About Habitusliving

 

Habitus is a movement for living in design. We’re an intelligent community of original thinkers in constant search of native uniqueness in our region.

 

From our base in Australia, we strive to capture the best edit, curating the stories behind the stories for authentic and expressive living.

 

Habitusliving.com explores the best residential architecture and design in Australia and Asia Pacific.

 

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Places
NOT HOMES

Stoneleigh Wines Pop Up

Trends are not something to be followed blindly, but often they do reveal something more than what is on the surface. Taking their cue from the world of fashion retail, temporary cultural venues are ‘popping up’ all over the place.

As social interaction becomes increasingly ‘online’ – divided into increasingly smaller bytes, from letters to emails, down to Facebook updates and twitter – so too are our offline gathering places becoming transient. Now the lifespan of venues are cut shorter and shorter as well.

As well as the cultural and social elements, there are some physical design considerations specific to the pop-up. Similar to exhibition, festival and pavilion design (think the races), there is a focus on producing re-usable and recyclable structures, eliminating waste often associated with temporary venues. Installations such as the Greenhouse by Joost Bakker (Melbourne, Perth) are a particularly good example of this.



If you were near Customs House in Sydney last week, you may also have noticed a large shipping container – although not actually recognisable as such – with hundreds of guests enjoying wines in an open-air bar.


The ‘mobile lounge’ for boutique New Zealand wine brand, Stoneleigh, is the creation of ‘fashion architects’ Kelvin Ho and Jeremy Bull – the pair having worked with a number of Australia’s most renowned fashion designers.



The architects had the challenging task of taking the shell of a shipping container and using it to represent Stoneleigh. For them, “It was a process of identifying the materials and ideas which communicated the idea of Stoneleigh most powerfully; landscape, sunlight, and perhaps a dash of nostalgia…and communicating them as succinctly as possible within a contained space,” Bull says.



Bull and Ho took inspiration from the ‘sun stones’ that are such a part of the Stoneleigh story – found on the winery site and inspiring the name. The bar itself uses the ‘gabion’ wall technique to literally fuse these stones into the design. The ‘fold out’ location also incorporates fine outdoor furniture and ‘plantscaping’.



“We worked from high level conceptual options through to the detailing of the final product – including structural engineering, interior finishes, external treatments, lighting, signage and bespoke furniture,” said Ho.



Design Hunters™ can see the Stoneleigh pop-up as it tours the country, visiting arts festivals and other high-profile events.

Stoneleigh Wines
stoneleigh.co.nz

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Accessories

Understated Elegance: Ben Bunda

Sophisticated design is often a study in simplicity and refinement, where attention to detail is key – a philosophy that both Rolls-Royce and luxury jewellery designer Ben Bunda subscribe to.

Last week saw the launch of Ghost, the first in a new Rolls-Royce model series, and Bunda was approached to design a one-off ring inspired by the new car.

Rolls-Royce’s built-to-order Ghost is a study in the power of simplicity. The car is smaller and more dynamic that previous models, yet the design still takes its cues from traditional Rolls-Royce features.

The greatest challenge for Bunda was designing a piece of jewellery that would complement the car without being over designed. After toying with the idea of directly appropriating features of the car into a complex design, Bunda looked to the feeling of being near a Rolls-Royce. “The car has a presence, a confidence and exceptional beauty,” says Bunda.

The result, says Bunda, is a ring “that reflects the impressive feel of the Ghost while maintaining an understated elegance”.

Taking his design cues from the classic Rolls-Royce grill form, Bunda has developed a ring that uses a subtle combination of diamonds and platinum and captures the essence of Rolls-Royce in its simplest form.


Bunda
(61 2) 9261 2210
bunda.com.au

Rolls-Royce
rolls-royce.com

 

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Design Hunters
People

Grace Tan's 'Anti-fashion'

Despite her beginnings in fashion design, Malaysian-born designer Grace Tan approaches her clothing and fabric works from an anti-fashion perspective and is influenced by facets of architecture, craft, mathematics and even Japanese confectionary with her 2007 sweets-inspired collection of French silk chiffon pieces titled, ‘Rakugan’.

Yet, it is not, as it sounds; an antithesis of fashion and its accompanying culture, but a willingness to stretch and blur the boundaries between fashion, fine art and architecture.

According to the designer, “fashion” is a system of trends, styles and looks, craft and commerce and its anti-fashion counterpart expands on this notion.

