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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The Miele Guide is an annual publication dedicated to celebrating and recognising the finest restaurants and chefs in Asia.

Besides showcasing excellent restaurants around the region, the guide ranks Asia’s Top 20 dining establishments and the Top 5 restaurants in each country. It also provides chapters featuring insiders’ perspectives of each country’s dining scene. 

The Guide is published by Ate Media Pte Ltd, a Singapore-based media consultancy and publishing company founded by Aun Koh and Tan Su-Lyn, the homeowners of the house at Cambridge Road featured in Habitus 07.

“We wanted to start the Guide because for the longest time, Asia had no credible system for evaluating and ranking restaurants that our region’s chefs and restaurateurs could be proud of”, says Aun.

The current 2009/2010 edition features 450 restaurants, 130 more than the first edition and spans 16 countries across Asia.

What makes The Guide stand out is its distinctly Asian focus, and what lends it credibility is its independence.

The Guide does not accept any advertising, sponsorship or free meals from any of the restaurants reviewed. Even the naming sponsor Miele, does not exert any influence over the selection and judging process.

Restaurants are selected and ranked based on an impartial and thorough process which takes into account the opinions of the region’s most respected restaurant critics and food writers, votes from the general public and an invited jury panel, as well as anonymous tasting conducted by the guide’s contributing editors and editorial team.

In 2009, 19,000 people from around the world cast 98,000 public votes. The Guide is now into its third year and voting for the 2010/2011 edition opened on 10 March 2010. 

With a recently launched mobile version for iPhones, an upcoming version for Blackberry, a potential TV show and culinary festivals and conferences built around it, The Guide looks set to become more than just a dining guide, one that Asians advocate and international travellers follow.

The 2010/2011 edition of The Miele Guide will be launched in October 2010 and is available at all major bookstores across Asia.


The Miele Guide



Heat Beads Hawkers’ Market

Just as its name implies, the Heat Beads® Hawkers’ Market was one of the hottest - and tastiest - places to be during the Melbourne Food and Wine Festival (MFWF).

Held over just three days, this unique night market was easily a festival highlight, and perhaps the main attraction for those with ‘foodie’ running in their blood.

Capturing some of the region’s most colourful dishes and dances (more on that later), the Heat Beads® Hawkers’ Market kicked off in 30 degree heat, with crowds topping the 2,000 mark.

The main concourse was teaming, with hungry revellers downing steaming dishes and spicy morsels in rising temperatures – a combination which perfectly re-conjured the essence of Asian-style street markets.

Recreating those bustling backstreets, the market tapped in to the competitive, fast-paced culture of street food with a medley of cuisines.

Dainty Sichuan served up skewers of small super-spicy bites – everything from mushrooms to eggs, meaty morsels and more. There was Babi Guling – Traditional Balinese Roast Port, Ikan Panggang – Grilled Fish in Banana Leaf, and Chongquing – Chilli Chicken. And this is just the tip of the heat bead!

With the hum of crowds rising high into the rafters of Melbourne’s Victoria Markets, the sounds of drums, chanting, bright costumes and dancing threaded its way through the crowds.

Just one of hundreds of events being held at the MFWF, the Head Beads® Hawkers’ Markets summoned the unique and vibrant culture of the Australasian region, sharing with locals and internationals alike, the spice and life behind fast-paced food.

The Melbourne Food & Wine Festival runs until 23 March 2010.


Melbourne Food & Wine Festival

Around The World

Eight Hotels Australia


It’s not easy to create a hotel. A hotel room needs to be all things to all men, making each visitor feel at home, while creating a warm, innovative space.

Eight Hotels Australia represents 8 design-oriented hotels across the country, all with a commitment to creating unique and enchanting environments for their guests, while delivering exceptional value and breathtaking hospitality.

In Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Canberra, these hotels have employed Australia’s leading architects and designers to produce the highest quality finishes, dynamic spaces and individual personality.

In Brisbane, Alexander Loterzstain has designed the Limes Hotel, with attention to detail ensuring the unique aesthetic is apparent from the dramatic façade down to the door handles and beauty products.

While Sydney’s Kirketon, Diamant Hotel, Pensione Hotel and Altamont capture the essence of their surroundings, offering the most beautiful cityscape views in the heart of the bustling metropolis. Eight Hotels Australia also represents the Pensione Hotel and Cosmopolitan in Melbourne and Diamant Hotel in Canberra.

As the weather cools, and the leaves begin to turn, it’s the perfect time to get out and see Australia’s cities – with mild temperatures and countless attractions.

