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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Around The World

The Design Hotels Book

There are hotels and then there are Design Hotels; those hotels that go beyond ‘luxury’ to design the experience of staying away from home.

We came across Design Hotels some time ago, and if you’ve been following out TRAVEL section on habitusliving.com then no doubt you’ve spotted the name more than once. The organisation promotes a selection of the best design-oriented hotels across the globe.

Their website is a wealth of information to anyone planning to travel in design, but to truly experience these amazing hotels (without actually visiting them) you can’t go past the Design Hotels book.

This beautiful book contains over 170 Design Hotels as well as the 2010 Made by Originals collection – profiling 10 hotel ‘creators’ who have dreamt up enchanting hotels, from a medieval castle to Maison Machino in Milan and a playfully vibrant Singaporean retreat.

The Design Hotels Book is a feast of brilliant imagery and intriguing stories of hotels in hidden corners, bustling cities and on tropical islands – each with its own unique personality.

You can buy your copy of the Design Hotels Book online or, you can send us an email telling us your favourite hotel experience you could win 1 of 3 books (valued at $115 each) sent straight to you.* The most creative responses will win.


Design Hotels


*Please note that by entering this competition you are agreeing to have your email address added to the Design Hotels promotional mailing list. Competition closes Thursday 30 September 2010.




The Maximum Garden House

The name of this house does gives it away slightly, but this home in a low-rise residential suburb of east Singapore reinvents the urban garden to suit the needs of three generations of inhabitants.

Designed by Formwerkz, the house was built for a young couple, their 2 preschool-age children and grandparents. One of the owners actually grew up in the original house, and as it fell into disrepair, they wanted to resurrect the home, but with more space for the extended family.

“[They] wanted a house that would age graciously with time,” says Formwerkz architect Alan Tay. “One of the effects that we hoped to achieve with this house was the idea that as the building ages, you look at the lush planting rather than the stains.”


the maximum garden house singapore formwerkz


This effect is created in part by the massive ‘planter screen façade’ – a large black screen with containers to grow plants. “The relatively low-tech detail that shields the master en suite from the street is a design that, in our opinion, began to blur the boundary between architecture and landscape,” Alan says.

The house – split over 5 levels (including a sloped rooftop terrace) – is respectful of the surrounding architecture but uses gardens on roofs, walls and planters to soften the architectural forms, creating a living, ever-changing building.


the maximum garden house singapore formwerkz


the maximum garden house singapore formwerkz


“The planter screen on the façade invites the owners’ participation in the selection of the types of plants to be cultivated which will determine how the building looks,” Alan explains.

The majority of the communal spaces are in the mid-section of the house, sandwiched between the bedrooms.


the maximum garden house singapore formwerkz


the maximum garden house singapore formwerkz


“The staggered section allows the connectivity of these spaces from different floors. We had in mind a choreographed experience that begins with delaying the entrance before you enter into a open zone and continuing with a changing dogleg staircase that extends into a ramped journey to the roof terrace and beyond.”


the maximum garden house singapore formwerkz


the maximum garden house singapore formwerkz


“We envisioned the roof terrace to be a great place for their kids. At least, it evokes my childhood memory of climbing up the roof to star gaze.”

You can see another of Formwerkz Singapore houses, The Apartment House, in issue 09 of Habitus magazine – out 23 September 2010.

Formwerkz Architects


A couple of questions for Alan Tay:


How has this project changed the way you think about designing homes?

It definitely strengthened our conviction of the importance of the garden (loosely defined as man’s cultivation of nature) to the design of home. And in a highly urbanized context when there is a competition of space, it is worthwhile for us to consider how we can re-engage nature. To some extent, the house was trying to do that.


What’s your favorite element of the home - the part you are most proud of?

The planter screen on the front façade.

The contraption resembles an open rack; each shelf’s profiled like a shutter louver and dimensioned to accommodate small potted plants that are easily replaceable from any nursery. The planting is irrigated from a single pipe on the top shelf, with the run-off feeding the pots on the lower tiers.



Paddington House by Nobbs Radford Architects



“[Our brief was] to create a modern, calm place with refined detail and occasional surprises. It’s a larger than average inner city site, so spaces should feel as generous as possible,” explains architect Alison Nobbs. 

