About Habitusliving


Habitus is a movement for living in design. We’re an intelligent community of original thinkers in constant search of native uniqueness in our region.


From our base in Australia, we strive to capture the best edit, curating the stories behind the stories for authentic and expressive living.


Habitusliving.com explores the best residential architecture and design in Australia and Asia Pacific.


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Design Products
Habitus Loves

Habitus Loves… Up Late in Design with Habitus

Alta Dining Chair


Designed by: Innovation Living

Why we love it: This solid bamboo dining chair is sleekly understated; an unequivocal example of simple, functional design. 

Where you can get it: Innovation Living


Art Deco Sofa Chair


Designed by: The modern Furniture Store

Why we love it: The slight ornamentation of it's art deco aesthetic gives this otherwise minimalist sofa chair a twist of flavour, a perfect piece on which to lounge elegantly. 

Where you can get it: The Modern Furniture Store


Beech Fresco Duna


Designed by: Mafi

Why we love it: Milled on a CNC wood router this volumised flooring gently massages bare feet while providing a fluid, aquatic touch to its surroundings. 

Where you can get it: Mafi




Designed by: Rodolfo Dordoni for Minotti

Why we love it: Pure lines combining curves and angles make this table chic and timeless. With choices of oak, marble or glossy lacquer for the top it is truly versatile, adding a refined tone to its context. 

Where you can get it: ECC Lighting + Furniture


Copenhagen Armchair


Designed by: French and English

Why we love it: The exposed timber frame of this armchair makes a fitting counterpoint to it's inviting, cushioned seat, combining structured design with luxurious comfort.  

Where you can get it: French and English




Designed by: ESO

Why we love it: With an internal filling composed of reused packaging materials, this pyramidical bean bag combines an attractive textile finish with casual versatility.

Where you can get it: Stylecraft


Mini Sophie


Designed by: FrauMaier

Why we love it: Composed of powder-coated steel wire and a chintz-covered shade this playfully functional floor lamp offers a burst of colourful illumination.

Where you can get it: Lumen8




Designed by: Alexander Lotersztain

Why we love it: Blending the tactile texture of woven rattan with a fluidly organic form the Softsofa delivers both striking aesthetics and comfort. 

Where you can get it: Derlot


Design Hunters

Lisa Mcguigan’s wonderful world of wine

Your occupation:

All things wine

Your latest project:

I am currently working on the only Australian made Vermouth brand soon to be launched in June. It’s called Regal Rogue, look out for it in your next dirty martini.

How did you first become involved in the Australian Wine Industry Design Competition?

An amazing woman and someone who’s done a lot for boutique wine in Australia - Judith Kennedy (who ten years ago prior to these awards announced that my Tempus Two brand, which was in its 2nd year was too big to be involved so kicked me out! We remained friends) - invited me to be the chair of judges, which was an amazing honour. It’s definitely one of the reasons I get up everyday; because of amazing, innovative packaging.

How was the process of judging the designs? Were there clear favourites from the beginning or was it a struggle to select the winners?

It was the first time this year that commercial and boutique brands went head to head, which for me was really exciting. I saw an amazing array of products eclectic in nature and the competition between boutique and commercial brands was very strong. Over the years we have seen a lot of innovation in the labels and names used by brands old and new.  The judge’s choice of Australia’s Best Wine Bottle was almost unanimous.

What do you think the role of design is in the wine industry?

The design role in the wine industry is extremely important as it assists the consumer to make their choice in a market where there is abundance available. Packaging makes the consumer feel comfortable in their selection and most wine companies know the imperative of over delivering on wine particularly if it wears a fancy package.  New brands to the market don’t have the history like Penfolds or Petaluma so they don’t need to dress their brands up because they are iconic. 

Your own label has produced some innovatively designed wines, how hands on were you in the design process? What were some of the considerations/aims when designing the wines?

I am extremely hands on when it comes to packaging. It’s my thing. My first successful package was inspired by a metal lid that I noticed on a cigar box. I’d always wanted to find a material that wasn’t paper. Did you know that 95% of wine labels are made with paper? It’s with my metal labels that I went on to win the global packaging award.

Where do you see wine design going in the future?

Labels will trend back to traditional looks as will bottles.

What is your favourite wine bottle design?

It would be the “Two” bottle from Bruni Glass

In the eternal polemic between cork, screw-top, plastic cork, glass stopper etc., where do you stand?

I love cork. I love glass stoppers but it’s misunderstood. Screw cap is the best solution to the cork problem. Plastic – no comment.

What are your 3 favourite wine-related accessories?

  1. Pewter Moet Chandon icebucket
  2. Decanter that was given to me by the Wine Communicators of Australia Young Guns and Gurus Program.
  3. Antique Vermouth dropper

 As wine is your art, what is your creative philosophy?

“Less is more” – Ludwig Mies van der Rohe  (German American architect)

Photography: Jason Loucas


Balai Taal

With a brief to build a home that would take advantage of the spectacular views the site offered while accommodating for the children and grand-children of the owners, the project for the Balai Taal residence was both simple and full of creative potential. 

As such a focus of the design was to reduce the indoor/outdoor division and incorporate the vibrantly tropical vegetation into the home's aesthetic. "The layout of the house is very informal", says lead architect Anna-Maria Sy, "with all rooms opening directly out to the surrounding gardens and lake views. There is an open, natural flow between interior and exterior spaces." Tied to this was the desire to maximise the views from each room, which span the points of the compass to include Taal lake and volcano, mountains and forest. 