Eight Hotels Australia are extending a special Autumn offer to their guests. When booking at any of their hotels you can receive a late check-out until 12 noon, a complimentary room upgrade, free internet access throughout your stay and a selection of Ferrero Rondnoir chocolates on arrival.

To take advantage of the offer, simply quote ‘Colourful Autumn Deal’ when booking at any one of the Eight Hotels Australia establishments.


Eight Hotels Australia


Image above: Diamant Hotel Canberra


Limes Hotel Brisbane


The Kirketon Hotel Sydney


The Kirketon Hotel Sydney


Design Hunters

Adelaide Bowerbird Bazaar

The void of a quality design market in Adelaide has been filled by the initiative of South Australian creatives Rebekah Cicero and Jane Barwick.

Bowerbird Bazaar – a market held twice a year for established and emerging designer/makers – was born out of sheer passion for design.

“We both go to trade shows and everything seems to be interstate,” Rebekah says. “We decided we should bring something to Adelaide.”

With Rebekah’s clothes and fabric label, Sprout Design, and Jane’s label with Iris Saar Isaacs, in-sync design, both designers know the importance of specialised trade shows to help promote a product.

“The market is about providing a quality platform for designer/makers to showcase their works and for established designers to launch products,” the pair explains.

While some designer/makers use the internet to help promote their products, the Bazaar means buyers can get up close to these unique products.

“I think people still like to come in to a shop,” Jane says.

Consumers also have the chance to meet face-to-face with the people who made the objects, or as Rebekah and Jane say: “meet the maker behind the product”.

The March Bazaar will feature furniture, artworks, lighting, jewellery, glass-work, clothes and other textiles from about 70 designer/makers, half of which are South Australian.

Bowerbird Bazaar is on the 26, 27 and 28 March and on 8, 9 and 10 October 2010 at Queen’s Theatre, Adelaide.


Bowerbird Bazaar

Words: Anthony Caggiano

Clare Wilson's 'Lolly Bowls'


Pop Flower chokers by Kristina Brenke

Pop Flower chokers by Kristina Brenke

in-sync Coil Bangle and Ring and Whimsy

in-sync Coil Bangle and Ring and Whimsy Necklace

Koush Cusions by Koush Design

Koush Cusions by Koush Design


Jane Barwick and Rebekah Cicero

Jane Barwick and Rebekah Cicero



Penthouse Mouse

It’s not often you hear of a retail space taking a host – this generally applies to the lifecycle of small organisms. But Penthouse Mouse (PHM) really brings this analogy to life, coming out of hibernation every April, to take a new host (that is, space) for its short two-week lifecycle. Marking the beginning of the L’Oreal Melbourne Fashion Festival, this temporary pop-up shop seeks out deserted urban spaces and transforms them into a temporary art, fashion and design hub. In previous years PHM has popped up in Collingwood in a derelict warehouse, it even took over the old Fun Factory in The Capitol, South Yarra. This year we take a few twisty turns down Melbourne city’s alleyways and find ourselves at the Old Naval and Military Club. Set across two levels, the makers of PHM, Moth Design, have injected the abandoned space with a formidable front line of emerging designers and artists. Installations fill every space – including the squash courts – with bikes blooming into an umbrella, black-lit webs that look almost computer generated, and fashion collections (fresh off the production line) hanging from streams of rope. A real sight to behold, the beauty of this space is that you can buy almost everything in it. There’s Australian apparel and accessories galore – all of which are listed here. And if you can’t visit during working hours, then perhaps a live photo-shoot, or late night shopping might take your fancy! For more information visit penthousemouse.com.au or visit PHM every day until Sunday 21 March, 12pm– 9pm. PHM is located at the Old Naval and Military Club, 27 Lt Collins Street, Melbourne (enter from Coates Lane). Penthouse Mouse penthousemouse.com.au abc
Around The World

Alila Villas Soori

A world away from the bars, clubs and crowds of Seminyak and Kuta, which the Indonesian island of Bali has increasingly become renowned for, is the latest offering from the Alila hotels and resorts group – Alila Villas Soori.

The 48 villas – which range from one to ten bedrooms – are located on the southwest coast of Bali, surrounded by verdant rice terraces, volcanic mountains, and panoramic views over a black-sand beach and the Indian Ocean.

Designed by Singapore-based SCDA Architects – the creative minds behind several of the Alila resorts – the villas are a fluent expression of contemporary Asian design, high on luxury and privacy.

The entire resort nestles seamlessly into the tropical landscape, and space in the villas and other facilities flows easily between the interior and exterior without sacrificing privacy.