Tan says the idea of “anti-fashion” should be a vehicle for new discoveries while giving light to those things already in existence, and not as something rebelling against mainstream fashion.

“Anti-fashion is a tipping point, unexpected, undefined, dynamic and courageous,” she says.

After graduating from Singapore’s Temasek Polytechnic with a Diploma in Apparel Design and Merchandising and designing the women’s wear range for prestigious local fashion company Song & Kelly Tan started her own company Kwodrent in 2003.

“When I first started Kwodrent, I was pretty much running away from fashion and its associations,” Tan says.

“I was both challenged and frustrated at the state of fashion in my immediate environment at that time. It was a good thing (though) because it made me look for other fashion.”

Tan admits that it is the “other fashion” that then became her version of “anti-fashion” which, in an ironic twist, tends to hark back to traditional fashion.

Intrigued by the idea that clothing, like objects, structures and architecture are “layers” around the body; Tan investigated the idea of fashion as a value that can be transformed into other forms and functions rather than as a purely physical entity.

“I started to question the relationship of fashion with other things that surround us,” she says.

 “So far, I’ve managed to translate a dress into an audio composition and neckpieces into graphic landscapes using coordinates.

“The possibilities are endless and I'm only at the starting point.”



Kwodrent
kwodrent.com

contact@kwodrent.com

Photography: Derek Swalwell (portrait), Darren Soh

 

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Accessories

Scooter Love

The story of the motorised scooter seems steeped in practicality. You can tell a scooter from a motorbike by its ‘step-through’ architecture – meaning you can literally step through the scooter rather than straddle it like a bike.

The scooter has had around 100 years to implant itself into the psyche of European and Asian cultures, thriving in busy, crowded metropolises. Iconic scooter designs such as the Vespa can be found in countless films and has been a recognized part of popular culture since establishing themselves in the 40s and 50s.

The Vespa is still produced today (in Italy and elsewhere under license) and shipped throughout the world, as well as creating a following of restorers and collectors.

Although the scooter has long been a part of Asian daily life, in Australia it has taken a little longer to catch on in a mainstream sense.

However, the vintage collector and new scooter sales markets have boomed in the last ten years or so, with companies such as Gasoline Scooters offering everything from scooter sales to maintenance and even fashion accessories – it seems almost a cult-like obsession for some.

“Just about everyone wants to get on two wheels, it’s just the fact that they don’t know how,” says Gasoline Director Jason Leppa.

“Scooters have been a passion of mine since I was young. I love two-wheels and the way I feel when I’m riding.”

Jason puts the resurgence of these quirky modes of transport down to their “retro and classic look” as well as the obvious savings in maintenance and fuel. He explains that while motorbikes can offer more power, the scooter is more maneuverable, lighter, easier to park, cheaper to register, as well as being “good for short people and great for girls that want to get started on two wheels”.

“Motorcycles can be daunting so the Scooter becomes a friendly invitation to the two wheel way of life... You have to love scooters to own one and enjoy it."

Gasoline Australia offers links to other ‘scooter community’ links as well as news and info on their classic and modern designs.


Gasoline Australia
gasoline.com.au


Pictured above and below: the LML Modern Classic Scooter - Star 2

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NOT HOMES
Around The World

Limes Hotel

Brisbane’s Fortitude Valley is fast establishing itself as a design destination, with designers and design retailers setting up shop among the bars and cafés frequented at night.

Sprouting from the bustle of the Valley’s streets, the Limes Hotel becomes a haven for the design-inspired traveller. The striking amoeba-like façade of the building is echoed throughout the hotel, with the detail translating to everything from cupboard handles to Lime branded toiletries.

Limes also offers a unique open-air rooftop cinema and bar, where guests can enjoy a drink and a film under the Queensland night sky. During the day you can head out to see the best that Brisbane has to offer, before visiting the new designer bars popping up throughout the Valley, such as Cloudland, Laruche and the Lychee Lounge – to name a few. Alternatively, you can while away a few hours browsing the library of design books and magazines in the Limes Lobby, then head to the coffee shop or rooftop bar with friends.


Thanks to the touch of designer, Alexander Lotersztain, Limes is an intimate oasis of 21 contemporary guest rooms coupled with world-class hospitality – a tribute to owner/operator and Brisbane local Damian Griffiths. Lotersztain’s influence can be seen in everything from the furniture – by his design company, derlot – to the music and drinks lists, creating a unified aesthetic and personality throughout.

