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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Design Hunters

Design Hunter™ Profile: Katherine Lu

When we were looking for a photographer for our recent story in Habitus magazine on the Ang House the architects, Chenchow Little, recommended Katherine Lu, who had previously taken shots of their Freshwater House.

If you enjoyed the story in Habitus (page 121), then read on to learn more about Katherine’s approach.


How did you get started as a photographer?

I picked up photography when I was in high school when my art teacher gave me the keys to the darkroom so I could spend as much time in there as I wanted. I suppose I developed an interest in printing in the darkroom as much as an interest in photography itself.



After uni, I studied at Ultimo TAFE for 2 years and came out wanting to assist as soon as I could. I went through all the architectural magazines and found photographers' whose work I admired and contacted them asking for work and if possible, feedback on my shots. At the same time, I approached clients I wanted to shoot for with my portfolio and started working with them to photograph their projects.


How does photographing a home differ from, say, photographing a landscape?

I always feel like there's a need to bring back the human element into shots of houses. They are, after all, built for people. Unfortunately sometimes shooting houses with people in them also means that they tend to feel a little self conscious so the challenge is always to make them feel comfortable in their own home.



In architectural photography, there's always a degree of control in order to make things look good for the magazine. With landscapes, I tend to let nature do its thing. In that sense I approach in a photo-journalistic way where I am only there to document it, not orchestrate it.


Could you tell us about your favourite house shoot?

Ang house by Chenchow little. The owners, Simon and Esther, made us pizza from scratch and at the same time, I was able to capture those wonderful natural shots with them and their favourite pastime. Plus I got to eat the pizza afterwards!




If you had just one shot left on your camera and could snap anything in the world, what and where would it be?

It could be anywhere but would have to be that moment of sunshine straight after a thunderstorm. There's something strangely beautiful about that brief moment of intense yellow light against a dark grey sky that can make even the most boring subject look interesting. Although having only one shot left would make me extremely nervous.


What makes you a Design Hunter™?

I constantly need to search for something to collect. Whether it be vintage marimekko fabrics, some odd-looking cup or old photography books. There's so much more satisfaction from having to trawl through flea markets and pages of eBay than simply walking into a shop and getting it off the shelf.


Where do you find inspiration?

Mostly from travelling. Being out of my comfort zone with no sense of familiarity allows me to see things differently and brings about a novelty of something new everyday. The addiction to travel mostly comes from reading a lot of food blogs and knowing that I have to go to that country to try the exact same dish!




How do you go about differentiating your shots from the others on the pages of glossy magazines?

I don't like my shots to be too perfect or overly contrived. I like to know that the slight imperfections and a silent, inhabited feel to the image remind people that the shots are grounded in real life. It could be a chair that's off centre, or a bit of mess on the kitchen table.



Katherine Lu

Around The World

Great Dane Nordic Tour

Do you love Scandinavian design? Ever dreamt of travelling to Helsinki, Stockholm and Reykjavik with a knowledgeable design guide? Well, now’s your chance.

Australia’s Great Dane Furniture have partnered with travel company 50 Degrees North to offer an 18-day tour of the Nordic region, led by Owner and Director of Great Dane and a leading expert in Scandinavian furniture, Anton Assaad (whose home we featured in issue 08 of Habitus magazine).


Hans Wegner

The tour will take in Helsinki – where guests will learn more about the life, architecture and design of Alvar Aalto – before trying out glass blowing in Fiskars Ironworks Village and tour, then taking in Turku, sailing to Stockholm and visiting the small down of Gustavsberg and the ‘Design House Stockholm’. The tour will then head to Iceland and the best of the country’s young designers at Iceland Design Centre.


The trip will also take in the most beautiful natural environments this part of the world has to offer.

The adventure begins in Sydney, Brisbane, Melbourne or Perth heading to Helsinki via Bangkok. All flights are included (business class of course!), as well as accommodation and some meals. For the full details and inclusions visit the 50 Degrees North website.

