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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Architecture
Homes
MAGAZINE

Langkawi House

Langkawi refers to an archipelago of 99 sun-soaked tropical islands scattered roughly off the north-west coast of peninsula Malaysia at the point where the south Andaman Sea meets the Straits of Malacca. The main island of this group is also simply known as Langkawi and has been declared a UNESCO Geopark due to its natural habitat and a unique geology and biodiversity.

My first visit to Langkawi was on an architectural school trip in 1981, when the island had but a single bus, hardly any cars and no hotels. Getting to the island was via a slightly irregular ferry service (actually just a boat holding 50-60 people) from Kuala Kedah on the mainland. I have fond memories of walking the main street, which as little more than a metaled footpath, in the principal town of Kuah and not seeing a single car for miles.

Alas, in the ensuing almost three decades, Langkawi has been developed and today boasts modern concrete buildings, an international airport, numerous luxury marinas, a host of five-star hotels and resorts and a duty-free status to boot (meaning some of the products of contemporary Western living, such as cars and alcohol, are cheap and aplenty).

Fast forward to 2007 and we have Angela and Bob, a retired British couple, falling in love with the island. Bob’s previous career in advertising had enabled him to visit a number of exotic destinations around world over.

When I met the couple over tea recently, Bob explained how he had kept a checklist of all the places he had visited, to determine which one – come the day – would be the most suitable place to retire to. At the end of the exercise, Langkawi had the most number of ticked boxes.

Ironically, the partial development of Langkawi was somewhat of a plus to the couple. As Bob explained to me, “Although retired, I am occasionally called up by my ex-employer and other friends in the industry to help with difficult projects. Overseas travel is convenient with an international airport literally in our backyard… the modernisation of Langkawi is not all in vain.”

Apart from the obvious beauty of the landscape and the agreeable climate, another advantage as far as Angela and Bob were concerned was the Malaysia, My Second Home scheme. This government initiative not only encourages foreign retirees to move to Malaysia, but then also provides a support network and a number of incentives if you do so.

Through a mutual friend, the couple got in touch with Building Bloc, a young husband and wife architect team based in Kuala Lumpur, to design their dream home. The brief the client couple gave the designer couple was simple: “Give us a timber house.”

Wen Hsia and Boo Chung run a comparatively small practice, undertaking selected projects for discerning clients. When faced with the task of designing a timber house for Angela and Bob, they did not want to settle for just another timber house – it had to be different. Something that touches the soul; a home that not only provides shelter for its occupants but also respects nature and its resources.

Design and construction

When Hsia and Chung presented their unique idea of a timber house – one that made primarily of recycled electric poles – Angela and Bob listened. The idea seemed plausible – these timbers would be solid, hardy and well seasoned but not necessarily cheap. The next few meetings over the course of six months were spent fine-tuning the design and getting the budget sorted out.

But major obstacles remained: finding suitable timbers for the house in the required quantity, as well as a knowledgeable and sensitive builder who could translate the design into its built form. Hsia and Chung accompanied the clients traversing three states to source the timber – literally the whole of northern peninsula Malaysia. Their search paid off when they located a timber yard in the town of Alor Setar, which had stockpiled a large quantity of these disused poles from the national power company.

Meanwhile, a number of builders were shortlisted and interviewed, some from as far away as Kuala Lumpur. The chosen builder, while not the cheapest, did have good credentials and also happened to be a local from the island.

Thus began the construction of a unique house sitting atop a little hillock, surrounded by lush tropical greenery and kampong houses in the valley below. It took close to 18 months to complete, with monthly – and at times fortnightly – site meetings with the builders, often working out construction details on the spot. As time progressed, the architects and the clients felt lucky to have the builders’ experience, which contributed to the exercise and helped them in realising their design.

The experience

When I visited Angela and Bob recently, what struck me first was the tranquillity of the countryside surrounding the house. You drive through a narrow kampong road arriving at a gate that hints at something remarkable beyond. But nothing is visible, save for a narrow uphill driveway that disappears around the bend.

