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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 Hunters

Habitus Issue 11 – Out Now

We dive into design in Habitus 11, beginning with a selection of international products, the new wave of coat hangers – and rejoice as colour makes a comeback. The personalities we talk to offer an array of inspiration for living in design. Be creatively influenced by NZ fashion icon Marilyn Sainty, to the man behind the cult website theselby.com, artist Lisa Cooper, Philippine fashion designer Rajo Laurel and NZ architect Pete Bossley and his wife, artist Miriam van Wezel.   theselby.com's Todd Selby     We explore projects at opposite ends of the spectrum, and everything in between. From a black and white inner-suburban Sydney masterpiece to a theatrical green house in Indonesia, a compact five-storey shophouse in Bangkok to a sprawling Cedar farmhouse in the South Island of NZ – and more – there’s something for everybody.           See a preview of Issue 11 below. You can pick up your copy in good newsagents and bookstores, including Borders and Magnation. Or subscribe to future issues here for your chance to win 1 of 2 Dream Coffee Machines.     abc
Around The World

Saffire Tasmania

This has to be one of the most spectactular holiday locations we’ve seen in Australia. For Design Hunters™, it has to be the way Saffire sits within the landscape, caressing the contours of its headland location on the Freycinet Peninsula.



The whole resort reaches out to the landscape and ocean views, opening up with huge awnings and expanses of glass from the communal areas and accommodation alike.

The architects, Morris Nunn and Associates have drawn from the surrounding landscapes, making reference to sand dunes, water, and plants and animals.



The roof of the main building – housing the restaurant and lobby area – internally could reflect the movement of waves far out to see, or the flowing sand dunes, but from the air the structure clearly resembles a manta ray.


The interiors, designed by Chada Siembieda, offer a limited colour palette and materials – stone and wood – further echoing the surrounding environment. The array of furniture includes custom-designed and made pieces as well as some design classics.

With the Museum of Old and New Art Pavilions and Saffire Freycinet, Tasmania has two of the most impressive holiday destinations in Australia, proving that the island’s raw beauty is being matched by quality, innovative design.

Definitely worth a trip.


Saffire Freycinet


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LIVE Profile: Hannah Tribe

We caught up with Sydney-based architecture and design firm, Tribe Studio, to find out more about their recent work and how they go about creating homes…


Could you tell us about Tribe, how it came to be, what sort of work you do?

I founded Tribe Studio Architects in 2003. We work at all scales, from urban design to furniture. We're obsessed with houses and housing, and we love to test our ideas through fast-moving projects, like installations and retail.


The Donna Hay General Store


What’s Tribe Studio all about?

Our philosophy is a constantly moving and evolving project in itself.

We have a strong ethical drive, with a commitment to environmental sustainability and providing equitable access to good design.

We’re also really interested in beauty and experimentation. We're interested in economy and excess, asceticism and luxury. I'm a painter, so I can't help but be concerned with colour, texture and composition, while at the same time, we're informed by conceptual work.



What keeps you inspired personally?

I'm really inspired by the fabulous work of my peers. Australia is brimming with architectural talent at the moment, and I'm really excited to see what this generation will build in the next couple of years.


Creating a home for someone else must be a delicate process, how does the relationship between owner/architects generally play out for you?

It is a really intimate process. We, as architects, need to glean specific information about how a client and their family want to live.


To get a great design result, it’s a real collaboration between client and architect... that’s why all our work looks different – it becomes a true reflection of the people who commission it. We have some fantastic clients, who see the architectural process as a means of creating a specific environment for themselves, and also as a means of contributing culturally - of leaving a built legacy. It is exciting for us to work with ambitious clients!


What are the common issues you face when designing a home? How do you overcome them?

Our most common problem is coming up against the inherent conservatism of local councils. We find that their development controls prevent the worst design from being approved, but they also preclude ambitious design by being too prescriptive. This has been particularly problematic with innovative environmental design.

How do we overcome this? Dogged determination. We are also heartened to see some improvement and hope for more!


Could you tell us about some of your favourite houses?

The Shmukler House is Rose Bay [pictured throughout this story] is our most recently completed project. Apart from some hiccups with Council (see above) this house was an absolute joy to design and build, and it is incredibly pleasing to visit our happy clients in the finished product.


