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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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Around The World

GROUNDS KENT ARCHITECTS up the luxe factor in southern India

Fremantle-based architectural firm Grounds Kent Architects is behind the design of Vivanta by Taj in Bekal, Kerala. Vivanta is one the first major five-star developments in this region of southern India. Grounds Kent is renowned worldwide for resort design that speaks of the culture and traditions in any given location. A distinctive roofline, that takes its cue from the houseboats of the region gives this Taj Hotels-operated 71-room villa its strong regional identity. “Using the houseboats as the inspiration for the roof forms was part of creating that identity. The technique is called kettuvallam – it’s the traditional woven bamboo used on houseboats. It’s a very identifiable material and a very identifiable roof form,” says project architect Nick Juniper. Grounds Kent director Martin Grounds was the architect behind the concept for the roofline when he travelled to the site in 2005. Nick took over the project in 2006 and the firm’s interior designer Michelle Salomone came on board in 2007 teamed up with Perth interior designer Judy Maloney. Expat Australian Made Wijaya, now a Bali-based tropical garden expert, was brought on board as the landscape architect. The brief was to create a villa-style hotel with associated restaurants, bars and conferencing facilities. Banqueting facilities were a big part of the design to capture the lucrative Indian wedding market in southern India. A destination spa was another major part of the brief. “Because this area in India is a fairly undeveloped region in terms of tourism, they needed a major drawcard. So, we were asked to develop a spa that would bring people down into the region. Taj has a spa brand called Jiva Spa, but their premium properties have developed Grand Jiva Spas. This development has one of the only Grand Jiva Spas on mainland India,” says Nick. The 10.5-hectare site was a former coconut plantation that runs down to the ocean and is located on one of the backwater river systems in Kerala, which steered the design of the development due to set-back requirements. “Once we designed around those requirements the site to build on was actually quite small, which was a challenge. It was also a challenge to produce a property in a region in India that was pretty much untapped in terms of major five-star tourism,” says Nick. While the buildings are concrete block and painted render, for authenticity Grounds Kent used local materials, such as laterite (a local red stone used in the Kerala region) in landscaping and courtyard walls and local bamboo as the kettuvallam roofing material. Materials were also imported from Indonesia for pool and some room tiling, and merbau was used for joinery. “The resort’s white walls reference many Indian buildings and were designed as a contrast to the tropical landscaping and fabric, finishes and timbers, which contrast to give a strong sense of India and Indian materials, colours, patterns and textures,” says Nick. “Landscape architect Made Wijaya brought in some famous Balinese sculptors to do custom sculptures for the hotel. So that was seen as an important drawcard for the design, as well. We have worked with him on many projects and he has a long history of working in India, so the client was keen to have him work on the landscape design and the landscaping is a big part of the success of the hotel.” When it came to the interiors, most of the interior furniture, furnishings and decorating elements were custom designed using traditional patterns and motifs, including handcarved doors in all rooms, carpets, handpainted murals and fabrics. Interior designers Michelle and Judy brought local craftspeople on board and used local materials as much as possible to capture the essence of the local culture. “It was about blending the elaborate details that the Indians love with the architecture, so it is all quite classic,” explains Michelle. “One of the biggest areas for us was the spa. We do quite a few spas, but had never done one on this scale. Much like the rest of the resort, we sourced traditional patterns and had local craftspeople carve elements such as stone wall murals with mirror and we had a 4m-high lotus water fountain carved by a local person for the entrance.” The hotel opened earlier this year and the spa will be launched on Valentine’s Day. Grounds Kent Architects gkaperth.com Vivanta by Taj – Bekal, Kerala vivantabytaj.comabc
Design Hunters

Design Hunter™ Q&A with Emma Telfer

Over the course of the last year Emma Telfer has helped launch Broached Commissions and the Pin-up Architecture & Design Project Space. This week on Habitusliving we asked Emma to share with us some of her favourite design icons and places.

What is your favourite…

travel destination

NYC.; although, I am about to travel to Mexico and I think Mexico City will blow my mind.

hotel/place to stay

I am all for unique self-serviced places to stay when I travel. I love Living Architecture and Air BnB for finding places to stay.


Air New Zealand…it represents flying home


I am a geek…Fast Company

three people that inspire/excite you

1)  Charles Rennie Mackintosh

2)  Rev. Graham Long, Wayside Chapel

3)  Hunter S. Thompson

design classic

Fallingwater, Frank Lloyd Wright

new design



Matzah ball soup with half a pastrami sandwich, Second Avenue Deli, NYC


Billy Kwong, Sydney


New favourite - Hendricks dirty martini…

Old favourite - good glass of red with dinner


City Wine Shop, Melbourne


Tate Modern, London


The Magus, John Fowles

item in your studio

New music


The Americas, Robert Frank


Jenny Holzer

piece of technology

Quad speakers

creative philosophy

Be an open book, be generous with your time and knowledge and give back to the community who feed you.

