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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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Design Accessories

Black ZQN: Selected Chauffeur

Providing a dedicated personal service for the discerning voyager, BlackZQN exists to turn what is traditionally a travel nuisance into an indulgent experience.

“They’re all black, high performance and European,” says BlackZQN manager Mike Stevens of his ‘Black Fleet’; which comprises high specification vehicles. “Our drivers are also reliable, discreet and very well connected.”


Those accustomed to top-shelf luxury will enjoy the fleet of superior vehicles on offer. BlackZQN operates Bentley Continental Flying Spurs, supercharged Range Rover Sports, BMW X5s and a Mercedes-Benz Sprinter 11-seater van.




More than just a chauffeured driving service, BlackZQN is a purveyor of concierge-style excursions, with each driver selected based on experience and expertise. Stevens himself has worked within the wine industry and has contacts with the influential growers in New Zealand’s South Island.


“So if I am taking people on a wine tour, we are more likely to be talking to the owner or the winemaker than a cellar door person,” he says.

“Similarly, we have a driver who knows most of the artists in the South Otago area, so art lovers will be given an insight into the lives of artists at work, should they desire to go on an art tour.”

Stevens believes luxury should be understated, yet “sumptuous and relaxing, completely stress free”, he comments. BlackZQN positions itself at the highest end of the market. “We formed the company because we had been frequently approached about the need for a premium service where ‘exceptional’ is actually the norm.”




Design Accessories

Smeg’s Linear Compact Combination Oven

Smeg SC45MC2 Linear Compact Combination Oven offers the perfect solution for homes with limited space. Slotting in perfectly with the other appliances from the Smeg Linear range, this new oven delivers the convenices of a microwave with the power and versatility of grilling, fan-forced pizza and defrost functions.

When space is limited the SC45MC2 is the smart and dynamic choice, with an array of functions that will help you to create almost any gourmet meal you desire.


The SC45MC2 is your complete cooking solution, giving you the freedom to microwave, grill, bake and roast.

The Smeg Linear Compact Combination Oven; because not every Design Hunter™ has the luxury of space, but we all love good quality home-made and fresh food.



Fixed & Fitted
Design Accessories

Falper Via Veneto

Designed by: The Via Veneto range is designed & manufactured by Falper in Italy.


Category: Bathroom furniture


I am: an integrated washbasin and cabinet solution


About me:

Elegant, spacious, essential, Italian.

The Via Veneto range by Falper is an integrated washbasin and cabinet solution characterised by simple, clear-cut lines and reinterprets timeless shapes for the modern bathroom environment.

The collection includes two wall hung integrated washbasin and cabinet solutions, available in various finishes and sizes, as well as multiple wall hung shelving solutions.





The combination of natural oak and a white matt finish is an elegant, pure and refined composition. An ample integrated washbasin in white Cristalplant is coupled with large, spacious, fully-opening drawers with Blumotion system with white interiors

The Via Veneto unit is a complete and versatile system where materials unite to form an innately elegant design.



Integrated units: 1200 x 350 x 600mm  & 1500 x 350 x 450mm (width x depth x height)

Shelving: various


The Via Veneto range is available exclusively at Rogerseller. Please visit rogerseller.com.au to view the complete range or call 03 9429 8888 for further information.



Around The World

The RAAS Hotel, India

The best hotels can be summed up with one word – ‘magical’. The Raas hotel conjures up a fairytale atmosphere, hidden within an Indian walled city beneath Jodhpur’s Mehrangarh Fort.



The 39 rooms and 7 suites of The Raas are each elegant and refined, modern luxuries inside a 300-year-old mansion.

Created by local brothers Nikhilendra and Dhananajaya Singh, the architecture and interiors are by the award-winning firms Praxis and Lotus Design Services. Everything in the hotel, from cocktail glasses to the stone, was carried to the site on bullock carts through the “labyrinth” of alleys in the walled city.

Geometric manicured lawns, terraced gardens and water features make the hotel grounds seem like an oasis.




The beautiful detailing of carved stone, large rectangle-punctured stone screens and shutters and large timber furniture are opulent additions to the traditional architecture. “Jodhpur’s artisans are amongst India’s best. The latticework we opted for was much more contemporary than their traditional fare, yet they got it just right,” tells Nikhilendra.