From the covered garage (upstairs is a reconstructed kampong house that now serves as Bob’s workshop), the house proper is reached via a set of steep steps made of poles leftover from building the house. And when you reach the top – level with the house – there’s another surprise: almost the entire house at grade level is completely open on the two long sides. One’s eye is drawn immediately to the breathtaking countryside that slopes steeply away from the house on the opposite side.

The living space is a large open area overlooking a pool that runs the full length of the house. On each side of the pool are deck areas, with the same timber poles echoing throughout the spaces.

The kitchen is the only area that has any modernity to it, with gas stoves, built-in ovens and other appliances. It even has an air-conditioner for those balmy afternoons, the only space in the entire house to do so. Apart from the mod-con fittings, this space too is simple, with fair-faced brick walls, concrete open shelves for storage and a concrete island worktop with period-style sink. Remnants of the residents’ native country are the custom designed taps – all the original brass stopcocks in the house were purchased from a junkyard in Great Britain.

A single flight of stairs, again in the same timber poles, are suspended from the first floor using steel rods, leads to the upper floor. The entire upper floor has open balconies running the full length on the two long sides of the house.  One side overlooks the pool below and the countryside beyond, visible for miles on a clear sunny day.

The centre third of the floor acts as a family area and is simply furnished with an assortment of antique furniture and a beautiful raised divan as the centrepiece.

On either end are the sleeping quarters: one is occupied by the huge master bedroom, while on the opposite side, two smaller (but still spacious) rooms share the remaining third of the floor. Each bedroom has its own en-suite, located at the extreme ends of the floor.

None of these spaces have air-conditioning, but the open balconies in fact welcome in a constant breeze flowing from the lowlands, cooling the house comfortably even during hot days. Only simple ceiling mounted fans aid in circulating the air on still nights.

The architects took great pains to design unobtrusive insect netting to the upper walls, which is almost invisible from inside. Together with the timber louvres on the lower half of the walls and the operable casement glazing, the entire façade is able to breathe naturally. Similarly, the timber floorboards have been laid deliberately with gaps in between to allow air circulation between the floors.

The expressive timber structure and underside of the roof, which are recycled Belian shingles sourced from a dismantled local hotel, maintains the simple and honest architectural aesthetic.

Downstairs, only the kitchen can be closed off using full-height glazed sliding doors, while the upper floor can be isolated at night by locking the staircase gate. Angela and Bob love the simple living concept and the quiet and safety of the locale poses no security problems to such an open house. “Locals are a friendly lot,” Angela and Bob explain, and have been following the building with interest, including the monkeys that reside in trees on the neighbouring hillside.

This project was very much a collaborative process where residents, architects, builder and engineer went on an enlightening journey together over a period of time. Something as intimate as a home always inspires an array of human connections – here, these was first brought to life in the working relationships, and then the friendships, between the people involved in its creation. “We had just envisaged a little timber house, maybe something vernacular,” the couple remark. “This synthesis of ideas, concepts and technologies and take on the green revolution… is a pleasant surprise.”

Design Architect Building Bloc

Project Team BC Ang, Wen Hsia Ang

Engineer PKS Chin Dan Rakan Rakan

Builder HQB Construction

Steel/Metal Works CL Steel

 

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Fixed & Fitted
Design Products
Design Accessories

