Despite the rise of the ‘Plastic Age’, timber remains a constant in our lives.
Maybe it’s the abundance of trees – particularly in our Region – that creates a strong emotional connection. For Bark Architects, it was a 100-year-old tree that would guide them when designing the Marcus Beach House.
Originally designed by Bark in 2002 the house recently found itself with new owners, who naturally came to the original architects to design alterations.
“It is our first project, which we had the interesting and fortunate opportunity to revisit with another client after a number of years,” says Steve Guthrie, Bark Principal. “The current owners have a very keen interest in art and design and are supportive custodians of the architecture.”
“A few key areas were elevated from a raw economical beach house with outdoor laundry and polished chipboard floors to include more comforts and a higher level of finish within the framework of the character of the house.”
The home was designed to take full advantage of the large Morten Bay Ash in at the centre of the building. Two wings of the building wrap around the old tree, with a connecting walkway. Views to the tree and landscape were core to the design, ensuring a tangible connection with the environment.
Because of this relationship with the Morten Bay Ash, the pavilion spaces read like tree houses, from both inside and out, with a lightness of structure that is important in this part of the world.
“It is one of those houses which has a strong natural spirit,” Guthrie says. “It simply feels good and I think the experience of this for the clients and visitors comes from its inextricable link to landscape."
Photography: ©Christopher Frederick Jones
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On Thursday 24 June, Martin Browne Fine Art gallery welcomed guests to the opening of Robert Brownhall’s latest exhibition.
In these works, Brisbane-based Brownhall has captured classic Sydney landscapes, from the Harbour Bridge and Opera House to beachscapes and nightime harbourside scenes.
“Everything is bigger,” Brownhall says. “It’s a big city, there’s big scenes. I’m drawn not only to the grand scale of the city but in all its forms – I can see little scenes within a scene. What I also like about Sydney is it’s a city by the sea, you can see the horizon out to the ocean.”
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"Robert is one to watch,” says gallery owner, Martin Browne, “he's at an interesting stage of his career - people love to think of artists as overnight successes but he's been painting and exhibiting for more than 20 years.”
“I feel that with his distinctive panorama landscapes – often of night scenes – he has found his own unique artistic voice,” Browne says. “He gives us a new way of looking at this country’s urban landscape and with this, his first Australian exhibition outside Queensland, he's on his way to national acclaim.”
The exhibition runs until 18 July 2010.
Martin Browne Fine Art
57 – 59 Macleay Street
Potts Point NSW 2011
(61 2) 9331 7997
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Inspired by his father’s own career as a pastry chef, Pierre Roelofs bravely moved to Switzerland as a teenager to complete a three year apprenticeship in baking, pastry and chocolate making.
“[My father] was one of those high-flying 80s chefs who moved all over the world doing amazing butter and ice sculptures,” Pierre says.
Granted a special visa to complete his studies, Pierre says his Swiss training formed the perfect base future explorations.
“It was an excellent grounding for me,” he says. “The refinement and structure in their technique helped me understand so much.”
Having worked at several Michelin star restaurants around the world, including The Vineyard, in Berkshire, UK and The Fat Duck in Bray, UK, Pierre beat some of the world's best pastry chefs last year, to take out part of the exclusive Espai Sucre award for the best restaurant dessert of 2009.
And his latest deconstructed dessert offerings have quickly lived up to their well-earned reputation.
Serving a new menu each Thursday night, Pierre now holds residence at Fitzroy favourite Café Rosamond, serving one, two and three courses of his signature freeze-dried, gelled and cubed creations.
But you better get in quick because there are no bookings and no dates for when it will all end.
Rear 191 Smith St, Fitzroy VIC
(03) 9419 2270
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The Mini Melissa range is Westwood’s second collaboration with the Brazilian label, famous for their candy-scented plastic shoes and collaborations that bring the talents of renowned designers and architects – the likes of Zaha Hadid, Karim Rashid and the Campana Brothers – to footwear.