Rather than a luck-lustre extension of the traditional style, this hotel heightens the connection with history – and the living history of the city – by juxtaposing the existing structures with the minimal modern additions.


“Approaching the 500-year old fort in an air-conditioned taxi destroys your appreciation of its context, while an approach on foot from the RAAS embeds you directly in the fabric of history,” says Nikhilendra. “Guests look out at the city with a sense of kinship.”


The Raas

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Bloodwood Restaurant

Interior Designer Matt Woods was in the right place at the right time when he was asked to design the interiors of Bloodwood restaurant on busy King Street in Newtown.

“I am a long-time Newtown resident and just happened to become friendly with one of the bloodwood owners while they were working at Moose Cafe (now Moose Bar) just down the road from Bloodwood,” Matt explains.

“They were looking for a design, I offered them some free advice on furniture, and the next thing you know I was engaged to complete the full interior package.”


Coming from a fine dining background the 3 owners, Jo Ward, Claire van Vuuren and Mitch Grady, were out to create “affordable quality dining” in Newtown.

“At that stage I was studying a Masters in Sustainable Design at Sydney Uni and believed that the best way to do this was to make the venue as sustainable as we could,” Matt says.

This has been achieved through the use of construction waste, reclaimed and recycled materials, FSC certified plantation timbers, re-used seating and low-energy LEDs and long-life compact fluoros – modern technologies in beautiful designs including works by Volker Haug.



“I was very conscious of making a real pig punch onto King Street’s foot traffic, I’d been aware of Volker Haug's work for quite a while but hadn’t had the opportunity to push his designs through on any of my previous designs due to the conservative nature of the company I was working with.”   

Matt used Volker’s ‘Rudolf’ and Candy Bananas as playful, eye-catching elements in the restaurant. While an open back deck creates the relaxed courtyard atmosphere that people have come to expect from the best of Newtown dining and bars.



“Aesthetically I drew inspiration from the streets of Newtown, and more widely my experience as a Sydneysider, and have made conscious efforts to reflect this inner urban environment,” Matt says.

“From a sustainability point of view the bloodwood ethos is one of minimal waste. The changing monthly menus are printed on recycled paper. The water jugs are reclaimed and re-blown wine bottles.”


“Aesthetically the interiors are not trying to re-invent the wheel. I simply took a whole heap of finishes I had been a fan of for a while and rearranged them in ways I hadn't seen before. I think the food at bloodwood does the same sort of thing. The guys are wearing their influences on their sleeves but do it in manner Sydney is only now lucky enough to be experiencing.”


Matt Woods


Photography by Will Reichelt & The moment It Clicks


5 Things we love:




The doors

The doors scattered around the restaurant are a little random, but so cool. Whether serving as actual doors or like installation artworks.



Rudolf Peg Board

The 'Rudolf' peg board with coloured cubes is a liitle bit of art and light. Volker Haug's lights, Matt Woods' inspiration.




The Bathrooms

Industrial-style bathrooms – high-quality finishes with a touch of grunge-chic.




The Seating

Reused seats – they take us back to simpler times with everything from timber to steel. They add texture and history to the space.





Railway Sleepers

Reclaimed railway sleepers – once the reserve of garden retaining walls, it’s great to see them in a new urban context


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Design Accessories

Bamboo Bikes

New ways to ride are constantly being created by clever peddlers around the globe. With the opening of the Melbourne Bike Fest last night, we thought we would take a look at one craze sweeping the globe – bamboo bikes – and talk to Melbourne’s resident bamboo bike bloke Michael Efford.

“Bamboo's a beautifully appropriate material to make bike frames from - it's a pre-built hollow tube designed by nature that's amazingly strong and easy to work with,” explains Michael, when asked why on earth one would think of making a bike frame out of bamboo.



“It has lovely ride characteristics - it's flexible enough to absorb a lot of road vibration yet stiff enough to still give good power transfer,” he says. “It's also completely renewable and very fast growing, which is great for the planet - and you don't need to know how to weld anything, making it a very accessible material to work with.”