Limes Hotel is the only Australian hotel to make it into the prestigious Design Hotels publication and listings covering design-focussed hotels around the world.


Limes Hotel by Eight Hotels Australia
eighthotels.com

 

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Design Hunters
People

Gidon Bing: Built Environment 



Auckland-based Gidon Bing fuses elements of art and design to produce an aesthetically minimalist and textural range of free form sculptures, paintings and maquette design models.

Bing says his preclusion for “organic” materials and a fascination with wood; he has a preference for using plywood, is partly the product of growing up in rural New Zealand which he also attributes to his sense of colour and materiality.

“At the most basic level…my understanding of structure and form was greatly influenced by the New Zealand landscape as well as an exposure (to) and appreciation for Maori and pacific art forms,” he says.

It could be said that a childhood introduction to a diversity of cultures has been the catalyst for Bing’s personal creative evolution; his grandfather was Czech architect Henry Kulka, a student and protégé of Czech Avant Garde architect and polemicist Adolf Loos; his mother’s interests are in architecture and Japonisme, his art historian father collects primitive artifacts and at 16, the sculptor and artist spent six-months in the Israeli village of Ein Hod.

This early exposure to the ideas and sensibilities of the European Avant Garde and Modernist movements as well as New Zealand’s Modernist forerunners proved to be a significant formative influence for Bing.

“I have a great appreciation for many of the pioneers of New Zealand Modernism such as Gordon Walters and his geometric prints, Milan Mrkusich’s reductionist abstractions and Len Lye’s primitivist prints and kinetic sculpture,” Bing says.

It is this appreciation for modernism that appears to have a collective following in the form of avid collectors and consumers as the New Zealand sculptor and artist increasingly garners acclaim and opportunities.

In 2008 French champagne house Veuve Clicquot commissioned Bing to produce a range of outdoor sculptures for the New Zealand launch of their rosé; his architectural models were used as part of Resene Paint’s promotional campaign and collaboration with fashion designer Karen Walker while large-scale metal sculpture commissions and a children’s furniture range are also in the pipeline.

A profile of Bing can be found in the current Issue 05 of Habitus magazine.


Gidon Bing
gidonbing.com

Image above: Nick Bowers

 

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Design Hunters
People

Stewart Russell’s Spacecraft

Printing inspirational designs in his Melbourne studio, Stewart Russell has made a name for himself nostalgically experimenting with traditional techniques whilst seeking inspiration from contemporary art.

The Scottish textile-printing superstar has been a mainstay of Melbourne’s design scene since opening the Spacecraft studio back in 2000.

His Gertrude Street store, as much a space for exhibiting the variety of the products of the Spacecraft studio as a retail outlet, has become a design mecca for Melbournians. 

Breathing vibrant colours and fresh designs into his printed pieces, Russell’s unique products range from cubic furnishings to black and white bed linen featuring photographic motifs of classic terraces. 

The Spacecraft studio uses one print table covered with a ‘backing cloth’ for the sole purpose of experimenting with print development. Over time (and labour) the cloth accumulates the composite print images, which are subsequently mounted to become paintings. The layers-upon-layers of designs and colours make up the motifs – the ‘backing cloths’ capturing the energy of the Spacecraft style in a seemingly haphazard, but entirely harmonious fashion.

With the opening of his second store in Hawksburn, Russell has engaged his printing skills to design the interior. “It’s a very enjoyable part of opening a new store, creating the environment to show the artwork and products we make”.

Exploiting any opportunity to vent his inexhaustible creativity, Russell took an interactive approach for the November 12 store opening, making a collection of clothes for dressing up and turning the back room “into a kind of photography studio for the evening… inviting people to dress up and have their photograph taken, [each leaving] with a Polaroid of their new persona.”


Spacecraft Hawksburn 572 Malvern Rd, Prahran VIC 3181
Spacecraft Fitzroy 225 Gertrude St, Fitzroy VIC 3065


spacecraftaustralia.com

 

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Homes

Fiona Dunin South East Residence

Working on a small residential development in Lorne, Victoria, architect Fiona Dunin initially intended an expression of the site’s personality with her design.

But in doing so, she has in fact poured much of herself into the renovation as well, to a point where the home sat so well with her own needs and desires she decided to move in herself rather than sell.

The home combines its original Victorian features with Fiona’s contemporary touch, merging old and new. Fiona focused on the existing palm garden and hinged the new elements upon it.