Design Accessories


Designed & made by: containermade.com    I am: Clean, natural and with a distinctly Australian flavour.   About Me: Leif originally began as a design study. A model of a fine necked bottle used to sit in the studio and friends and clients would often comment on its unusual form. They’d ask who it was for but, as it had no owner, we could never say. After years of questioning we began to think about trying to fill it ourselves. It sounds back to front but Leif isn’t the first beauty brand to start with the package and then look to develop its fill. As designers we see a very close link between the package and the product that it contains... the message is the bottle but the formula must deliver on that promise. Product integrity is essential. Materials: PETG (bottles) Leif leifproducts.com  abc
Design Accessories

Mad about Reverso

Jaeger-LeCoultre, known for aesthetic influence and refinement in the world of watch-making, announced today the creation of a special limited engraved design of their iconic Reverso watch for a Grande Reverso Ultra-Thin Tribute to the award-winning series “Mad Men.” Twenty-five custom-created and numbered pieces of The Grande Reverso Ultra-Thin Tribute to “Mad Men” will be available in February 2012. “Certain legends draw their strength from their age. Frozen in the past, immobilized forever, they speak only of the past. But sometimes, the magic is so great that a strange phenomenon takes place: the legend lives, breathes, mutates, becomes more beautiful, all the while retaining its aura. The Reverso is so unique that with the passing of time, it has been made in many guises without losing its essence”, - says Jérôme Lambert, CEO, Jaeger-LeCoultre. The Grande Reverso Ultra-Thin Tribute to “Mad Men” edition tells a story like no other timepiece. In 1931, a technically advanced watch was developed for polo players with a dial that could flip, protecting it from damage while also offering a personalized engraved case-back. Protected by patent, its art deco style and solid functionality was received with instant praise. The Reverso has evolved over the past eighty years with new faces, sizes and complications. Today, wearing one is an entry to an exclusive world – in terms of watch-making history and aesthetic refinement. Guided by time-honoured know-how and a constant quest for technical enhancements, the master-watchmakers, engineers and technicians craft each watch in harmony with the same passion. Each masterpiece, heir to 178 years of expertise, benefits from cutting-edge technologies while being crafted in harmony with the noblest traditions of the Vallée de Joux. Building on a vast heritage encompassing over 1,200 calibers and over 350 registered patents, Jaeger-LeCoultre remains the reference in high-end watch-making. Jaeger LeCoultre www.jaeger-lecoultre.comabc
Design Products
Design Accessories

Provenza from the Porcelanosa Group

Name: Provenza.

Made by: Porcelanosa

About Me:

Designed with the beauty of real timber and all the benefits of tile - I am PAR-KER, the original porcelain parquet tile. Provenza is the newest finish in the PAR-KER series from the Porcelanosa Group. Available in 4 colours including neutrals Finlandia, Natural and Versalles plus the deep charcoal, my Oxford glaze has an amazing depth of field, which is created with rotacolour and inkjet technology. Its likeness to timber challenges even the most discerning eye.

Part of the timber-look range, Provenza offers a subtle surface texture that hints at milled timber.
Now you can create organic looking floors and walls with natural variation in colour and texture and the added benefit of no maintenance.
PAR-KER requires no sealing, no sanding, is scratch resistant and fire retardant, (not to mention that it also ticks the boxes as an ecologically sustainable material).

Materials: Porcelain

Dimensions: 193x1200mm

For more information:

Earp Bros – Innovative Tile Solutions
(+612)  9410 3222

Design Products
Design Accessories

Haute grunge: Cullen ceramics

One of Australia’s best-known artists, the so-called grunge artist Adam Cullen, has made quite a name for himself since winning the Archibald Prize in the year 2000. His attention grabbing paintings have become known for their bright colours, fast sketchy outlines and often grotesque subject matter. But now his latest art efforts would tend to suggest he is mellowing. The current project for Aussie Art's enfant terrible involves delving into his visual archive and exploring his long held talent for clay and bronze. His new series of bronzes to be shown at the Tolarno Galleries mid this year, will be an Imaginarium of human torsos and heads, ‘weird creatures and strange animals’ according to the artist. While his ceramics line for The Cullen Hotel includes a range of ornamental and utlitarian objects painted with a softer version of his handi-work. Cullen who trained as both a sculptor and painter, started working in bronze two years ago and launched his ceramics project with renowned potter Lyn Hart in late in 2011. He owes a debt of gratitude in the project to finding Hart, a renowned potter who also lives in the Mountains. "Basically she is making the pots and then I go to work on them with the galzes. They're initially dipped and then I atack them, inscribe them and they are re-fired. That's how it works. It's a half, half, straight down the line collaboration," Cullen says. Lyn Hart who has been a professional potter for over 30 years. She first studied under Helen Gulliver and encouraged by her mentor went on to further her studies at Brookvale Technical Collage. 