The trip is from 20 August – 6 September 2011 and starts at AU$21,450 per person twin share. Contact info@fiftydegreesnorth.com to get involved. Places are strictly limited.


Great Dane

50 Degrees North


Making Sydney Iconic

Last year we profiled a new little company based out of Melbourne, turning the city’s icons into homewares. Well, Make Me Iconic are back again in 2011 with their new range of designs from Melbourne’s northern rival, Sydney.     These latest designs capture the city’s rail network on everything from cushions to tea towels, while other quintessential Sydney locations, such as the Bondi Pavilion can be yours as a print, or even on a mug! There’s something nice about Australians celebrating their icons for themselves that’s really empowering and a lot of fun. While these wares will no doubt have an export market (in the suitcases of tourists that is), but they’d be equally at home, well, at home!       You can check out the full range of Sydney and Melbourne icons on the Make me Iconic website. Make Me Iconic and habitusliving.com are giving 5 people the chance to win a prize pack (valued at $112) from the new Sydney collection. Each pack includes a cushion and tea towel with Sydney icons. To win, you just need to fill in the form below and tell us in 25 words or less, your most memorable Sydney experience.   Make Me Iconic makemeiconic.comabc

Art + Architecture 11

Starting today 10 February, 19 Architects and 19 Artists will exhibit works at the Boutwell Draper Gallery, continuing a tradition of bringing the professions together in this exciting gallery space.

“Each architect is to present two works,” says James Draper, “one being a real home – one that is to be constructed or under construction or one that has been recently finished – and one being their ideal home.”


These representations will be everything from sketches, drawings and photographs to models or house sites. Alongside these works, Boutwell Draper has curated a selection of artworks, which complement – whether in concept, colour, shape or theme – the works of the Architects.



The exhibition features some of Sydney’s most respected Architects – including Peter Stutchbury, Luigi Rosselli and L-a-v-a – and Artists – such as Catherine O’Donnell, David Palliser and William MacKinnon.

We love this continued commitment by the gallery to nurturing the ‘art of architecture’ with their yearly standout exhibitions working with architects. So if you’re in Sydney, we can definitely recommend you get along before the exhibition ends on 26 February.

See the full list of architects and artists below.

Boutwell Draper Gallery

Andrew Burges
Collins and Turner
David Boyle
Environa Studio
James Stockwell
Luigi Rosselli
Peter Stutchbury
Plus Minus Design
Scale Architecture
Stanisic Associates
Stephen Collier
Tony Caro
Tribe Studio
Virginia Kerridge
Welsh + Major

Ben Frost
Catherine ODonnell
Catherine Woo
David Palliser
David Ralph
David Stephenson
Euan Heng
Farrell and Parkin
Gavin Hurley
Ian Hamilton Finlay
Ingo Kleinert
John Martin
Katherine Hattam
Louise Forthun
Pamela See
Peter Daverington
Richard Woldendorp
Ulrich Ruckriem
William MacKinnon