As a trained multimedia graphic designer, Michael spent years designing objects using 3D modelling software and, being “a complete bike nut”, he saw the new business – aptly named Bamboo Bikes – as the perfect nexus of his two big passions.

“Having computer-bound jobs for the last 10 years has left my lower back in ruins and it was getting harder and harder to sit and work each day - so I did something about it.

“I quit my desk job and rented a studio and designed workbenches that I can use while standing up to build the bikes. It's been a better life ever since.”

We asked Michael a few questions about his new pursuit…


What are the biggest challenges of working with bamboo for bike frames?

The biggest challenge would be finding the perfect pieces of bamboo to work with. There's over 3000 different species of bamboo that come in all sorts of shapes and sizes. Bikes need bamboo with thick walls, yet still be light enough to use on a frame.

It also has to be the right diameter for the various parts of the frame, along with no traces of 'wood borer' (bugs that eat bamboo), cracks, rotting or scratches. So the selection process can take some time, and given that no two pieces are the same it's going to be very hard to mass-produce bamboo frames.



What's the response been to the bikes so far?

Great! People from far and wide have contacted me with affirmations of joy about the first bike. It's also had some showings in local press and turns a few heads when stopped at intersections.

It's also made it to the finals of the Melbourne Bike Festival's 'Better By Bike' competition, which I'm very happy about!


Where can we get one?

People can contact me through my website and we can discuss what sort of bike they're after and go from there. At the moment I'm keen on staying a small custom-built service for people that understand the benefits of bamboo in the first place.


What's next?

I'm planning on producing 5 more prototype frames to hone my skills in the craft as well as taking on 5 more custom orders in the next 6 months.

In the long term I hope to be able to run bamboo bike building workshops so that people can learn the joy that is building and riding your very own hand-made bike.


The Melbourne Bike Fest runs from 24 – 28 November 2010. Check out the full program here.


Bamboo Bikes


The Trial Bay House

When architect James Jones started work on “a normal alteration and addition” to a beautifully sited house in Tasmania, he had no idea it would win the ultimate prize for housing at the national architecture awards.

The original house was designed by architect Ray Heffernan in 1970s, while it had great structure – such as the pitched ceiling in the main living room – some elements like the tiled kitchen bench tops and exposed brick walls had become dated and tired.


Jones’ clients – a Sydney couple who purchased the house in 2002 as a weekender – were keen to introduce more natural light and cross flow, and to improve connections to the landscape and views.

In the main living room, Jones removed sections of the eastern wall and inserted 6-metre-wide sliding doors to embrace the view. On the western side, the original verandah was enclosed in glass to create new circulation routes overlooking a pebbled courtyard.


Working closely with Craig Wellard and John Donald – two carpenter/joiners from Bennett Construction – enabled Jones to achieve high quality finishes throughout. For example the exposed brick walls were wet-plastered before being painted with Dulux Stowe White, and a unique detail in the sliding doors means they can be left partially open to capture breezes.

“We wanted to get light and air from both sides, but the only openings are doors, not windows,” Jones explains. “So we devised a system using a secondary jamb to lock the doors into position 100mm from the frame. We then installed fire-rated mesh to keep out the mosquitoes and blowflies, so we didn’t obscure the views with fly screens.”


The original garage had been converted into children’s bedrooms, and these were updated to provide modern spaces for the couple’s two children while the master suite was kitted out with custom joinery and new skylights. Best of all, a new pavilion was built closer to the water’s edge as a grown-ups’ retreat.


Overlooking the D’Entrecasteaux Channel, this room was built with precast concrete panels that were angled inwards to frame the view. The effect is like standing inside the lens of a camera, with the viewfinder focussed on distant Bruny Island, in a subtle reference to the owner’s career as a director and screenwriter.




“The new room was positioned to access northern sun while maintaining the panoramic views from the main living room,” Jones explains. “From within, you have the sensation of being in a robust and tough concrete shell, which is appropriate given the exposure of the site and the strong southerly winds, but there is also a sense of lightness because it is cantilevered off the ground.”