With large open living spaces that lead to a private pool and outdoor dining area, where you can also choose to have spa treatments, most will be hard-pressed to find a reason to leave the villa – but it’s well worth pulling yourself away to explore the surrounding area.

You won’t find the nightclubs and shops crawling with tourists around Alila Villas Soori. Instead, you will find Tanah Lot Temple – one of the island’s most sacred spots –only a short trip from the resort, and Alila’s leisure concierge can tailor individual excursions ranging from trekking and cycling to golf and horse riding.

To celebrate the resort opening at the end of last year, Alila Villas Soori is offering a ‘Gift to Share’ promotion until the end of May 2010 – for each night booked a complimentary night is offered, and the amount saved can be donated to a local Balinese charity.


Alila Villas Soori


The MacMasters Beach House

When Eduardo Villa and Maria Muniz-Villa were approached by the owners of a parcel of land overlooking the ocean at MacMasters Beach, NSW, it was the rekindling of a great relationship.

The pair, principals of design firm Villa + Villa, had worked with these clients on two previous projects and the brief was simple – to create a peaceful escape, where the owners could enjoy holidays and long weekends, capturing the beauty of the surrounding Bouddi National Park and the extensive sea views.

“There are no definitive barriers between the interior and exterior of the house,” explains Eduardo. “We wanted as much as possible for the house to be open and fluid, completely embracing the beauty of the landscape.”

This connection with envionrment has been achieved with the use of large expanses of glass and outdoor spaces in the living areas, while downstairs shuttered sliding doors provide access to the views, protection from the wind and sun and a notable design feature.

However, the building had also to respond to the harshness of this uniquely Australian environment. The Southern elevation is subject to strong coastal winds – prompting the architects to reduce the number of openings on that side – and with the beauty of the natural bushland comes the eternal threat of fire, affecting the home’s positioning on the block.

“We have [also] introduced a sprinkler system externally, utilising the water of the pool in a fire emergency, and everything can be operated by a mobile phone,” Eduardo explains.

This home’s surroundings also inspired the use of materials both inside and out, with sandstone, timber and natural fibres. Inside, Maria worked with the owners to create a sparse, yet warm and inviting space.

She explains how her passion for hunting down rare finds informed the choice of finishes and objects, including 1930’s vintage coat hangers, antique bottles and signed ceramic pots from the Boyd artists.

Maria and Eduardo put the success of this design down to “a great working relationship”, however – as with all the homes they create – they say the key is “to know and understand the clients’ needs and respond to their brief. As they will live there not you.”


Villa + Villa


Photography: Anson Smart

Design Accessories

Vintage Bikes

Set up late last year by Matthew Hurst, The Humble Vintage aims to acquaint locals and travellers with the sights of Melbourne, through its fleet of newly renovated wheels, and quarterly insider-guided maps*.

Hurst says he recognised the need for comfortable and affordable rentals in Melbourne, after seeing all-terrain mountain bikes replaced by alternatives overseas.

“Melbourne is a very bike-friendly city, and it is something that is growing, not just here, but also in Sydney and all over the place,” he says.

Keith Trovatello, from the Melbourne Bicycle Centre, says that the recent trend for retro-fitting old road bikes has seen their repair business expand significantly in the last 12 or 18 months.

“About 15 to 20 per cent of the market is now old-school vintage bikes. We have a lot of people finding old road bikes and fitting them with new big bars, and big seats, and using them to go around the city,” he says.

Trovatello adds that until relatively recently, there was a real gap in the market for vintage-style frames and that manufacturers have only just started to catch up with the demand.

But while big brands like Masi, Mongoose and Schwinn have released newer versions of the old favourites, Hurst says he is still planning to keep re-energising the old ones, and expand his business into Sydney and country Victoria.

And with five locations around the CBD and inner-city suburbs since starting last September, it is no wonder he is finding it increasingly hard to keep up with the demand.

The Humble Vintage

Image above: Jackson Casagrande

*Send a self-addressed envelope to PO Box 361 East Melbourne VIC 8002 for a copy of Hurst’s Melbourne for Visitors and Casual Cyclists



Design Hunters

Voices of Art

Gene and Brian Sherman have dedicated their lives to supporting both art and alleviating the suffering of animals in Australia. These two causes will come together in April with the Voices of Art Fundraiser evening in Sydney’s Paddington.

The event aims to raise significant funds for Voiceless – the non-profit think tank founded by Brian Sherman and his daughter Ondine Sherman – giving attendees the opportunity to own major works by internationally recognised artists, including Ai Weiwei, Tim Storrier, Janet Laurence, Shaun Gladwell and Guan Wei.