From her Blue Mountains Studio, Lyn Hart produces a range of fine ceramics  for a discerning market. “I am really, really excited about the ceramics," continues Cullen saying this is the first in a series of collections to come. "It's awfully new, but the last time I was working in clay was with my mum, who was a ceramicist, and she died last year," he says. Cullen’s mother, who helped him learn to sclupt and create pottery as a boy, was a dedicated and talented potter. Cullen says working with Lyn and making ceramics again has brought his solace after his loss. “I always had my hands in clay and always sculpted growing up. I think we will do more collections of ceramics because no two pieces are the same and that's quite exciting,” he says. The Cullen Hotel, part of Art Series Hotel is currently selling a limited edition line of Cullen ceramics in an 18-piece collection of one-offs. Prices frange from $400-$1500 depending on their size, and most feature recognizable motifs from Cullen's work including Ned Kelly and the Tassie Devil. The Cullen Art Series [The Cullen] Melbourne 164 Commercial Road Prahran 3181 VIC T: (+613) 9098 1555 E: reservations_cullen@artserieshotels.com.au Artserieshotels.com.au Tolarno Galleries Tolarnogalleries.com/adam-cullenabc
Design Products

Furniture Designer Finn Juhl centenary anniversary

Juhl, who was trained as an all-round building architect, not – as he emphasized – especially as a furniture designerwas purely self-taught and instinctive when it came to product design. His 'Turning trays' picture here remain a design classic to this day. His early chairs, pictured below, were originally produced in small batches, because they were created for Guild shows where the work of the artisan was emphasized over the burgeoning industry of mass production. In 1951 Juhl designed the Trusteeship Council Chamber in the United Nations Headquarters in New York as a gift from Denmark to the UN and at the Milan Triennials in the 1950's he was awarded no fewer than five gold medals for his furniture. His fondness for teak as a material led him to develop new and superior techniques for its use, and he is responsible for the present popularity of teak in Danish furniture. Finn Juhl had a great influence on the following generation of Scandinavian architects with his use of bold sculptural forms and ultra-refined detailing. abc
Design Products

Nathan Yong

In 1999, Nathan started his first retail store called Air Division, selling his own creations made by Asian craftsman. Air Division rapidly grew and claimed commercial success in both Singapore as well as with the overseas market. Nathan subsequently sold Air Division and pursued a Masters degree from the University of New South Wales, Australia, which he subsequently graduated with a distinction in Master of Design. For two consecutive years (in 2006 & 2007), Nathan won the prestigious Red Dot Concept Design Award with his conceptual designs of a mass production coffin and a portable room heater and then in 2008, he received the prestigious Singapore President’s Design Award; Designer of the Year, (the highest honor accorded to designers from all creative disciplines in Singapore). His work is inspired by simple visual memories and pared down with the lightness of restraint. Instead of superfluous details, he captures the poetry of products through rigorous research and engineering, creating fresh styles and functions that fit effortlessly into the user’s life. Nathan Yong now runs a multidisciplinary design consultancy practice. His work spans industrial design, graphics, interior design, architectural design, strategic planning in product development, manufacturing  process and branding. Nathan Yong studied at Temasek Polytechnic graduating with a diploma in Industrial Design in 1991 and began his career not as a designer, but as a buyer and product developer for various companies in Singapore. Through these jobs, he travelled widely to various countries including India, Vietnam, Thailand and Indonesia. Through this exposure, he learnt various production techniques and crafts which he has made use of in his new consultancy. Nathan’s work has been exhibited globally in design centers in Singapore, Shizuoka, Milan, London, Koln and Taipei. He has appeared in international magazines including Wallpaper, Monocle, Surface, Dwell, On Office and with our own publication Habitus. His clients include Design Within Reach (USA), Ligne Roset (France), Living Divani (Italy), Opinion Ciatti (Italy), Sphaus (Italy), Domicil (Germany), Ethnicraft (Belgium), Grafunkt (Singapore), FOLKS furniture (Singapore) and many others. Nathan Yong Design  abc
Design Products
Design Accessories