Dani and Paul were a delight to work with. They were very clear about their brief and at the same time, they were very excited about discussing architectural intent on a conceptual level. With this project, I feel like we made a house that we could only have made for them; as an expression of their beliefs and to suit their family lifestyle. And that is so incredibly rewarding.


What is your own home like? Could you describe it to us?

My own house is a construction site. The plumbing and electrical has just been roughed in and it's a giant mess!

In a couple of months, it will be an environmentally sustainable, experimental and gorgeous little terrace house. We can't wait.


Do you have any exciting homes coming up? Anything you can tell us about?

We are building a house in Greenwich which is a giant floating wedge, with amazing views, due for completion this year. In Bellevue Hill, we are doing a major project in concrete and stone which is sculptural and delicious.

We’re also doing an absolutely beautiful house for a woman in a wheelchair and her family. She has absolutely impeccable taste, and we are having a great time seamlessly incorporating pragmatic design elements, which address her disability, into the design. It will be a great house.


Tribe Studio Architects


Design Hunters

Lisa Cooper

In the latest issue of Habitus magazine we meet artist Lisa Cooper and talk about the inspiration she has found throughout her career in Architect Adolf Loos. One aspect we found particularly interesting – but which we didn’t get to talk about in the mag – is Lisa’s ‘video portraiture’.

So we thought we’d catch up with her to tell us a little more about her work and her video portraiture exhibition – The Crucible Project…

Read the Inspired article in Issue 11 of Habitus magazine, out now. Available in good book stores and newsagents and on the iPhone and iPad here, or contact us to subscribe or buy back issues.


Habitusliving.com: What exactly is Video Portraiture?

Lisa Cooper: My practice identifies video-portraiture as a unique sub-genre in the field and histories of both portraiture and video art; portraiture, for its quality of direct-address, autonomy and universality: video art for its contemporary relevance and immediacy.


Video Documentation: Anthony Geernaert


I have adopted the term video-portrait to articulate a point of difference between video art in general and my own practice. Video-Portrait refers to a distinct approach to the production and installation of individual, isolated portraits of the human form as pictorial screen presences.


Deciding upon the term ‘video-portraiture’ as an appropriate description of the processes incorporated within The Crucible Project was the result of a study of the genre of portraiture, and a realisation of the metaphysical potential of images in projected light.


The Crucible Project is linked to a history of portraiture and by extension to a history of painting. Equivalence can be found in the application of stasis-movement, tensions-paradoxes and motion-emotion. In painting the expressive and the conceptual are manifest through representational marks where colour, light and texture have as their support surface canvas and wall (and beholder)…


Do you use many different mediums to express your art? Could you tell us a bit about them?

In my practice I favour some materials over others. The predominance of materials is often connected to what I am trying to image. Materials, mediums, things have powerful analogical and metaphorical imperatives and connotations.

In connection with an idea or motivation – for work – the medium is mostly dictated by the intrinsic qualities of the material. Because I am drawn somewhat repetitiously to imaging or counterfeiting emotional states – another kettle of fish – the materials that I choose are also somewhat repetitious or recurrent.


Could you describe your studio/working space to us?

My studio is difficult to enter at the moment. Every surface, including the floor, is taken up with ‘pressed’ red roses. I have been working on a new video project working with flora and have decided to create assemblages with the flowers (after the composition is constructed and filmed), large scale works in ‘pressed’ flowers, a kind of pictorial continuance of their ‘lives’.


My studio is a room and sunroom in my home. I can start early, and finish late…

I always have meetings at the café, to get me out of the space occasionally. On long days my partner calls me ‘little Edie’ (see Grey Gardens documentary).


Is there a particular work that stands out as particularly memorable/a favorite?

The opening of [the Sydney Theatre Company production] War of the Roses was a pretty incredible moment. My psychic (Pam Bradbury, amazing) had said to me ‘it will all be gold’ [the future] with great emphasis… I sat, absolutely motionless for about an hour and a half, watching a deluge of gold (foil) fall without a break over the head of Cate Blanchett wearing my crown. It was the new and immense context for a piece that I had worked on for so long in isolation that was the amazing part. 


That is what I like the most, when my work is away from the context of me. By far the most exciting work is the one I am yet to make.


From where do you draw inspiration?