For Jones, the home’s best attribute can be summed up in one word: liveability. “All the rooms open directly to the outside, so that you can walk through the building and keep circulating,” he says. “There are no dead ends because it has a very fluid plan. In essence, it’s just a place that you want to be.”


In awarding the 2010 Robin Boyd Award, the jury said the remodelling had introduced a sense of “calmness and serenity” that made it hard to leave the house.

That’s certainly been the experience of the owners, who now live there full time.

So is there a formula James Jones can use to reproduce that effect? “I’m not sure how to deliberately design that,” he laughs. “If I was I’d be very rich architect.”


Heffernan Button Voss Architects


James Jones was recently appointed Design Principal at Architectus.

Photography: Ray Joyce


Design Accessories

Propaganda’s 2010

We featured the Creative Director of Propaganda back in 2008 in the very first issue of Habitus magazine. Two years on they’re still producing some seriously fun products in their characteristic style (their classic Mr. P gets a look in too, don’t you worry!).

“While European countries tend to love the minimal design from Propaganda, Asian consumers tend to love the way of emotional design and character of Mr.P express,” Satit Kalawantavanich told us.

“Propaganda may be the only brand of Asia which stands out in the world market. We have designers and numbers of design consumers who keep tracking our movement.”

2010 has seen a new range of Propaganda's fun objects and products...


This cute little lamp may not be appropriate for all occasions, but it captures the playful spirit of Propaganda. You’ve got to love the little orange mess this cheeky mutt has left for the unsuspecting Mr.P.




Who doesn’t love a tape measure in their pen? We think this is one for designers, or tailors, or anyone who has to measure small distances and write them down.



Mr. P Book End

Mr. P is back and he's running scared. This piece is perfect for text books, as it exemplifies exactly how we can feel about books!




Shear Jug and Mugs

No, we haven’t doctored the images; this plastic jug and mugs present common homewares items in a new form – a new ‘slant’ you could say.




Footstop Doorstop

Ouch! Just be glad it’s not your foot under the door. This clever silicone doorstop might give you a fright late at night with its toes that protrude under the door.



Help! Bottle Stopper and Opener

Keep your bubbles bubbly with this hilarious silicone stopper and bottle opener. They come in blue, yellow and purple.




Design Accessories

BeoSound 8

The BeoSound 8 is being touted as their first audio system made specifically for iPod, iPhone and iPad. With its two conical speakers, there’s little more to this new product, aside from the expected B&O quality.


You can, of course, connect your Apple portable device, but you can also connect wirelessly using Apple Airport Express to stream music straight from your PC.


The unit comes with a remote and can be controlled with one of B&O’s remotes (or control the volume with one of their telephones!). The company will soon be launching an App for streaming radio straight to your i-device.



BeoSound 8 can be wall-hung or placed anywhere in the home, with an acoustic adaptation switch for optimal sound quality no matter where you choose to rest it.

The BeoSound 8 comes with either black or white speaker covers, but you’ve got the option of buying coloured covers in yellow, green, purple and lavender blue for an additional $75 a pair.

