Find out more about Illume by visiting the display suite at East Hotel, 69 Canberra Avenue, Kingston. It's open Saturday and Sunday from 10am to 4pm. Or you can head to the Illume website or call the sales team at Independent on 02 6209 5042.
This is sponsored content for Independent.