Truly, from everywhere, all that I remember and all that I can imagine, all that I’ve seen read heard and felt.


Could you tell us about any upcoming exhibitions/works?

A collection of gold ‘wings’ made up of thousands of tiny leaves.


A new video project: ‘trade’ the filmed construction of elaborate and over-scaled flower compositions (that link to the symbolism of still life painting from the Italian Renaissance)

Flower compositions in ‘pressed’ still life.

I am currently looking for spaces to show these new works.

Pick up issue 11 of Habitus now to read more about this inspiring artist.


Lisa Cooper



Derryn Tal: Waxing Lyrical

Derryn Tal was recently awarded the Premio Ercole D’Este in Ferrara Italy and, following her successful group showing in New York Last year, will now present her latest body of work featuring new materials and techniques for the artist.

Works in sculpture, acrylic panels and wax and oil paintings will be on show in the exhibition at the Depot Gallery on Danks St in Sydney.


A series of miniature wax and oil paintings will be shown alongside new sculptures in steel and aluminium exploring the artist’s thoughts on the relationship between landscape and the figurative form. Also, showing for the first time, will be Derryn’s collection of acrylic panels – acrylic paint on photographic emulsion paper.




Derryn has an extensive body of work held within private and corporate collections as well as creating rugs – for Designer Rugs – a postage stamp for Australia and illustrated children’s books and calendars.

There will be over 25 works on show and all available to buy, ranging from $400 - $7000. Get along from 5 – 9 April 2011 to experience the true beauty of these works.


Derryn Tal

HS Consulting

Design Hunters

Robert Plumb Launch

It was a casual affair at the new Robert Plumb showroom as the company celebrated the launch of their revamped showroom and new catalogue with Design Hunters™. Take a look at the picture from the evening below.

For more information on the new catalogue and ranges visit the website here. There's also 30% off on a huge range of products for the rest of March.


Robert Plumb


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Penthouse Mouse

While sleek models take sultry strides down the catwalk, flouncing their sleeves and skirts into a storm of flashing cameras, Penthouse Mouse (PHM) is busy exploring the darker side of fashion.

In past years PHM has targeted near-demolished buildings and desolate spaces around Collingwood, South Yarra and Melbourne city, filling them with temporary life, in the form of local fashion designers, artists and Fashion Festival punters.

This year PHM turned its discerning eye away from the traditional Melbourne grid, to the swish shores of the Docklands.


Has the Dockland’s been around long enough to have a deserted space to spare? You may well ask. Well PHM managed to find it, in the form of Shed 4.


The beauty of this wide and open, yet slightly dark and dank space, perched at the end of a rather windy pier-side walk, is the boundless array of space – both on a lateral and longitudinal plane.


Where, in past years, art installations and unconventional visual merchandising has taken over broom closets, lonely store rooms and glassed in squash courts, this year saw local artists and designers play with height, installing streaming lengths of curtain, as well as circus tents (which on closer inspection turned out to be dressing rooms), falling from the warehouse ceilings, down, down, down to the raw concrete flooring.


Every year sees an exciting line-up of local emerging designers, some of which are launching their first ever collections with Penthouse Mouse.

This year was no exception, with Western Australian designers taking part, through the From Here To There initiative.

Other PHM first timers included Above., Upper Left Arm, Jolet.

However the aptly named False Economy store, through which you can buy up every last item, stayed open until Sunday evening last week, before it closed down to make way for a full week of Fashion Festival events.

It’s still possible to investigate the work of all those fabulous fashion designers here.

It will definitely be worth booking tickets to the Offsite runway shows this Saturday.


Penthouse Mouse

L’Oreal Melbourne Fashion Festival

Design Hunters

Meeting Dinosaur Designs

The word ‘Extinct’ is printed in bone letters on the door of a small shop just off Elizabeth Street in Sydney’s Strawberry Hills. As I’m invited past the familiar objects on the ground floor I climb the stairs to the top of the old warehouse to meet the pair behind one of Australia’s most recognised design brands.

Sitting with Stephen Ormandy and Louise Olsen of Dinosaur Designs, it becomes clear that these are two people who have as much passion for what they do now as they did 25 years ago when manning a small jewellery stall at the local markets – along with co-founder Liane Rossler.

“We feel honoured and lucky to be a part of this company,” Stephen says, “because it’s grown into something we never imagined possible for us.”