Isabel Dammermann’s ‘alchemy of elements’

“My work is about fragility and strength in a poetic aspect, and about the balance between those things.  Though I’m using a lot of fragile materials such as flowers, minerals, paper and fabric, the pieces are quite very big and heavy,” explains Dammermann. Run baby Run! // Ring // silver, shell, fimo, tape Currently visiting Australia from Germany for a holiday, Isabel admits she cannot wait to get back to her quiet little studio in Hanover, Germany where she can go back to daydreaming and making her work. Eighteen months after graduating from Alchemic Jewellery school in Florence, Italy she finally has her own atelier for creating and exhibiting her work. Selection of rings made in quartz, silver, gold, metal, aluminium and found objects. “Often it's not until I look back on a piece that I see the emotion in it, or see what I was going through at the time. Dyad for example,” - a broach she presented at several European fairs last year -  “is made from two circles. Rings that are intersecting and coming together, but at the same time being separated. When I look back now, I can see that I was suffering from missing my boyfriend at the time and this piece expresses emotions of separation,” she says. Dyad // Brooch // silver, plexiglas, wood, transparent paper, flowers, tape Minimal and prehistoric, the sculptural compositions Isabel creates pay homage to the breadth of her emotions, to her intuitive responses to found materials. “Sometimes one piece of quartz will hold great interest for me and another piece nothing. I'm always looking for a certain aesthetic, or for beauty – my opinion of beauty anyway.” When describing her work the young artist often falls back on words like ‘transience’ and the ‘unconscious’ to describe her process. She is quick to explain that  her training at Alchimia was more conceptual than technical, and that artists including the structuralist Manfred Bischoff fundamentally influenced her approach to design. “Sometimes I am working on 20 pieces at once. Often they can sit around on my table for 6 months until I know they are finished. It may be that I need to add something for them to be in balance or take something away before to complete them. “Now I make paper models and little moulds so that I can see the shape of the pieces and how they will hosue the stones, before I make them in metal.” Rings; 2,6 x 3,5 x 0,2 cm; Silver For the lithe German, with wide pistachio green eyes and fair hair, all her work is informed by the things she finds in markets, at the seaside or in parks. Placing them or setting them in little scenes, she uses modelling clay, resin, wood, silver, and Fimo to arrange the objects into pendants, necklaces, brooches, earrings and rings. All her friends and family are accustomed to her obsession, often waiting for hours at a time while she sifts through urchins and driftwood at the beach or forages the forest floor for precious things. “Whenever we go to a national park I am always on the ground combing through the dirt to see what I can find,” laughs Isabel, taking out pair un-matching earrings that she made from rocks found on her lats visit to Australia. The two similarly size rectangles of shale are set with lace in dark metal clasps that helps them resemble two primordial shields. Under // Earrings // silver, shale, laces Reflects nature’s haphazard beauty, asymmetrical and natural shapes are a recurring motif in Isabel's work. “I have my own opinion of beauty and in everything I do I'm bringing my memories, my experiences and my impressions out into the work,” she says. View more work by the artist here: www.isabeldammermann.com Visit the school in Florence here: www.achimia.itabc
Around The World

The Town Hall Hotel & Apartments

With the upcoming Olympics boosting investment between the city centre and the games development at Stratford, East London is undergoing an economic and social revival – with cultural venues and amazing restaurants and bars cropping up all over. The Town Hall Hotel & Apartments in Bethnal Green is testament to this. The early 1900s building – the original Bethnal Green Town Hall – had been left derelict for many years after becoming disused in the latter half of the century. With architects, rare architecture, and restoration and conservation experts on the case, 98 generously proportioned rooms and suites have been sensitively massaged into the existing shell and an additional storey. Rather than upgrading floors, walls, ceilings and fittings to new again, every element has either been faithfully replaced – where they were unsalvageable – or simply made functional again, retaining the character and story of the Town Hall. A new perforated ‘metal shell’ has been created, covering areas of the building that were badly damaged and providing screening from neighbours. Inside, the rooms, ranging from the anything-but-small standard room to the cavernous De Montfort Suite, have pods, glass screens, a minimal colour palette and select furniture pieces – including glorious vintage classics like Wegner’s CH07 Shell – allowing the original wood panelling and flooring and restored ceiling mouldings and fireplaces to remain intact, telling the story of the building. Before opening early last year, the location had already made its mark, with the award-winning Michelin Star restaurant Viajantes, headed up by renowned chef Nuno Mendes. Now, guests can also experience Mendes’ unique culinary stylings in the more affordable (and accessible) Corner Room. With over a century of design within the walls, the staff are very knowledgeable and passionate about the building’s history and that of the surrounding area. They don’t wear a uniform or answer the phone with a script, they are both relaxed and eager to ensure your stay is the best it can be. Town Hall is definitely the place to be impressed by the real London, and revel in the joys of achingly beautiful Edwardian, Art Deco and contemporary design. The Details: -       Fully equipped hi-tech Gym and Pool -       Bar and 2 restaurants -       Art installations from local artists throughout -       Studio – 2 bed apartments with full kitchens -       Close to the tube, rail and bus Town Hall Hotel & Apartments 8 Patriot Square  City of London E2 9NF, United Kingdom (+44) 20 7871 0460 townhallhotel.comabc
Habitus Loves
Fixed & Fitted
Design Products
Design Accessories