The Puddle® washbasin in black

I am A washbasin Designed by Darren Genner and Simona Castagna Made by By Minosa in Australia About Me Black brings to a bathroom or powder room space a striking sensuality, sense of luxury and a strong visual, high impact look that’s enticingly different. The intelligent design, works in conjunction with Minosa’s water saving technology which reduces tap waterflow from a commonplace industry average of 20 litres per minute to 4-6 litres per minute. The subtle bowl depth plays on the logical expectation that splash will occur. Conversely Minosa were one of the few company’s worldwide to pioneer the design of splash free shallow basins by incorporating their reduced waterflow innovation and with that the idea of using only the amount of water required for function . Made from non porous, premium material CorianTM by DupontTM - a material that offers unparalleled hygiene; durability; stain, mildew and chip resistant qualities; and repairability if needed. Each basin is hand crafted to exacting standards by a team of local artisans and manufacturers under the watchful eye of the designers. This produces exceptional quality and a short lead-time with a reliable delivery date (10-15 business days) that can be scheduled into your project. Proudly Australian design and manufacture to produce product that stands on its own in leading edge design, quality and performance while supporting local industry. Virtually maintenance free – the product is easily cleaned with a cloth or sponge and warm soapy water, or more stubborn stains, use a mild abrasive cleaner. alt Colour choice includes: Black (new Oct 2011), Cameo White, Canvas, Concrete, Fossil, Glacier White, Jasmine, Rice Paper and Venaro White. The Puddle (700mm D, 400mm W, 53mm D) is supplied complete with Dry Seal, Chrome Fixed waste with 32mm thread, O Ring, Chrome Spacer and Locknut. Personalised service direct with the designers and a 3-year limited warranty. A timeless choice for residential or commercial project application, where exceptional quality and an individual style is appreciated by the design aware. Materials The Puddle® is individually handcrafted in Sydney using sophisticated solid surface CorianTM by DupontTM - the high performance, low maintenance material of choice for Minosa Dimensions 700mm D, 400mm W, 53mm D www.minosa.com.au 02 9550 0234abc
Happenings
What's On

Habitus re-imagined by one8one7

Featuring a pared-back and more conversational layout Christey Johansson & Marcus Piper have done a smashing job of re-imagining the cult title Habitus.

The team at one8one7 bring hefty credentials to the Indesign Group, with their list of awards literally trailing off the page. After performing award-winning redesigns on both DQ and Indesign in 2010/2011 they were announced as in house art directors in August 2010. Now Habitus gets a makeover.

This week we spoke to one8one7 about their approach to re-designing the young magazine."Habitus isn't about trends for us," begins one8one7's Creative Director Christey Johansson. "The 'new look' Habitus is just a more conversational publication," she adds."We feel the character of the magazine still in essence is 'Habitus'," continues her co-Creative Director Marcus Piper, "but perhaps it's now more progressive, confident and has a more international aesthetic."It is also a simpler magazine to navigate now. The layout is a direct response to the content, it provides a platform for the content to work on, rather than having a graphic treatment that's competing with it," Piper says.

Starting out with a magazine that was already very well-loved, one8one7 say that in order to start their re-design of Habitus they decided to look back in order to look forward. Could that be why the new look Habitus has a slight 70s text book feel?"It could be argued magazine design was in its prime through the 70s," says Piper. "Herb Lubalin, who has defined generations with his typeface Avant Garde (1970), is a constant source of inspiration for both his executions and craftsmanship, but also for his design thinking."

"We keep inspiration folders around which we refer to for each project, and they are full of exquisite magazines from the 70's …the composition and craft of the pages are just so pure and detailed," adds Johansson.

"In order to look forward we also looked across the globe, mostly to Europe - for typographic, magazine and graphic design inspiration and we looked to the 'classics'. We both believe a classic is as relevant now as it was when created - and Habitus just isn't about trends for us - so we did look back to look forward - absolutely," she says.Refinements to the re-launch include stunning typefaces from highly skilled and respected typographers from around the globe and a series for 'subtle' changes that readers will first notice when the new magazine hits newsstands on 7 December.

one8one7 currently work with design clients Tait, Marcs, and David Lawrence, as well as lifestyle brands Murdoch Books, Paspaley and Swarovski. Their portfolio of work includes guest art direction for numerous design magazines, inclusion in books on typography and numerous design awards.Habitusliving.com has also just been redesigned, to feature greater regional content, and new opportunities for targeted advertising from 7 December.

View more stunning work by one8one7 below.