Using the original cottage as a point of entry, and adding the new elements on as a sort of ‘surprise,’ it is only once entering the house and reaching the end of the hallway that the ‘new’ house becomes apparent. 



Fresh white planes, light timber and dark charcoal tones create a sense of openness and tranquility that is complementary, while distinctly different, to the identity of the initial elements.  

One standout feature is the central timber ‘tardis’, which not only differentiates the old from the new additions, but also quietly contains the laundry, television, air conditioning and offers storage space required by the young family. 




The open plan kitchen living room area that ends with a full height picture window leading to the pool and garden is yet another highlight. 

“This allows direct surveillance of the pool from the hub of the house, and also a place for the family to be, to ‘hang out’ in the kitchen,” adds Nobbs.





While the Paddington House represents both old and new, existing and extended, it’s peaceful charm lies in the clever meeting of the two.


Nobbs Radford Architects




Around The World

The Cullen

I was lucky enough to stay in 2 of the beautiful Art Series hotels on a recent trip to Melbourne. I’ll be telling you all about The Cullen this week, but I’ll also have a review of The Olsen coming up.

I have to confess that before staying at The Cullen in Melbourne’s Prahran, I didn’t really know a lot about artist, Adam Cullen. I recalled him winning the Archibald Prize, but other than that, his artwork was completely unknown to me.

In a way, this is something the Art Series hotels aim to rectify; by bringing art into the hotel room, to spark a fleeting love affair with Australia’s foremost living artists. And this is exactly what it did for me.



Displayed throughout the hotel and in the rooms themselves, Cullen’s artworks are at once vibrant and playfully macabre. Now don’t get me wrong, there is nothing at all off-putting about sleeping next to his droopy horses (or maybe they were donkeys) – in fact, there’s something reassuring about the personalities in the works that help you feel at home.


From the outside, The Cullen’s grey steel façade is punctuated by bright green protruding pods (balconies) – a delight at night and a bit of a beacon to find your way home along Commercial Road.


The rooms range from a Studio Suite through to the Penthouse Suite (2 Bedrooms, 2 Bathrooms and views across Melbourne). The Studio Suite I enjoyed included a magnificent en suite bathroom (separated by a frosted glass wall adorned with another Cullen artwork).





As for food, the amazing Hutong dumpling restaurant is just downstairs as well as the Terrace Bar and Bistro (they do some mean corn fritters – yum!).

From the moment you enter The Cullen and pass the life-sized mosaic cows you know you’re in for an experience, an exciting journey into the mind of an artist.


The Cullen

Fixed & Fitted
Design Accessories

DADOquartz Carmen Bath and Basin

Designed by: Jacques van der Merwe


I am: Bath and Basin


About me:

Dado is proud to announce the launch of the Carmen bath and basin. The Carmen range is the latest design by sculptor Jacques van der Merwe, who has also designed baths for Dado and leading European design houses.

The Carmen bath has a rectangular shape that flowers outwards towards the top. The satin finish of its solid body construction enhances the design’s elegant aesthetic. The strong contemporary flair of the bathtub will make it the focus of any bathroom.

The bathtub is complemented by a matching basin design to offer a stylish suite.

Dado manufactures bathtubs for the international market since 1997. The bathtubs have been on display at CERSAIE – the leading bathroomware, tile and technology show in Italy – since 2005, and at other leading bath exhibitions.

Dado manufactures products under its own brand, as well as for leading design houses in Europe.


My materials:

  • DADOquartz is solid cast engineered stone consisting of resin and quartz. The material is durable with excellent properties. 
  • It is UV, stain and scratch resistant, with minimal water absorbency. Its matt finish is uniquely appealing.  
  • DADOquartz retains water temperature exceptionally well assuring a comfortable bathing experience. 
  • Dado Quartz is guaranteed against material failure for 25 years.

My dimensions:

Carmen Bath 1700x750x590mm

Carmen Basin 560x360x120mm


DADO Australia
(61 7) 5665 7345



Design Accessories

Custom-made hand-tufted rugs

Designed by:  Designer Rugs


I am:  Rugs and Carpets


About me:

Designer Rugs is Australia’s leading rug company, specialising in handmade custom rugs and carpets for both residential and commercial interiors.

Designer Rugs has a successful history operating since 1986 in the Australian and International flooring market and has developed a strong portfolio of clients and projects around its core values of quality, design integrity, originality, innovation and service excellence.