Habitus Loves …Unruly Gallery

B Boy

Designed by: Carlos Mare 139 Rodriguez Why we love it: Fresh out of NYC Mare 139 is sculptor/painter who pioneered a version of urban graffiti as modern sculpture in 1985. This neat charcoal on paper work would look great in any contemporary apartment. Where you can get it: Unruly Gallery   alt


Designed by: Eric Haze Why we love it: This silk screen print is fresh and bold. Created by NY artist Eric Haze,  it gives your home street cred seeing as Haze was one of the first visual artists to define the look and graphic language of Hip Hop during it's golden years. Where you can get it: Unruly Gallery   alt


Designed by: Jan Rothuizen Why we love it: This artist's delicate impressions of a foreign city made in Indian ink explore the exchange between people and places. Part of a larger body of work  Rothuizen is an inspiring explorer and artist. Where you can get it: Unruly Gallery   alt


Designed by: Lil’ Shy Why we love it: This framed felt artwork is created by Lil' Shy a multimedia artist from NYC.Her strong love for a craftsmanship and the art of lettering embodies all of her pieces and her portfolio encompasses paintings, drawings, silkscreen print, photos and film. Where you can get it: Unruly Gallery   alt

Guten Tag

Designed by: Wayne Horse Why we love it: Poking fun at youth and individual success artist Willehad Eilers aka Wayne Horse likes creating situations rather than stories. 
His work ranges from video and drawing to performance and installation. Where you can get it:  Unruly Gallery   alt

Product Avalanche

Designed by: Niels Shoe Meulman Why we love it: This printed silk scarf inspired by the band Sigue Sigue Sputnik is a graphic art work by a leading light in the  Calligraffiti movement. Where you can get it: Unruly Gallery   alt

Oh Yeah Yo

Designed by: Niels Shoe Meulman Why we love it: This printed silk scarf has the word 'oh yeah yo' designed to form an ambigram. Graphic and impressive in seering bright colours, this would look greta framed in a bedroom, office or kitchen. Where you can get it: Unruly Gallery   alt

Following me

Designed by: Jon One Why we love it: This acrylic and ink on canvas is by graffiti artists Jon One. Where you can get it: Unruly Gallery     alt
Design Hunters

Design Hunter™ Q&A- Nicole Bearman

In her day job at the Powerhouse Museum Nicole has worn many hats, notably as Online Producer of DHub; manager of the Design NSW: Travelling Scholarship; Producer of the citywide cultural program for Sydney Design Festival; and Project Editor for Powerhouse Publishing. This year Nicole is part of a team producing the first major Le Corbusier exhibition in Australia, opening later this year at the Powerhouse.

What is your favourite…

Travel destination Anything that constitutes travel makes me happy, though I am most drawn to Europe.

Hotel/place to stay  I much prefer apartments when travelling.

Airline Singapore Airlines

Magazine  Cabinet

Three people that inspire/excite you

1)  PJ Harvey

2)  Miranda July

3)  My friends

Design classic I will never tire of my jewellery by Vivianna Torun Bülow-Hübe (1960s bracelet watch and mobius bangle) for Georg Jensen.

New design  Matali Crasset’s HI hotels

Meal breakfast – wholegrain toast with a hard-boiled egg

Restaurant Fratelli Paradiso, Potts Point

Drink coffee

Bar LaPerle, Le Marais, Paris

Gallery/museum Walker Art Center, Minneapolis

Book Will you please be quiet, please?, by Raymond Carver

Item in your studio  My red Stelton jug has kept me hydrated for many years

Artwork A House for a Landscape Painter and a Performance Artist (version 2), by Justin Trendall, which hangs in my living room

Artist fellow avid walker, Janet Cardiff – a friend recently gave me ‘the walk book’.

Piece of technology iPhone (sorry!)

Creative philosophy Collaboration, curiosity and generosity.