Design Hunters

FARM of Singapore

FARM came to our attention most recently with their amazing installation at the National Museum in Singapore called ‘The Tree’. The young design and architecture firm are making waves in Singapore and getting noticed across the globe for their open approach and exciting projects. The firm is involved in countless activities in Singapore, from events – such as Stamp 01 and 02 post box painting competition – as well as retailing through their online store and connecting the community through their online magazine. We wanted to learn a little more about what they do and how they came to be, so we spent a bit of time with the gang behind FARM getting to now them a bit better.   What's the story of FARM? FARM started from ROJAK, really. A bunch of us had just graduated from architecture school and before settling into what we supposed was a conventional bread-and-butter job, we were just keen to find out more about the local creative industry; not just the architectural fraternity, but all the other creative disciplines out there - your graphic, fashion, product designers, photographers, filmmakers etc.   So with that simple curiosity in mind, we organised a little house party called 'ROJAK', where we invited some of our friends in the creative/arts industry, and their friends, and their friends' friends to just simply come and share their recent work and projects. The turnout was unexpectedly huge! Needless to say, everyone thoroughly enjoyed themselves. It was all very hippy, bohemian, chilled-out party. From there, we got to know a few good folks, who trusted us and gave us our first small interior projects. Very slowly, with baby steps, we grew and took on more things and projects.   Your recent project 'The Tree' received a lot of international attention, where did the idea come from and wat do you think captured people's imaginations? The bunch of us was having a night out at one of the National Museum's regular outdoor film screenings called "Under the Banyan Tree", aptly held under the Museum's grand old tree.     We were struck by the magic spell it (the huge tree) cast over the crowd. When approached by the National Museum for an outdoor installation for their annual Night Festival event, we immediately knew we had to allude somehow to that majestic tree. Besides an immediately recognisable symbol, 'The Tree' is also a playground of sorts, a playground that reacts to you - you can step and jump on it, make noises, and the various lights on the tre will 'listen' and react to you, pulsating to the varying sound levels. It awakens the child in all of us.   You have an online store, could you tell us a little about this and the product featured? The online store is one of our newest baby, and had started operating just some months ago. The store is chiefly a collection of products we designed and curated together with two of our national museums - The National Museum of Singapore (NMS) and Singapore Art Museum (SAM). They are 'products with a local colour' in the sense that we tried to do stuff that are either designed by locally based designers or products that hopefully can capture the peculiarities and particularities that is Singapore. It's our first foray into product-making and merchandising and it's been extremely exciting.   Could you briefly explain the idea behind Rojak? 10 different creatives from varied discipline. 10 slides. 10 minutes each. Present, share, talk, and maybe collaborate. ROJAK provides a casual, chilled, no-frills atmosphere for creatives to openly share their ideas and works. We think there's alot of crazy creative work going on here locally, but without a platform/time/space, one might not have noticed them.       When will you hold the next Rojak event? Soon! The next ROJAK, our 17th edition will be held on 18 February.   You work across a number of disciplines, does this make like easier/more difficult? It makes life and things different, always slightly more interesting, and sometimes unexpected! We like to be surprised ourselves alot. We kept the studio very horizontal and open, so that anyone with good (or even bad) ideas can contribute freely, and who knows, where sometimes these crazy little ideas will lead us.   360 Kiosks Project   JAMS Project   What's your design philosophy? We believe in having fun! Really! We believe that good things happen when people are having fun and enjoying what they are doing.   HIDE&SEEK   Can you tell us a little about what's coming up in 2011? Things will get a little exciting in 2011. We will be seeing a few of our first architectural projects being completed! The fruit of several years of gestation of our labour. Our first ever architectural project, a 6-storey residential apartment, is about to be completed and we are also looking to finishing quite a number of private houses come 2011. We started our 1st boutique hotel project in 2010, and this too, will soon be finished. After that, we'd be working to convert another old charming pre-war building into a hotel. On the smaller scale of sculptural installation, we are in the midst of designing and developing our 3rd outdoor installation for an office complex. It promises to be a lot of fun! FARM farm.sg abc

Converse loves Marimekko

A little while ago we announced that Finnish design company, marimekko, would be collaborating with shoe manufacturer Converse. Well, they’ve landed, and we thought we’d show them to you (thanks to CoolHunting for bringing it to our attention).   There’s a range of classic prints on everything from high-top All Stars to the new exclusive Jack Purcell Helen Marimekko shoe. We love the black and white triangle Kirppu print in the high-tops and the colourful purple/orange Tarha prints in the low Chucks.   Converse have become renowned for their collaborations and quirky designs. Their cult status affords them the room to play with their classic shape and style, offering artists and designers a blank canvas. It’s worth checking out this great documentary on ‘the making of’ the collaboration below: These shoes also come in a matching Marimekko print bag – so cool! The designs are currently available in the US only, but will hopefully ship to the rest of the world soon (a Design Hunter™ challenge to get a pair before they launch here!).     Converse converse.com Marimekko marimekko.com abc
Design Hunters

Will and Caro

It took a chance birthday gift to inspire William Du and Carolyn Wong to abandon careers in product design and science respectively and pursue their own creative endeavours.