The collection revisits two styles from the Vivienne Westwood and Melissa spring 2009 Lady Dragon collaboration. The popular and iconic hearts and bows of ‘Lady Dragon Bow’ and ‘Lady Dragon Heart’ have been shrunk to miniature proportions (minus, of course, the heel and with the introduction of baby-safe Velcro fastenings).
The shoes are as environmentally responsible as they are cute, made from Melissa’s signature Melflex plastic – a non-toxic, breathable and recyclable form of PVC.
Trendsetting tots sporting shoes from the Mini Melissa range might still be learning to walk, but they’ll certainly be doing it with style.
The story of Koh Samui (or just Samui as the locals call it) is a peaceful one. Being isolated from mainland Thailand for most of its inhabited life, the Island remains relatively self-sufficient and truly another world.
Up until the 90s you’d have been lucky to rustle up some backpacker accom. or a quaint bungalow, but times have changed. If your ideal luxury destination is synonymous with good design, you’ll find it hard to go past X2 resort in Koh Samui, Thailand.
Despite representing the best in 'luxury' accompaniments, there’s a playful air about X2 Koh Samui. The name 'X2' is pronounced ‘cross to’ (as in ‘cross to another world’), and the onsite restaurant and bar, 4K (pronounced ‘fork’), cleverly continues this nod to the texting generation.
Aimed at a funky, cosmopolitan crowd, the resort shuns a fussy, extravagant vibe in favour of a simple, harmonious aesthetic designed to ‘satisfy the spirit’.
The 27 minimalist villas, sprinkled among the palms, range from Pool, Garden or Suite Garden to the extravagant Owner’s Villa: complete privacy without feeling isolated.
Each designer villa comes with the usual high-speed internet, flat screen TV and music and movie library. To top that off, nearly all villas boast their own private swimming pool and terrace garden
You can generally get flights to Koh Samui's international aiport for less than AUD$1000
Have you stayed at X2? Tell us your thoughts in the comments below, or give your fellow Design Hunters™ the inside word on other Thailand escapes…
Maurice Lacroix’s newest collection of timepieces integrates sleek contemporary design with the elegance of traditional watchmaking.
Five new styles complete the Les Classiques series, their pure, simple designs an upshot of Maurice Lacroix’s uncompromising devotion to functionalism and usability.
Opting to pare back fussy, unnecessary detail to avoid aesthetic overstatement, the Jours Retrograde range places emphasis on Les Classiques’ philosophy of self-discipline in the face of a 21st century world governed by the chaotic, ephemeral and the effervescent.
These watches are a celebration of the bare essentials for those people who prefer classicism to lavishness.
The minimalist design flatters the complexity of the watch’s mechanisms. Accompanying its chronographic capabilities, each watch in the series has self-winding mechanical calibres, some with day and month indicators and moon phases.
For those wanting a taste of decadence, the Phases De Lune Automatique timepiece offers an alternative, oozing luxury from its jewel-encrusted framing.
Phases de lune automatique
Phases de lune automatique
Phases de lune automatique
Phases de lune automatique
When it comes to bathing, everyone has a right to self-indulgence. Nothing in your home says self-indulgence more than the tranquillity of your own bathroom sanctuary.
The very idea of your ultimate bathroom conjures up images of opulence - fragrant soaps, an abundance of bubbles and warm, flowing water.
To turn your bathroom dream into a reality, it’s the little touches that matter. Perrin & Rowe offer a classic style of tapware and shower fittings to give any bathroom a distinguished touch of elegance and grandeur.
Not only are these products beautifully designed, but Perrin & Rowe are also committed to providing quality products built to last the lifespan of the bathroom itself.
Each tap is machined from high quality brass by computer-controlled lathes, hand polished, electroplated, assembled and rigorously tested.
Chrome finish, but also available in nickel, pewter, gold and English bronze.