Voices of Art is a ticketed event that will give 50 people the chance to win one of 20 artworks, 8 ‘Money can’t buy’ experiences and 22 ‘indulgence packages’. Tickets are currently on sale for $2000, which gives entry to the event for two people and the opportunity to walk away with extremely significant and valuable pieces of Australian art and help a worthy cause in the process.

Prizes will be drawn on the evening, followed by the auction of two very valuable works donated by renowned artists Tim Storrier and Ai Weiwei.

Tickets can be purchased and donations made through the Voices of Art page on the Voiceless website.

You can read more about Brian and Gene Sherman in Habitus 05.


Voices of Art

Sherman Contemporary Art Foundation (SCAF)

Around The World

Daintree Eco Lodge

The mention of a tropical holiday instantly conjures visions of white beaches, ice cold margaritas and gracefully swaying palm trees, but the reality is very different – that is, if you’re willing to explore deep into the Daintree Rainforest of Far North Queensland.

Terry and Cathy Maloney did just that, and opened the Daintree Eco Lodge in a lush rainforest valley just 40 minutes north of Port Douglas. “From the beginning we realised the rainforest valley setting – with its own waterfall and water supply, ancient plants (some of which date back to the pre-jurassic era) and an abundance of wildlife – was special,” says Cathy.

“The property is indeed a very significant site for the local Kuku Yalanji rainforest Aboriginal people due to the abundance of food, medicinal and lifestyle plants, and a multitude of superfine ochres,” she says.

The Eco Lodge was designed and constructed under WWF world guidelines, to ensure minimal impact on the surrounding rainforest. Large trees were tied back, says Cathy, and small plants relocated. The buildings themselves – in particular the guest villas - were designed to captialise on the valley’s micro-climate.

“The villas have pitched roofs, with minimal guttering to ensure rainwater reaches the rainforest floor. Buildings are positioned strategically through the valley to give privacy and different outlooks across the rainforest canopy.”

Immersive in style, each villa has a micro-screened balcony, opening the living spaces up to the sounds, smells, and rare sights of the surrounding rainforest.

Capturing those medicinal and lifestyle elements of the area is the adjoining Daintree Wellness Spa, which has won numerous international and national awards.

“With the approval of the kuku Yalanji elders, our spa treatments integrate the wisdom of cultures, medicines, spirituality and healing. The experiences are in harmony with nature, in the essence of nurture, in respect of culture,” says Cathy.

The Eco Lodge also produces an organic body range called Daintree Essentials, incorporating native plants, organic oils, nuts, seeds and superfine ochres, some of which can also be found in the cuisine of the Lodge’s Julaymba Restaurant.

Truly a unique escape, the Eco Lodge transports you into another realm, where the mobile is switched off, the traffic is non-existent and the only things dictating your day are rainfall, sunset, dinner time and spa time.


Daintree Eco Lodge


Around The World

Malabar House of India

Ship’s horns resonate along moody, fading facades then mingle with calls-to-prayer and bells from 17th Century cathedrals. Chai sellers proffer fragrant brew in gleaming crockery while baby goats skip by. Sacks stuffed with chilies are pushed from wooden carts into crumbling Dutch-era storehouses.  

At Fort Cochin, being plunged headlong into the spice-trading heyday requires no imagination. This gritty, eclectic and engaging history is embodied within Malabar House, a haven combining centuries-strong lore with jaunty surprises.

Traditional craftsmanship and local (where possible, recycled) materials were used inventively in reviving and re-imagining the circa 1755 Dutch traders bungalow. The challenge, says designer and Malabar Escapes director Joerg Drechsel, was to respect the existing building while incorporating “edited innovation”.

Cozy yet cool, each of Malabar’s 17 unique rooms and suites feature a bespoke blend of antique and modern handcrafted furniture, along with widely- sourced handicrafts and art. Comforting details abound: generous lounging zones; ambient lighting; yummy honey and vanilla scented potions; light, hand-stitched bedcovers. Private outdoor nooks – ‘sit-outs’ in colonial parlance – are a defining pleasure.    

Splashes of fired-up curry colours continue the warm, convivial vibe created in the courtyard, where, by oil- light, dancers and musicians perform each evening.

Cochin’s iconic sunset promenade lies a short stroll away. Or, hop on a bike and revel in the colourful clamour and intense aromas of the spice market and the enduring grandeur of the Dutch Palace.  

That’s assuming you’ll stray from your swinging day-bed or the ayurvedic massage pavilion that opens to a skyline bristling with pomp and gravitas… and the triumphant shrieks of cricket heroes.  


Malabar House

Words + Photography: Melissa Rimac