Murdoch Books - Rockpool Bar & Grill Recipe Book, Art Directed by one8one7

Aria-nominated band Floating Me

Marcs Website

Paspaley commercial

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Fixed & Fitted
Design Products
Design Accessories

In Profile: Phoenix Tapware

1.    What’s the history behind Phoenix Tapware?  Founded on the principles of quality craftsmanship and personal service, Phoenix Tapware has been producing high quality, distinctive tapware and bathroom accessories since 1989 2.    Where do you distribute? Phoenix Tapware distributes tapware and accessories throughout Australia. 3.    Describe your customers? Kitchens and bathrooms are fast becoming additional living spaces and sanctuaries of retreat. We believe tapware and bathroom accessories not only have to be functional, they have to be visually appealing, perform well and offer extraordinary value to our customers. In today’s economy our customers, home builders and renovators are looking more and more towards Australian designed products, Phoenix tapware’s collection is designed in Australia and built to meet Australian conditions. Our range of products cater to all our customer’s needs, whether they are looking for urban contemporary or classical traditional interiors, Phoenix tapware has a product to suit every need. alt 4.    What sets your company apart? Water conservation and care for our environment are paramount in our minds. All our tapware and shower fittings are designed to be water efficient and are compliant with the WELS certified act. Phoenix Tapware is dedicated to creating a range of affordable yet stylish tapware and accessories with a unique emphasis on quality, unsurpassed by our competitors. What sets our company apart from our competitors is that we offer a 15 year manufactures warranty. alt 5.    Who should we speak to when specifying? Please contact our friendly customer service team, for any customer enquiries. 6.    What is good design to you? Good interior bathroom and kitchen design will always be inspired by emerging trends and a passion for quality workmanship and fashionable finishes. With a growing reputation within the design community, Phoenix Tapware works collaboratively with designers to develop bespoke products that meet their design brief, specifications and application needs. This can mean designing the length of an outlet or tapware handle for maximum ergonomic comfort to a more holistic involvement in creating stylish fittings that will provide a distinctive point of difference for our clients. 7.    What does the future hold? Phoenix Tapware hopes to become one of the leading suppliers in tapware and accessories within Australia Phoenix Tapware is also looking into branching out into the global community, predominantly New Zealand. Address:    31 Gilbert Park Drive, Knoxfield VIC 3180 Phone:        03 9780 4200
 Contact:    Customer Service Email:        sales@phoenixtapware.com.au 
Website:    www.phoenixtapware.com.auabc
Design Products
Furniture

VOLA FS3 Freestanding Shower System

Designed by:Vola

I am: Freestanding Shower System

About me:

Incorporating a variety of products, this classic collection is a breath of fresh air in what can sometimes be a product-saturated market.

The new Freestanding Shower System FS3 with thermostat embodies the VOLA character in its purest form; concise, slender, sculptured design. Its modern and geometrical shape distinguishes it, which is sure to inspire all purist VOLA followers. In its function the new FS3 mimics natural rain fall but unlike nature, the intensity and temperature of the curtains of water can be easily adjusted.

Materials: Available in Polished chrome, Brushed chrome & Brushed stainless steel

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Candana: www.candana.com.au

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Design Products
Furniture

Fable Range

Name Fable Range

Designed by Ross Didier

Made Ross Didier Design Studio

I am The Fable range comprises of six essential utilities: a spoon, a bowl, a stool, a chair, a table and a storage cabinet.

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About These typical elements are also represented in traditional children's tales and seem to conjure belief that a woodsman has simply stepped outside, chopped down a tree and hand carved these functional objects – the simplicity of this setting seems to define cottage craft and each object is created uniquely from materials that seem immediately assessable from just outside the door. These myths have been reinterpreted and designed for modern day use. Fable is crafted from solid oak with difficult manufacturing details disguised within a simplified aesthetic and return to original design and manufacturing principals.

