Project Overview

Officially ‘launched’ on April Fool’s Day 2021, Ø House is a never-seen-before "island home" that sits on Sydney's iconic harbour. It captured the attention of the public and the media with its beauty and brashness.

Ø House was a promotional idea we dreamed up to showcase the accumulated skills we’ve been developing as a creative agency. Beyond creating the most stunning architectural visualisations, we wanted to demonstrate our team’s other talents in brand storytelling, design and marketing in a way that would gain attention and highlight our creative thinking.


Third Aesthetic


Creative Director: Mark Hunter
Associate Director: Tim Bradford
Film and Animation Director: Ryan Coyoca
3D Modeller: Matthew Rich, Meghan Geldens, Martins Zeme
3D Visualisation: Evgenii Baisa, Reuben Davis
Design and Art Direction: Fong Yu
Designer: Fong Yu
Strategy and Copy: Paul Dunne
Website Development: Sneha Mishra
Production Manager: Vesna Vujic
PR: Popology, Future Story

Project Brief

Third Aesthetic has built an enviable reputation as one of Australia’s best architectural visualisation studios. But over the years, we had also built-up a pool of talent with capabilities that went beyond our original remit. Beyond visualisations, we had accumulated skills that ventured into branding design and marketing. In short, we knew we had more to offer our clients.

Our growth as a business had reached an impasse. Victims of our own success, we had been pigeon-holed as the ‘vis-guys’.

Our objective therefore was to demonstrate our fully-integrated skills across design, branding, marketing and visualisations.

We had to challenge our existing clients to think of us differently, and to see as a collaborating partner that could do more for them than merely visualise the properties they develop.

It was not something we could just talk about – it was something we had to prove. To prove these credentials we invented an imaginary project.

Project Innovation/Need

We conceived/named/branded and visualised Ø House – Sydney’s ultimate harbourside mansion – as an elaborate April Fool’s Day prank.

We designed a never-seen-before island home that rises up from Farm Cove between the Royal Botanic Gardens and the Opera House. We named it Ø House after the Danish word for ‘island’ in deference to the architectural heritage of its most renowned neighbour.

The Scandinavian theme was carried through in our innovative architectural design, along with all the marketing material and branding we created around it.

We then created an imaginative strategy to get people talking about the project. In the lead-up to April Fool’s Day, we leaked imagery of the project on social media to create a sense of mystery and fuel controversy. As questions began to be raised, we staged a fake protest against the proposal to generate further commentary. An online petition challenging the development was created, garnering hundreds of signatures in a matter of hours.

In recognition of our innovative, unusual and creative approach to what was essentially a credentials pitch, mainstream media got on board when Ø House was revealed as nothing more than an elaborate April Fool’s Day prank.
Channel 7, Yahoo and the Daily Mail joined other individuals and platforms in sharing the Ø House story.

We not only showcased our skills to a mass audience, but created a captivating case study we could take to our clients.

Design Challenge

Challenge 1 – Make Ø House

Given its prized ‘location’, Ø House needed to be a masterpiece of ethereal balance. We achieved this by creating a radial house form that nestles into Farm Cove. Minimalist, Scandinavian design added to a sense of sublime luxury. The rooftop landscape was inspired by the Botanic Gardens adjacent; the glass-bottomed, infinity swimming pool suspended above the portico echoing the surrounding harbour. The brand video captured the essence of the project and told an emotive story with a clear and uncluttered message. The brand itself was such a triumph, it has already been referenced by architects, designers, and cited by their clients.

Challenge 2 – Make it believable

We needed to walk a tightrope in order to provide enough detail to convince the world Ø House was real, without going far enough to expose the house.

Leaked sketches, watermarked design drafts, a password-encrypted website all added legitimacy. Contrived posts on social platforms and blogs, petitions, protests and photos of promotional material gave the project further credibility.


Objective: to demonstrate our fully-integrated skills across design, branding, marketing and visualisations.

The success in achieving our objective went beyond our expectations.

The whole of Australia was exposed to our ‘credentials play’ through online activity and mainstream media.

Our clients have all reacted positively to our innovative approach to self-promotion, with many already expressing interest in expanding our partnership with them. More broadly across the industry, architects and designers have admired the quality of the branding and visualisation of Ø House.

Longer-term we have built a novel, creative case study we can now share at every credentials pitch we enter into. Ironically, through the unexpected creation of a total hoax we’ve demonstrated our true credibility.

This award celebrates creative and innovative visual and audio corporate communications that place an emphasis on design values.  Consideration given to the technical, conceptual and aesthetic elements, viewer engagement and message delivery.
More Details