“[The] aim was to highlight the garden from the entry, drawing you through the existing Victorian corridor through to the new spaces,” says Dunin.

The internal spaces marry to the existing Victorian shell, complimenting each other to create a language of light tanned wood panels on the roof and floor, and bold, white, open spaces.

The effect is a peaceful home, nestled in a lush green garden, clearly and intentionally visible from the inside of the house. Engrossed in the green surroundings, Fiona maintains the garden as the core feature of the property, continuously adding to it.

Happy with her creation, Fiona enjoys her small cosy home for its sense of openness and seamless connection to the colourful exterior – allowing it to feel much larger than it actually is. 

Fiona’s story is one that continues to be relayed to us at Habitus from people across The Region – people falling in love with space and environment and discovering quite a tangible pull to make home and to belong. This Lorne hideaway is Fiona's own tranquil space – a self-tailored dream.


FMD Architects
fmdarchitects.com.au


Photography: Shannon McGrath

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Homes

Sunshine Coast Farmhouse

In August 2007, Ark Atelier founder and architect Stephen Cameron acquired an old dairy grazing farm in Queensland’s Maleny, in the Sunshine Coast hinterland for renovation and a new way of life.

“Before that we'd been coming up this way for years on weekend holidays - the landscape is a spectacular combination of volcanic topography and subtropical forests, overlaid with the lush green expanses of post-colonial agriculture - and we wanted to make the experience of this high country a much more regular part of our lives.

“So, after years of searching we finally found ourselves the owners of this quite sublime property,” Cameron says.

He says originally there was no building other than a rotting shack but the beauty of the landscape had its own charms.

“What we really first loved about the property was simply its immense beauty. There is a previously cleared path that winds its way through the various micro-environments of the property, making it perfect for strolling around,” Cameron says.

Originally the Camerons had envisaged a project over a lengthy timescale but have since deviated from that out of a necessity to utilise the property immediately.

“It has proceeded very quickly and very directly more or less exactly to plan, that plan being to utilise a pre-existing and readily available construction technology (the ‘shed’) to make something that would allow us to pursue this living experiment straight away and at minimal cost,” Cameron says.

“By utilising the full volume rather than just the floor area of the steep-roofed vernacular shed form we've been able to make a living environment that, whilst being extremely compact, offers a sense of generosity coupled with layers of privacy - qualities that are ordinarily mutually exclusive in houses on this scale and budget.”

Various ‘greenovations’ have been incorporated into the design in support of Cameron’s ideas on sustainable architecture to keep everything “simple” and “robust” and include a simple, extruded gable form with long sides facing north and south to capture sun and scenery.

Other green inclusions such as walkways with translucent roofing also run the length of the house providing plenty of shade and protection from the heavy rain that falls in Maleny for a large portion of the year.

 “Roof overhangs have become very unfashionable of late, but they are infinitely (more) superior than the alternative of complex multiple-glazed windows with zero overhang, and not just from a sustainability point of view,” Cameron says.

“Zero overhang equates to zero transition between inside and outside, leaving nothing but an abstract sense of abrupt separation between where one is standing (whichever side of the glass that may be) and the contents of the view through the glass, which is always reduced to the status of a flat image rather than a fully corporeal, conjoined reality.”


Ark Atelier
ark.net.au

 

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NOT HOMES

Thailand's Floating Markets

In the past, daily commerce in Thailand was conducted mostly along rivers and canals, or 'Klongs' in the Thai language.

This busy water network served as the principal means of communication which earned Bangkok the moniker, "Venice of the East" courtesy of its early European visitors.

According to history, around 1866 King Rama IV ordered a 32-kilometre canal to be dug at Damnoen Saduak, 109 kilometres southwest of Bangkok, to connect the Mae Klong River with the Tacheen River, later becoming the site of the most renowned of the floating markets.

Today, Bangkok’s floating markets provide vibrant and bustling marketplaces that are open each day until noon.  The culture-rich market at Damnoen Saduak is considered a "must see" for visitors seeking to experience the age-old and traditional style of buying and selling fruits and vegetables.

Australian-based travel company Bunnik Tours’ Victoria Brett says every morning hundreds of boats crowd the market area with most of them paddled by women in straw hats who are ready to stop and bargain at a moment’s notice.