Materials Sustainably certified Solid American Oak

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www.rossdidier.com 03 9459 1893

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Design Products
Design Accessories

Design Award win to Wiltshire Staysharp MK4

"Wiltshire Staysharp is such a heritage brand for Australia, with an iconic position in the marketplace. We are thrilled that it has won a Design Award. It is also great recognition for the people who put so much effort into creating the new product, using the latest technology to bring Australia's best-loved knife into the 21st century!" says Julian Pidcock, marketing director at McPherson's Consumer Products, the company behind the Wiltshire brand. Brandon Gien, managing director of Good Design Australia, the organisation that presents the Award, said all entries underwent a thorough physical inspection assessing form, function, quality, safety, sustainability, innovation and best in class design. "Award winners are the result of unwavering dedication to good design and commitment to a professional design process. Innovation, creativity and attention to detail are clearly at the heart of each project," Gien said. Originally designed in Australia back in the 1960’s,Wiltshire Staysharp was a world first then – and is still the only self-sharpening knife in the market. The new MK4 range has a number of innovative updates from the original. Each knife comes with its own scabbard that incorporates not just a sharpener but also a honer. As the knife is removed from the casing, the blade is both sharpened and honed in one action. Each knife block in the range features the same technology with the device built into the block. A circular hole in the stainless steel blade may appear to be a funky design addition but it is also part of the new, advanced technology locking system which ensures the blade is held securely within the housing when not in use. This not only protects the blade from damage, but keeps it safely away from fingers. The scabbard design can be taken apart for easy cleaning. Knife handles are ergonomically designed with a finger/thumb recess incorporated for added comfort, and a built-in finger guard for precision when cutting. Wiltshire Staysharp MK4 knives are available in three handle options to suit budget and personal taste – black polypropylene (supermarkets, hardware stores and Kmart), Triple Rivet (Big W, Target and independent homewares stores) and Premium stainless steel (David Jones, Myer and independent homewares stores). Prices range from RRP $13.99 - $69.95 for the loose knives and products have up to a 15 year guarantee. www.wiltshirestaysharp.com.auabc
Architecture
Homes

Rumah Kenangan House

In the early 19th Century, a Javanese by the name of Alwee Bin Samad arrived in a small village near present day Muar town in southern peninsula Malaysia. A hundred and fifty years ago, he built a family home at a site along Jalan Temenggong Ahmad. In mid-2004, the great grandson of Tuan Haji Alwee, Mr Hamidon Bin Abdullah, commissioned Marc Architecture to undertake an adaptive re-use of the building and an upgrading of the accommodation to cater to his current needs. rumah_kenangan_1 Although only the client’s aged mother lives full-time in this house now, extended family members use it extensively as a balik kampung retreat from their busy city schedules. Balik kampung in Malay language literally means ‘returning to the village’ and the house is the perfect nostalgic destination, a mere 2 1/2 hours drive from Kuala Lumpur. The rectangular site of 5,524m2 with a street frontage of about 35 metres had the original house located close to the street, thus allowing a deep rear orchard. This original house was two storeys high with a lounge at ground level and a bedroom above. rumah_kenangan_2 To preserve the authenticity of the heritage the client stipulated a number of challenges to the architect: to re-use as much of the timbers as possible; to restore and re-install all traditional doors and windows in their original positions with no changes in orientation; to maintain all wooden columns in their original positions; and to recreate communal outdoor bath/toilet facilities which emulate the original design, but with modern amenities. The architect responded sensitively in appreciating the old house in relation to the deep site. So as to not dislocate the existing structure, it was decided to build around it a collection of pavilions, each differentiated by their usage. rumah_kenangan_3 Firstly, the main house (or what was left of it) was re-built into a single-storey double-volume pavilion. Specially designed full-height sliding walls open to merge the indoors with the outdoors.  The timber columns and elevations of the original two-storey building are maintained with high-level windows providing additional lighting and ventilation to this large, open plan building that now houses the dining and kitchen facilities and some storerooms. A large dining table – made of re-cycled timber from the old house – is paired with sleek modern chairs. A raised area marks the traditional meal platform as well as the original ancestral birthplace where many of the family members were welcomed into this world!