The English Tapware Company
+61 3 9818 1403
Sydney women will have a no excuse to jump on a bike and get cycling with the recent opening of Clarence St Cyclery Women's on Clarence St (strangely enough).
Clarence St Cyclery aims to encourage women to get pedalling, and makes the retail experience a little more fun.
The shop was designed by Sydney-based designer Rob Harper (of the quirkily-named Rob Design Office), while a stunning hand-drawn mural by British designers ilovedust mixes “ art and lifestyle with bicycles”.
“As soon as we saw some other work ilovedust had done for an English bicycle magazine, The Ride, we knew it was the artwork style we wanted,” says David Cook, Director of Clarence St Cyclery.
“The brief was to create a Sydney scene, including the harbour bridge, Opera house and city skyline. Showing the harbour, a ferry and some bicycles. It also had to be feminine, and colourful to brighten up the store.”
The sleek black interiors, juxtaposed with the original timber columns and colourful cycle gear and murals create a new-meets-old aesthetic, which works nicely with the mix of traditional and modern bike designs.
Definitely worth pedalling over to the CBD.
Clarence St Cyclery
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The fifth book of the Axor Workshop series highlights the exchange of ideas between renowned Asian and European architects.
AquaTektur: the Bathroom in the Dialogue of Cultures – Japan 2008, is the product of an intercultural dialogue between architects from around the world - the focus being the relationship between water, architecture and culture.
The designer brand Hansgrohe AG invited architects to participate in the 2008 workshop in Japan, to explore traditional Japanese bathing culture. The concepts and ideas that emerged during the exchange culminated in the form of AquaTektur.
Philippe Grohe, head of the Axor brand is pleased with the outcome: ‘When architects from different countries get together and spend one week talking at length about their different bathing cultures and customs, we can learn a great deal about bathing as well as the spaces where it takes place.”
AquaTektur: the Bathroom in the Dialogue of Cultures – Japan 2008 creates a platform for dialogue, promoting new approaches to the architectural treatment of water including environmentally compatible solutions to bathing.
In this issue, you’ll meet creative personalities from diverse backgrounds, discovering their inspirations and interests. This issue, fashion duo Easton Pearson show us around their hometown, Brisbane, we explore the home of Anton Assaad of Great Dane in Melbourne, meet Singapore’s design anarchist, Chris Lee, and discover Adelaide illustrator extraordinaire, Dan McPharlin.
Across the Region, people are creating homes that express their unique way of life. This could be an urban family dwelling in Bangkok, an affordable adaption of a coastal cottage in NSW, a meandering addition with the feel of a Mediterranean cliff-top village, or the home of a creative couple in India.
Available now at newsagencies and selected bookstores globally. Click here to find your nearest Habitus magazine stockist (Australia only) and here to subscribe to Habitus magazine. Habitus is available internationally through major bookstores.
Hero Image - Wagstaffe House, Photograph Eric Seirins
Anton Assaad - Photograph Richard Powers
A Dan McPharlin creation
Helen Kontouris has stepped up to the challenge of reinventing lacklustre planters with the creation of ‘Zoie’, a quirky design, which battles ‘throwawayism’.
Kontouris sees herself as a ‘cultural architect’, believing it’s up to the designer to create products with a distinct function and intelligent material choices.
In the spirit of being ‘green’, Kontouris’ pots are made from polyethelene, are fully recyclable and free of Volatile Organic Compounds, which means they don’t emit gases often associated with new carpets and furniture.
Kontouris loves a challenge whatever she is working on, arguing that her role as a designer is to not give the consumer the safe and predictable result.
Working in collaboration with plantscaping specialist Ambius, Kontouris is satisfied with the fully recyclable pot made for both indoor and outdoor use.
“The Zoie is the first planter that I have worked on and I think we’ve developed an item that is tactile, artistic and practical all in one,” she explains.
Zoie is available as a two-legged version (Zoie-Sophia) or with three legs (Zoie-Anouk) and comes in three sizes: Small desktop, medium and large.
Ambius Indoor Plants