“We both knew that there was something more that we needed to do,” William says.

Their first basic idea was to create a scrapbook frame, which they marketed to kindergartens and received a lukewarm response.

In 2009, a friend bought Carolyn a box of chiyogami, the delicate silkscreened Japanese paper. She began folding butterflies, a cherished pastime from her childhood.


“I was thinking, why don’t you put them in a frame?” William recalls. “That’s how it started – it was a huge long trail and it came to that.”

The pair entered Art Melbourne 2010 at the very last minute on a whim – and the response, as William describes it, was “surreal.”

“We couldn’t believe it. We had two pieces commissioned, and were picked up by several galleries, including Rebecca Hossack Gallery in London. We’ve sold artworks in New York, Toronto and London, and that’s just within a few months.”


The inspiration for Will & Caro’s pieces come from nature. “Nature is the best designer and the best artist,” William says.

The artwork consists primarily of handmade paper, such as Nepalese wax paper and washi, a handmade silkscreened Japanese paper.


“We like to use a lot of texture as well, play on movement and shadow,” William adds.

Each piece is a subtle celebration of the traditional, simple and handmade.

“We’re losing paper. Everything is becoming so technologically-driven that the personal touch of paper is disappearing. It’s losing that intimacy and simplicity that it used to have,” William says.  

Next up for Will & Caro is Art Melbourne 2011 and a solo show at Sydney’s Butler Goode Gallery, which is sure to bring the up-and-coming pair even more attention.


Will & Caro
willandcaro.com abc


The Haines House

‘Give us space, light and expansive views to trees and sky’ – this is essentially the brief given to Architect Christopher Polly for this substantial renovation and extension of an existing single story semi-detached inner-city home.

The house reflects the needs of a young family of 4, while developing connections with ‘borrowed’ landscapes and a new rear garden.


“The new open plan rear volume was grafted to the existing rear wall of the front 3-room portion of the house,” explains Polly, “via a mediating 500mm wide, low-pitched roof section.”

“Keeping the original front house and centrally-located bathroom allowed old and new fabric to stitch,” he says – while an “alternating sequence of compression and expansion” of spaces created a series of rooms off the narrow hall and the front “cellular” 3-room layout.


This front portion then shifts in scale and height towards the open living, dining and kitchen spaces at the rear. These spaces provide a great deal of flexibility for the young family, enabling “vital separation of adult and children functions”.



“The rear open-plan kitchen, dining and family volume can provide a ‘day’ space for meal preparation, eating and expansive enjoyment of the rear garden, while the family room can be used as an ‘evening’ space for watching TV, relaxation and separation from utilities,” Polly says.



There’s something about the journey through this home that tells an evolving story, ‘stitched’ into the fabric of the building. In a sweeping transmutation, the original lean-tos at the rear of the home have been replaced by spacious, light-filled and open spaces that reveal themselves to the outside, while the pitched roof opens the home to the sky.




When we ask Polly what his favourite elements of the home are, he has almost has too many to mention: “I love the cantilevered black concrete terrace slab; the comfort enabled by the high thermal insulation within the roof, ceiling and walls; the lightness of the vertical steel plates that bridge the high and low roofs along the eastern edge; the pocket-concealed timber-framed sliding doors and the gold painted interior of the outside toilet, the list goes on”.

Spoken with the passion of an Architect and a ‘details man’.


Christopher Polly Architect


Photographs: Brett Boardman Photography

Design Hunters

The Habitus Cover Competition

With 10 issues of Habitus magazine in your collection, we thought it was time you told us the cover you liked most of all. Let us know and you could win a great prize package worth over $900, featuring –
  • A Mondaine Swiss Railways Watch
  • A Playsam Airliner
  • And a 2-year subscription to Habitus magazine
Take a look at the covers in the gallery below (click the thumbnails to enlarge) then vote for your favourite and answer the creative question for your chance to win. Good luck and thanks for continuing the design hunt with us. To order back issues email subscriptions@indesign.com.au.   10 Issues, 10 Covers     abc
Around The World

Alila Diwa Goa

Majorda Beach in South Goa is a true jewel in India’s crown. With its sweeping vistas across the Arabian Sea it was the ideal location for one of the renowned Alila group hotels.