rumah_kenangan_4

Surrounding this building on two sides is a fishpond with a timber deck bridge linking to the living quarters. On the other side, the historic entrance to the old building is celebrated via another deck bridge over the pond. To provide the extended accommodation stipulated by the client, the architect then designed eleven other buildings, mostly free-standing pavilions, but some interconnected to provide shelter from the harsh tropical elements. rumah_kenangan_5 The main pavilion is located towards the front (east) of the site where two previous buildings had stood before. The seven steps at the lobby echo the original house-on-stilts which also had seven steps leading to it. The main door is set facing south (towards the local fishing village) and is decorated with its original iron latch ironmongery. This pavilion houses the main lounge and accommodation for the client’s mother (who lives here full-time). A special heritage room houses historic memorabilia from the ancestral generations of this family. rumah_kenangan_6 Accommodation for guests is provided in the form of three large bedrooms and a large sleeping area for children which opens out to a secured garden.  Due to the nature of such occasional communal living, abundant storage space is provided for mattresses, etc. Behind the living quarters, parallel to the re-built kitchen/dining pavilion, lies the bathroom complex. This has five outdoor and semi-outdoor cubicles with WC and showers as well as two outdoor ‘luxurious’ complete bathrooms. Ample natural lighting flows into this pavilion via roof pergolas and the place is lush with greenery, pebbles and simple white-washed walls. I’m told most of the family members thoroughly enjoy this outdoor bathing experience whenever they are here. rumah_kenangan_7 In between the bath complex and living quarters is the multi-purpose open pavilion overlooking the fishpond. Family members often hang out here, sipping tea and catching up on old times. The elevated platform also doubles as a praying corner and outdoor dining area. The central courtyard is the hearth of the house. It aids in cross-ventilating the five surrounding pavilions, forms the backdrop for the interior spaces as well as being the main activity area during a party. rumah_kenangan_8 At the furthest end of the orchard towards the west, three pavilions are situated providing further accommodation for guests.  Built using attap roof, re-cycled timber structure and unpainted cement weatherboards, each chalet has its own bedroom, bathroom, cooking and laundry facilities. Outside a camping ground allows outdoor entertainment amid the cool village breeze (although pesky mosquitoes can ruin an otherwise perfect night under the stars).

The vast rear garden-cum-orchard boasts a variety of existing tropical fruit trees and other landscaping. A children’s nursery with attached mother’s day-bed is located in a pavilion within the orchard.  A badminton court is located nearby.

According to the client’s son, who accompanied me on this visit, his father wanted the house to be a celebration of the 24 people who were born there, many of whom have since passed on. In addition, he wanted the present generation to appreciate their humble beginnings and the sacrifices made by their forefathers. rumah_kenangan_9 More realistically, he wants the present generation to be able to experience communal living, something that is sadly missing from modern town living. This is amply achieved – when during festive seasons, more than 25 family members and siblings get together to share in the fun of balik kampung. The project is a wonderful interpretation of the old world charm and cultural context of traditional Malay values that actively involve the extended family and enjoys communal living. The use of traditional materials such as timber interspersed with brick, concrete and modern amenities provide comfortable accommodation yet one is never detached from the ancestral history of this house and its family. rumah_kenangan_10 Some of the newer pavilions may be just that – new – but they share the cultural values of an extended family and a carefree environment away from the hustle and bustle of city living.  The overall external built forms stay true to the locale (i.e. pitched roofs) while inside modern creature comforts pamper the occupants. The guest chalets evoke feelings of simple living of years gone by. The orchard allows the children to run about freely, climbing up trees and picking fruits, just as their ancestors had done over the past 150 years. This is one balik kampung experience everyone looks forward to. Not a bad achievement for a family retreat costing just a tad over US$600/2 of built-up space. Jasmeet Sidhu studied architecture at Newcastle University in the mid-1980s and later undertook post-graduate studies in design computing at Sydney University. He worked with a large practice in Kuala Lumpur for 15 years and subsequently established Designscape/Arkitek JazSidhu, with selective projects in Malaysia, India and the Middle East. He was also the editor-in-chief of Architecture Malaysia between2005-2007.He can be contacted at arkitek@jazsidhu.com.   Client Mr Hamidon Bin Abdullah Architect Marc Architecture Sdn Bhd Management Contractor M-arc Builder Sdn Bhd Main Builder Kim Kui Construction Furniture & Fittings Personal selection by owner    abc
Design Products
Furniture