You can pick one up for a RRP of $1,490


Bang & Olufsen





Design Hunters


Alex Earl (pictured above) is a lighting and furniture designer and manufacturer, based in Collingwood, Melbourne. Gerard Pinto – also Melbourne based – specialises in furniture and lighting, as well as retail, graphics, interiors and architecture. Here to two share with us the ins and outs of their new products and their creative meeting of the minds.   Alice Blackwood: What brought yourself and Alex together, to form earl.pinto?   Gerard Pinto: Alex and I started working together on a fit-out designed by myself. One of Alex’s lights was hanging above my desk at work, which I wanted to use but wanted modified. I eventually [tracked him down] and convinced him to work with me. It was refreshing to work with someone as creative and willing to experiment with production techniques. After having worked on a number of jobs involving customised fittings we discovered a gap – primarily an unwillingness to customise or modify.   AB: Where does earl.pinto place in terms of your private studios?   GP: We are both quite busy with our own practices. Increasingly we are realising that earl.pinto requires more time and effort – something we are starting to address. Ultimately we enjoy the time we spend on earl.pinto. Wherever possible we do merge our projects together through various retail fit-outs.   Kink desk with lamp and 'orb on a wheel'   Alex Earl: There's a lot of cross-over between our practices – Gerard's background is in architecture, specialising in commercial retail fit-out design – mine is in lights and furniture. Our different skills fit well together – his experience is often in areas where mine isn't so strong and vice versa. This means we feel comfortable tackling all sorts of projects, large and small. The formation of earl.pinto has been a great boost to my own practice, and Gerard would probably be of the same opinion.   Kink desk and floor lamps   AB: You’re both obviously drawn to wood, can you tell us a little about the materials you choose to use?   GP: We use materials and technologies that are readily available to us. We work with solid timbers and plywood, and find experimenting with veneers, coloured stains and inlays quite satisfying. Polypropylene and acrylic are also materials we use and we have recently started to play with metal – mild steel, stainless steel and aluminium. We use a lot of recycled timber and tend to salvage bits of everything (always on the lookout for old piano legs and veranda posts). Wood allows us to meld cutting-edge technology with age-old craftsmanship – an area we tend to explore.   Kink Stool     AE: I've always worked with wood – whether it be solid timbers or plywoods, there's something about timber that doesn't get boring. Having said that, we are about to release a range of steel furniture – slightly industrial but with our own machined components which add detail and expand the function of our tables, chairs and other items. We’ve recently added a metal machining component to our workshop space – thus opening new possibilities.   Kink Armchair   AB: There’s a certain quirk to the form of your pieces – what’s the story behind it?   GP: Together we seem to go all over the place, sometimes decorative and ornate and other times quite simple and clean. Our aesthetic tastes are quite complementary, so it’s easy to evolve our designs. Sometimes quite literal forms like the leaf light seem to come easily, other times it’s an evolution over a number of prototypes.   '*anise' pendant   Often things come about because we’re unable to find an ideal piece for a particular project. We try to spend time in the workshop just prototyping, seeing where things will go. That’s where the fun really is...   Earl.pinto earlpinto.com.au Gerard Pinto gerardpinto.com Alex Earl alexearl.com.au abc
Habitus Loves

Habitus loves… Desks



  Designed by: 

Earl Pinto Why we love it: Out of the ordinary. The Kink desk is nothing if not quirky, like a desk spliced with a lamp. It is beautiful in American maple with built-in light fitting. Where you can get it: Earl Pinto


title    Designed by: 

 Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec for Vitra Why we love it: This simple desk is like a very basic workbench, with beautiful metal legs (with different colour options) and lacquered timber surface. We love its no fuss appearance and quality. Where you can get it: Space Furniture

Writing Desk

title    Designed by: Michael Young for Established & Sons Why we love it: Colourful, playful yet elegant and perfectly formed – this desk by Michael Young is made to hide away in. A built-in light under the ‘roof’ will help you burn the creative midnight oil. Where you can get it: Living Edge  


title  Designed by: 

Abas Design Group Why we love it: Lorca is a strong architectural statement – with its dynamic geometry comes a certainty. You could do serious business at this desk in serious style. Where you can get it: KE-ZU

Utility Table

title    Designed by: 

Owen & Vokes Why we love it: This collaboration between Owen & Vokes and Small Australian Projects is a larger desk for those with a bit more room, but the detailing is perfect – such as the corner detailing where legs meet the tabletop. The 2 pieces can be combined as a large dining table or used separately as desk and table. Where you can get it: Small Australian Projects

Airia Desk

title  Designed by: 

 Kaiju Studios Why we love it: This desk is so many eras melded into one – and it works.  Modern elegance with a touch of old-world charm, the walnut surface works brilliantly with the cast-aluminium legs. Where you can get it: Living Edge

Yves writing desk

title    Designed by: 

 Russell Pinch Why we love it: Solid walnut and the ability to deliver “bespoke” colours for the leather desktop make this writing desk a favourite. It’s the sort of desk that makes you want to pack it all in and write that novel/those poems/the play you’ve always dreamt of. Where you can get it: Pinch Design (UK)

At At

Designed by:

 Tomoko Azumi Why we love it: The clean lines and natural materials of the At At desk represent an honesty in design. The fold-down desk (just 45cm deep when closed) makes it perfect for smaller spaces. Where you can get it: Anibou