Welcome Alila Diwa Goa, with its 114 guest rooms and suites over three levels taking in the views and the relaxed, stress free environment of lush paddy fields and coastal perfection.


The sensitive and rich mix of contemporary Indian design with traditional craftsmanship is the handiwork of Stapati Architects and Plub Design. The resort offers a range of accommodation from terrace rooms to loft apartments and full suites.




As with all Alila hotels the resort uses mainly local materials while preserving the natural environment – an important part of the appeal of the natural landscapes in which they are often located.

This beautiful resort features all you need for a relaxing and, of course, luxurious escape, including a huge infinity pool reaching out to the ocean as well as restaurants and bars including The Spice Studio, VIVO and The Edge Bar and Lounge.


Alila Diwa Goa is the perfect place to begin or end your Indian adventure in style, luxury and relaxation.


Alila Diwa Goa



Dougal Haslem at Pieces of Eight

Dougal Haslem is a qualified and experienced gold and silversmith who has turned his hand to creating miniature anthropomorphic and zoomorphic mechanical creations.



In the first exhibition at the new Pieces of Eight Gallery and a debut exhibition for Dougal, his pieces, made from cogs and other mechanical parts, will beg the question ‘will that move?’




These little creatures have so much personality and thanks to their first commissioned animation, Pieces of Eight Gallery have actually brought them to life (check it out below).


“The finished pieces themselves are a hybrid between stasis and mobility,” say Pieces of Eight Gallery. “They look like little machines that do not perform a function but are full of personality and evoke a reaction of intrigue and curiosity in the viewer.”

This first exhibition for the new gallery and for Dougal will run from 1 February – 12 March 2011.




Pieces of Eight Gallery
28 Russell Place Melbourne


Beached House

What is a holiday home? Is it an escape? A home away from home? Or is it more ephemeral, an attitude? Well, all these things and more if you ask us. While not all of us are lucky enough to have our own holiday home, it’s always so refreshing to see a well-designed getaway.

For BKK Architects it was the journey from city to holiday house that informed the concept of Beached House.



“Entering this home begins with the decision to leave the city,” tells BKK Architects’ Julian Kosloff.

“The recurring ritual that plays out in the journey to the holiday home is integral to the conception of this house: the car and its contained interior; the stop off for provisions in the last town before arrival; getting out and unchaining the entry gate before driving onto the site; the wall that confronts them, the view denied; the welcoming gesture of the front portal wedge; and the final release to the view as one enters the main living spaces.”



The design of the home is described as “an exercise in volumetric origami” – a phrase which seems to describe perfectly the ‘folded’ spaces of the building, whether viewed from inside or out. The origami elements are anchored by the large masonry wall, which creates a spine for the building.


The unique internal spaces, with their angles and orientations, offer unusual framed vistas out to the landscape beyond. The home has been sited to work with prevailing weather and to capture the views creating “a sense that the home has been washed ashore and then embedded into the terrain, anchored against the elements”.


“Builders will always have ‘smoko’ in the most sheltered spot they can find,” Kosloff explains. “It was interesting to watch them occupy imaginary deck spaces before they were built. These casual occupations confirmed the climate analysis we’d done to determine the most appropriate spaces for outdoor recreation.”


These outdoor spaces offer both shelter and unique views of the landscape and the architecture.

We can’t think of anything better than lying in that beautiful bath, seeing the pool reach out to, appearing to almost touch, the coastal waters beyond.


There are a few magical houses we come across at habitusliving.com, those that are a perfect mix of simplicity and complex elements, those that engage intelligently with views and those that create liveable spaces. This is one of those gems.


BKK Architects


Photography by Peter Bennetts


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