Mood

Name: Mood


Made: Manutti


My Category: Outdoor Furniture


I am: Armchair


About:

The success of the Mood armchair was the immediate instigator for the extension of this collection with a Mood lounge chair and sun lounge. The frames are made of electropolished stainless steel and the fine-weave finishing colours are seashell, off white and black. Whether modern or classical, many table options to seat 2-12 people are now in stock in materials such as teak, glass or granite. As a result your entertaining area will have a custom made feel, designed to suit your project and colour scheme.


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Materials:

The frames are made of electropolished stainless steel and the synthetic fine-weave finishing colours are seashell, off white and black.


Dimensions:

H – 83cm, Width – 53.5cm, Depth – 59cm


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Cosh Living

www.coshliving.com.au
03 9281 1999
contactcosh@coshliving.com
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Design Products
Furniture

In Profile: Deka Design

Who should we speak to when specifying? Nora Kinnunen can provide information regarding all products and services provided by Deka Design. What are your client's priorities at the moment? Retail customers are understandably very economical with their purchases but fortunately many sophisticated consumers understand the cultural significance of supporting local production and approach us on that basis. Their purchases tend to be more long term so they value other factors such as environmental and cultural sustainability over price. Our commercial clients are requiring more use of local materials and details in design which support the overall interior and architecture of the buildings. This suits us as our strength and expertise is in custom designed work using local materials. What is good design to you? Good design is futuring. It makes visible our structural unsustainability and counters it with actions which advance the project of sustainment. Good design is care embodied in objects and processes; it nurtures relationships and it is culturally and socially sustaining. Good design can be measured by how well it directs our designing towards sustainable futures. What does the future hold? The future for Deka Design includes expanding the existing redirective platform within the company to explore new concepts in sustainable ways of living, such as extending the trans-form-it concept, and forming new collaborations which enable broader promotion of a sustainable material culture. Address: Unit 1, 23 Mungala Street, Wynnum Qld 4178 Phone: 07 3396 5850 Contact: Nora Kinnunen Email: info@dekadesign.com.au Website: www.dekadesign.com.au  abc
Fixed & Fitted
Design Products
Design Accessories

Cosmic Mix

I am A washbasin Designed by Spanish designer Cosmic
About Me Keeping in line with the current European trend of soft, rounded shapes, Mix basins have an organic, continuous shape perfected in Bathstone – a blend of advanced marble and polymer powder, giving it a matte, non-porous finish.
Shortlisted for the Delta 2011 Awards for Product Design, Mix is the perfect solution to a compact bathroom. The wall hung basins maximise space, combining a compact design in the latest look with high functionality, in sizes of 400mm wide and 800mm wide. Inspired by design and innovation, Rogerseller introduces the Cosmic Mix; objects that transcend merely the functional. Dimensions 
  • - 800 x 520 x 250mm
  • - 400 x 320 x 400mm
Rogerseller Phone: 03 9429 8888 URL: http://www.rogerseller.com.au/bathroom/basins/mix.aspx
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Architecture
Homes