Most of Designer Rugs Designer Collections and in house collections can be customised to suit specific requirements; however you can also commission your very own design.

Designer Rugs’ team will collaborate with you to create the unique floor rug piece you are after.

All products can also be delivered worldwide.


My materials:

  • New Zealand Wool
  • New Zealand Rich Wool blends
  • Pure Silk
  • Recycled Silk
  • Viscose

My dimensions:

Custom-made sizes, include in-lay, hall runners and wall-to-wall carpet


Designer Rugs
1300 802 561


Hero Image: Custom made ‘Favorita’ design from the Easton Pearson Collection for Lexus


Custom made design for RLD Design. Photo: Fiona Martin.


Custom made design for Beechwood Interiors


Custom made ‘Climbing Rose’ design from the Bella Vista Collection for Shelleece Stanaway Design, NZ


Custom made ‘Origin’ design from the Bella Vista Collection




Forever Young from Milano


With the ‘Forever Young’ Chaise Longue it’s easy to see the more than 60 years experience Erba brings to its designs.

Designed by Giorgio Soressi, the elegant curves, folded pillow headrest and leather- or fabric-upholstered soft cushioning, mean this chaise would be at home in any interior. The chaise also offers a reclining back mechanism and a beautiful polished steel base.

Erba represents the ultimate in comfort and superior craftsmanship to create beautiful and functional furniture objects.

Erba’s designers control every aspect of the production process from the cutting of the steel frames to the sewing of the upholstery and even down to the final packaging.

The Forever Young chaise longue is available in Australia exclusively from Milano Furniture.


Milano Furniture
(61 2) 9799 5499


Design Accessories

Franke integrated sink waste

Designed by: Franke


I am: integrated sink waste


About me:

Franke combines advanced innovation and elegant design with it’s new, improved hygienic integrated waste. It represents the attention to detail that makes Franke a world leader in quality, design and innovation.

The highly practical and stunning design reflects true Swiss perfection in its finest form. The low profile design extends below the sink to further increase the useable cabinet space and feed the outlet to the rear of the cupboard allowing for Franke waste bins to fit under the sink.

Franke’s new range of sinks will come standard with this new hygienic integrated waste like the Epos 651 – featuring stainless steel bowls with stunning surround available in black or white glass.

The Epos range is available in a single bowl (EOV 611) or one and a half bowl models (EOV 651) with left- or right-hand drainer.

Take a closer look at Franke and enjoy the finer things in life.


My materials:  Stainless Steel


1800 372 653






Design Accessories

La Lampe Gras

Designed by: Bernard-Albin Gras, 1921


I am: The original articulated lamp


About me:

If, by Le Corbusier’s famous definition, the house was a ‘machine for living in’, the Gras light was a ‘machine for producing light’.

Beloved by many pioneering French modernist architects and artists – including Le Corbusier, Eileen Gray, Georges Braque and Sonia Delaunay – the Gras light was a brilliant solution to an obvious problem – the need for a multi-directional light source capable of being used in a range of applications

It is the simplicity and ‘back-to-basics’ honesty of the Gras light that holds so much appeal. The re-release and renewed popularity of the Gras light is a reminder that the very best of design is timeless.



Available in a range of models with chromed or black satin-finished steel reflectors.


Spence & Lyda
(61 2) 9212 6747



la lampe gras


la lampe gras




E-volved table

Designed by:

Timothy Schreiber, acclaimed German designer

I am: An interior/exterior furniture collection from FueraDentro

About me:

These designs are the outcome of Schreiber’s permanent ambition to explore and challenge the boundaries between digital design / manufacturing methods, socially / environmentally sustainable use and the critical analysis of aesthetics. Shaped through his architectural studies at Bauhaus University in Germany he describes his style as 'pop modernism'.


Inspired by this pop modernism the E-VOLVED table is organic in its composition and is smooth to the touch. The tactile curves of the legs are unbroken and are created from hand-polished stainless steel. In 2007 Timothy Schreiber won a Red Dot Award for his design of the E-volved table. 

The graceful, fluid design mimics the organic forms of nature as the three table legs grow and branch together to form a solid and stable base for the table.



Clear, black or white glass and-polished stainless steel legs.



Sydney (61 2) 9356 4747