Dinosaur Designs’ unique style has been “finetuned” over the years, but they’ve always stayed true to their original concept – a raw aesthetic that alludes to prehistoric forms.

Although the exact nature of the process is closely guarded, resin remains the core material of their works. Their unique casting techniques and themed collections keep them at the forefront of Australian design.


Following the success of their ‘Bones’ collection they are about to release their latest collection ‘Insects’. The result of extensive research into the structure, movement and colour of a range of insects, the new collection offers a vibrant range of jewellery and homewares.


“We went back and looked into the history of insects and how insect impacted on many cultures, particularly the Egyptians,” Louise explains.

“The insects pop up all the time,” says Stephen, “they’re a constant source of amusement for us and they’re always there.”

The collection draws on everything from dragonfly wings and cicadas to scarabs and centipedes. ‘Insects’ reflects the deep passion these two still have for their work.


“We’ve been working with this material for 25 years now and I think with that and with working in design for so long, you really do start to finetune in many ways, but the challenge also is to keep fresh and inventive at the same time,” Louise says. “So keeping that balance and that life-force through it has been important.”

Dinosaur Designs now have 5 stores, including their ‘Extinct’ store and a new location in New York, as well as an online store.

Another great tip straight from Stephen and Louise; they’ve got an eBay store with one-of-a-kind pieces, samples and curated collections.


Dinosaur Designs



Temple from Designed Blinds Australia

It’s a 30-year history of innovative fabric design and experience in developing groundbreaking window furnishings that help Designed Blinds Australia create beautiful products such as the new TEMPLE fabric collection.

Designed by Kevin Clarke, Designed Blinds Australia founder and chief designer, this new collection has a wide range of applications across their BEACH and INIKA roman blinds, LOGIC roller blinds and GLIDE panel blinds.


Woven from the latest multi-coloured yarn, TEMPLE offers a unique combination of colour and texture and the outstanding quality for which Designed Blinds Australia is renowned.

TEMPLE is made for the demands of the harsh Australian climate, with amplified yarn thickness adding weight, texture and durability, while Duraguard® fabric protection helps TEMPLE to resist stains.


Visually, metallic thread is used to add lustre and interest to the fabric designs. The fabrics come in both translucent and blockout versions with 9 different colours in translucent and 5 in blockout – including Cotton White, Limed White, Soft Dove, Linen, Stepney, Natural Stone, Moroccan Dusk, Sesame and Charcoal. The fabrics are available in 2800mm width.

TEMPLE is available exclusively from selected Designed Blinds Australia flagship stores and distributors. To find your nearest TEMPLE stockist call 1300 322 254.


Designed Blinds Australia



Rado D-Star Basel Special 2011

We recently brought your 8 of our favourite watch designs in our Habitus Loves section, but we couldn’t fit them all in (as much as we wanted to) so we thought we’d bring you another of our favourites, and the latest from Swiss watchmaker, Rado.

The company was the first watchmaker to introduce a scratch-resistant watch – the DiaStar back in 1962 – and it is still produced today. Now, paying tribute to the original, the company have unveiled the Rado D-Star Basel Special 2011 – a watch that combines innovative materials with the highest craftsmanship.

The new watch represents a fusion of two very different materials, with a beautiful rubber watch bracelet and high-tech ceramics in the iconic elliptical case and on the clasp.



Of course, the D-Star Basel features the highest-quality automatic mechanism, with chronograph movement – unusually thin – and tachymeter delivering the precision for which Rado is renowned. 

The design and configuration of the watch face offer a clear and simple layout. A white-on-black aesthetic makes time and date easy to read.

The D-Star Basel Special 2011 is available in a limited edition run of just 1111.

There’s just something about Rado watches that says ‘cool’, but it’s also good to know that they value design so highly and that it’s not all about bling. Once again, it’s worth also checking out their collaborations with Jasper Morrison – so beautiful.




Habitus Loves

Habitus Loves… Coffee


Kapu Coffee Scoop


Designed by:
Teemu Karhunen

Why we love it: This little coffee scoop doubles as a clip for your coffee bean bag. Beautiful construction from wood gives it an organic, natural feel. Scoop in style!