Damansara House

The term ‘tropical house’ invariably conjures images of broad verandahs, deep overhangs, pitched rooves and high ceilings. Just as invariably, houses and hotels by Sri Lankan architect, Geoffrey Bawa spring to mind, in particular the Lunuganga residence and its surrounding grounds. As the ‘trend’ for such tropical houses has grown, so too has the amount of criticism laid upon them. Terms like ‘vernacular kitsch’ have been (justly or unjustly) used to describe the proliferation of tropical-looking houses in the region. But despite the negative connotations, there are definitely lessons to be learned from vernacular houses as they were based on common sense solutions to living comfortably in a tropical climate. The difficulty lies in striking a balance between using the ‘basic elements’ of tropical architecture in a functional way and expressing the architect’s own design sensibilities without resulting in the superficial adding-on of details. Recently, with a shift towards what has come to be termed ‘abstract tropical style’, architects have been looking at different ways of reinterpreting the tropical style. Partners, Rene Tan and TK Quek from RT+Q Architects (founded in 2003) are a good example. Their mainly residential work in Singapore and Malaysia exhibits a constant exploration of form, proportion and detail in the context of the tropical climate, and they were recently awarded an Honourable Mention at the 9th SIA (Singapore Institute of Architects) Architectural Design Awards for their House on Holland. Completed in 2008, the Damansara house stands on approximately 10,000sqft of land. The addition is located behind the owner’s original house, now serving as his second residence. While the original house is distinctly tropical in appearance, the abstract tropical style of the ‘addition’ serves as a counterpoint to it. This difference in styles can be attributed partly to the owner, who wanted an ‘annexe’ to his existing house, and partners Rene Tan and TK Quek, who were interested in an “architectural style that would be different from, though with due respect to, that of the original house”. One of the most distinct features of the new house is the circulation core, expressed internally and externally in the new house by two dynamic parallel double-height walls that appear to puncture through the middle of the house. Within this linear space are corridors that link public and private spaces on the first floor and provide a buffer to the master bedroom suite on the second floor. Reflecting this difference, Rene says that the abstract tropical style explored in the new house is “different in the sense that the architecture does not rely on such ‘recognisable’ elements’ as in the tropical style. Instead, it tries to capture the essences of the tropics by developing an architecture of form, space, light, shape, proportion, and hierarchy. Its values lie in the more abstract properties of form and space, for example, well-proportioned, well-defined forms and spaces”. While spaces in the old house are spacious and open to the surroundings, they appear more compartmentalised compared to the new house, where a double-height living room presents the climatic moment of the spatial experience. A pure white concrete ‘shell’ is fitted on either end with panels of double-height sliding glass doors that can be pushed aside to allow for optimum ventilation. Furnished simply without being too spartan, main features like the double-height wall clad entirely in Carrara marble and a grand piano are expressed to maximum effect. Though displaying a significant departure from the aesthetics of a tropical architectural style, it maintains basic qualities like deep overhangs, achieved by setting back the sliding glass panels from the edge of the shell. While the minimal use of glass is propounded in tropical houses, Rene explains that “glass is essential as it allows for transparency of view, lightness in form and mass, and brightness through the admission of sunlight. Most importantly glass allows for all these ‘essential joys of architecture’ (to quote Le Corbusier) without compromising comfort – it contains the air-conditioning which has become such an essential component of our lives today”. Requesting “as much garden space as possible”, the owner got his wish in the form of a floating garden in front of the living room block. Although a simple garden would have sufficed, the floating green serves as a continuation of the abstraction and eventuated because the owner was receptive to the firm’s ideas and willing to experiment with new approaches to architecture. Running along the length of the other side of the house is a twenty metre-long lap pool, resulting in a house bounded snugly by both water and greenery. Grounding the abstraction in a subtle manner are custom details like a 10mm-thick black steel plate that runs along the inner edge of the living room shell to give it definition, while the timber screens are constructed with just the right amount of density to keep them from looking too sparse. Through this controlled abstraction, the firm reflects its continual attempt to “probe the perennial values of architecture” stemming from a constant desire to stage their next best performance. Design Architect: RT+Q Architects Design Team: Rene Tan, TK Quek     abc