"The canals are filled with flat boats piled high with fresh produce as the region is famous for Malacca grapes, Chinese grapefruits, mangoes, bananas and coconuts," Brett says.

Visitors will also find locals selling freshly cooked noodles and a smorgasbord of souvenirs.

Brett says a boat trip through the colourful markets will give travelers a taste of everyday Thai life as they drift past traditional Thai houses built on stilts.

Bunnik Tours offers a 15-day small group tour to Thailand. Highlights of the tour include the Damnoen Saduak floating markets, Grand Palace and Golden and Emerald Buddhas, a visit to the Australia-funded Hellfire Pass Memorial Museum and Allied War Cemetery, explorations of world heritage listed ruins in the former capital city of Ayutthaya and sightseeing at Suthotkhai Historical Park.

Travellers will also have the opportunity to experience a working temple at Wat Mahathat, visit the Golden Triangle and hill tribes and enjoy a cruise on the Mekong River.


Bunnik Tours
bunniktours.com.au

 

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NOT HOMES

Singapore Design 2009



Since its release in 1982 the movie Blade Runner has inspired and influenced artists the world over and remains a classic cult film crossing several genres.

Held in conjunction with the Singapore Design Festival 2009, the November 25 to December 1 exhibition at Singapore’s The Substation Ltd brings together artists from a range of disciplines such as product design, interactive media, graphic design, photography and illustration.

The group will be creating a cross between a pop-up shop and an exhibition where all sorts of works inspired by the movie will be offered for sale.

Curator Steve Lawler says he hopes to broaden the spectrum of design which a larger demographic can relate to through the use of the famous cult film.

“By creating art and objects inspired by the film, we are hoping to broaden the appeal of what we do to a wider audience in a way which is perhaps more approachable than a fine art or high end design exhibition,” Lawler says.

“It also appeals to fans of the film who may not realise there is so much design within the film.”

Lawler says there is a considerable Asian influence in Blade Runner’s art direction reminiscent of cities including Hong Kong and Singapore.

“The film is widely known amongst the Singapore design community and beyond, however, it is still (provides) a chance to introduce the next wave of young designers and art students to the film in an attempt to inspire them as we have been inspired,” he says.

“Previously in Singapore it has only been big brands which impress the public, but now there is a lot more interest in the independent labels and local talent.

“So, designers who were working for big firms have decided to go it alone, or set up smaller boutique collectives and explore the creative landscape on their own,” Lawler says.

“This show is cross section of some of these artists who are doing their own thing and is a way of combining forces to make more noise.”

The exhibition will offer something for everybody and showcase the talents of a new wave of underground and emerging artists while sound designers will create tracks specifically for the event.

“There will be paintings, customised sneakers, t-shirts, origami, sunglasses and digital imagery all inspired by the film,” Lawler says.


Mojoko
mojoko.net

The Substation
substation.org



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Fixed & Fitted
Accessories

All in the detail – InnoTech DesignSide

The kitchen is a place that should look good and ultimately, work well to make our time in the space more enjoyable. A beautiful space is nice, but in today’s living spaces, clever storage, ease of use and functionality are key.

Hettich’s InnoTech drawers provide clever solutions and good looks, and can also be personally customised to your specifications – within the drawer itself, on the front panel and now also along the side panels.

The beauty of the InnoTech system is the countless ways in which the elements can be mixed and matched. Various finishes, sizes, accents and accessories are available for you to totally personalise your kitchen and living spaces – all whilst maintaining the functional elements that make them a pleasure to work in.

A new addition to the InnoTech drawer accessories range is the DesignSide panels, which are an alternative to more utilitarian-style railings. These panels can be clear – to enable ease of viewing – or can also be customised with any material (with a 6-millimetre thickness) to express your individuality, style and taste.

From glass and stone to acrylics and timbers – plus everything in between – the possibilities with DesignSides are endless. DesignSide is exclusive to Hettich and is a new and unique way to reflect your design flair – whether it leans towards modern, traditional, luxurious or organic.

Internally, organisation is a most desired quality in a drawer and DesignSide works beautifully with Hettich’s huge range of variable storage and divider elements. The dividers, jars, separators and other accessories are specifically designed to store, organise and secure items within the drawer, while also maximising space efficiency in this area of prime real estate within the home.

InnoTech has the largest range of finishes, accessories and storage options on the market, so see the amazing range today by visiting the Hettich website or downloading the catalogue here.

 

Hettich
hettich.com.au

 

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