Where you can get it:

Finish Design Shop

Single Origin Coffee



Product Custodians (do you like that?):  Single Origin

Why we love it: These guys have a really nice café in Sydney which turns out some pretty great coffee. But for those of you who can’t pop down for a cup, you can buy a selection of their Certifies Organic, Fairtrade, Rainforest Alliance, Farmer Direct or Forest Friendly beans.

Where you can get it:

Single Origin

Bolle Coffee Table



Designed by: Nathan Yong

Why we love it: This collection of small circles hints at a cluster of tables, but is in fact just one beautifully formed coffee table. One for your cup, one for your spoon

Where you can get it:

Space Furniture


Designed by: OTTO Espresso (based on the original Atomic by Giordano Robbiati)

Why we love it: This “little guy” follows the design aesthetic of Giordano Robbiati’s original Atomic, but totally reinvents the internal workings and uses steel. There’s a real weight to this stovetop espresso machine that smacks of long-lasting quality.

Where you can get it:

Habitusliving.com Shop

Helena Sugar Bowl



Designed by: Georg Jensen

Why we love it: We love the mix of stainless steel and the creamy lid of this sugar bowl. It almost feels like it would taste sweet (please don’t lick it if you see it in a store)!

Where you can get it:

Top3 by Design

Citiz from Nespresso


Designed by: Nespressso

Why we love it: This is the lazy-person’s coffee machine, but we love its simple compact form and the consensus is that it makes really good coffee. Nespresso have also really stepped up the design stakes with their recent cup collection.

Where you can get it:


Keep Cup


Designed by: Cobalt Niche

Why we love it: This great idea has maintained its buzz since it was launched in 2009 and has remained, for us, the best resolved of the reusable coffee cups out there right now.

Where you can get it:

Keep Cup

Thermo Coffee Flask



Designed by: Jörg Boner

Why we love it: This cute thermos and mugs makes for a great tea or coffee companion. We love the little button detail – makes us smile.

Where you can get it:

We can’t find it for sale, so another Design Hunter™ challenge, but click below for more info.


The Merimbula House

We’ve got another beautiful beach holiday home for you (our beloved readers, followers and Design Hunters™). We’ve featured a fair few in recent times, from Andrew Maynard’s minimalist-yet-modern interpretation of the beach shack to the uplifting architectural statement that is the Beached House.

The reason we love a beach house so much is that it reflects the way so many of us would like to live; it evokes feeling of relaxation and childhood memories and something other than the everyday. So when we came across this amazing holiday house by Collins and Turner we knew it was one worth sharing.



“I used to spend summer in Merimbula with my cousins at a family holiday house on Merimbula Lake so know the area well,” Penny Collins tells us. “The [owners] stay there with friends and go to the nearby surf beaches and play golf, and the house is also regularly let out to holidaymakers.”

The home, designed for Penny’s cousin, sits so well in the coastal landscape without losing the architectural intent. Inspired by the driftwood fences and dune grasses of the surrounding land there is softness to the building that suggests it’s been there for quite some time.


This is due in no small part to the grey-stained blackbutt weatherboards used for the external cladding and internally for wall linings.

“[The house is] positioned on a headland between the lake and the ocean. The frameless glass takes in the water views to the south and captures northern sun at the rear,” Penny explains.


Neighbouring houses to the east shade the house, eliminating the need for roof overhangs on this side while large cantilevers protect the west facing glass.
On the upper level a glass pavilion seems little obstacle to the views beyond and offers a space to connect with the landscape even when the South Coast weather turns.

In fact, Penny notes this as her favourite aspect of the property: “watching the ocean weather transform the sky with all is personalities, across the bay towards Victoria on the distant horizon.”

Inside, the home is furnished with a collection of new furniture and marimekko soft fabrics (in the bedrooms), as well as the owners’ own furniture. “The Eames aluminium group table and chairs might seem out of place in a holiday house, however they have sentimental value as they belonged to [their] grandparents, and are sturdy and comfortable.”



“The muted tones of the sofas from Anibou, curtains and sisal rug make the furniture a comfortable backdrop that doesn’t compete with the view.”

At night the black ceiling of the glass living room pavilion disappears, belnding into the night sky, completing the ‘lightness’ of this home in the landscape.

A home at the beach – magical.


Collins and Turner Architects


Photography generously supplied by Simon Whitbread


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