"The house becomes a series of discoveries" explains Sy, "and unfolds in parts, with each room and each level providing a different experience and vantage point for admiring the natural surroundings... From this garden the house is seen in it’s entirety, with the light structures of the upper story, lifted atop a heavy stone base." In this dimension the Balai Tall is reminiscent of the traditional “Bahay na Bato” (house of stone) houses of the Philippines. 

As the owners and primary occupants of the house are an elderly couple vertical circulation was minimised; the master bedroom, main living and dining areas and kitchen are on street level. Whilst this allows for the ample floor space (700 sqm) to feel appropriate for one couple,  the house needed to retain the flexibility to host up to three generations of the family. Thus, as Sy comments, "the property slopes down from the street... all secondary bedrooms, as well as the family room, are located at the lower level." 

The Balai Taal residence is constructed from mostly natural materials; the exterior includes slate for the roof, light granite for walk-ways, slate cladding for the base of the house and entrance wall and painted mahogany wood for all doors, eaves and railings. On the interior, old solid Ipil wood flooring, light granite for secondary bathrooms and silver travertine for the master bathroom create a continuity with the external material vernacular. 

The interior decoration was carried out by the owners and features an eclectic mix of older and contemporary pieces. The understated, modern asian aesthetic of the furniture and artworks pairs seamlessly with the structural elements and complements the home's effortlessly refined mood.

The end result is a superbly executed family weekend home; warmly elegant, intimately connected to the surrounding nature and thoughtfully appointed with a mix of old and new furnishings. 

Architecture/design: Anna-Maria Sy and Jason Chai of C/S Architecture

Landscaping: Jun Obrero

Photography: Chester Ong

Design Products
Design Accessories

Ona & Madagascar from Earp Bros.

Echoing the tones and textures of natural stone the Ona and Madagascar tiles come in a neutral palette and evoke the movements of windswept sand and water-sculpted river beds. The Ona wall tile adds a warm, luxurious feel to any vertical surface, playing with light and shadow as well as natural colour variations to create a soft, inviting finish. 

Madagascar, the matching floor tile, extends this visual and tactile experience underfoot. Using new inkjet printing technologies to create a striking likeness to the materials that inspired Ona and Madagascar, these tiles combine a detailed finish with the natural advantages of porcelain and ceramic to offer a complete aesthetic and functional solution. 

Ona and Madagascar are just a few of the new ranges from Spanish tile manufacturer Venis, available through Earp Bros.

Earp Bros.


Design Hunters

Design Hunter™ Q+A with Alexander Lamont

Your name: Alex Lamont

What you do: I have ideas for objects, lighting and furniture and then I make them

Your latest project: Tiny rock crystal pots with woven lids

What is your favourite…

travel destination: Istanbul

hotel/place to stay:  Hotel Le Royal, Phnom Penh

airline: British Airways

magazine: Private Eye

watchmaker: Ikepod

luxury goods company: Codognato

design classic: Bowler hat

new design:  Aston Martin One-77

favourite type of chair: Jacob Kjaers UN Chair

meal: My wife’s apple crumble

restaurant:  Soulfood Mahanakorn, Bangkok

drink: Burrow Hill Cider, Somerset

bar: Zuk Bar at the Sukhothai Hotel, Bangkok

gallery/museum: Musee Guimet, Paris

book: Nostromo, Joseph Conrad

item in your studio: Collection of Khmer bronze bracelets

artwork: Japanese female Shinto spirit, Asian Art Museum San Francisco

artist: R B Kitaj

piece of technology: Photoshop

What inspired you to be a designer? The theatre and spirit of great shops

Who are three people that inspire/excite you:

     1)  Yanagi Soetsu

     2)  Barbara Hepworth

     3)  Paul Simon

What is your creative philosophy? Make things that people want to touch and treasure

What does the term Design Hunter mean to you? A frame of mind always open to accidental and obscure references

What's On

Then x Ten by Herman Miller

Combining a retrospective of the brand's most classic posters with modern interpretations by ten of the world's leading image-makers the collection, curated by Herman Miller’s creative director Steve Frykholm, celebrates Herman Miller's rich and varied history. And in a time when digital advertising mediums are changing how companies represent themselves a glance backwards to the golden age of print reminds us of the sheer talent and creativity of the artists behind it. As part of the event Herman Miller are also offering the opportunity to have your poster hang with the greats! Simply submit a contemporary version of a Herman Miller poster featuring the iconic SAYL chair for your chance to win! For more details visit the competition page. The exhibition will be displayed at Melbourne art gallery fortyfivedownstairs from 14 to 25 August and will tour throughout the Asia Pacific in 2012–2013.  abc

Panama House

Starting with an uninspiring cafe space the fit out aimed to strip back previous alterations to expose the structure's skeleton and then build an interesting, inviting restaurant which highlights the building's original features while enhancing it with fresh details.

Owners Anthony Kaplan and Brent Mills (also of The Corner House and The Shop in Bondi) created the design themselves and oversaw the project management, commenting that "It is a place [we] would like to spend time in. The place has a feeling of honesty and authenticity. You can feel there has been a lot of love put into every detail which all compliment each other in a humble sort of way."

And indeed a lot of love has been devoted to the project, with the conceptual inspiration drawing on the owners' travels through the americas (in particular referencing Panama's industrial history) and chairs and stools custom made by Nicholas Rogers. The eclectic but carefully integrated range of materials includes reclaimed Black but, copper, Brazilian back slate, raw steel, concrete, equestrian leather, and matt white tiles, with the last being a particular favourite, "the Matt while clean tile over the aged brick is amazing" say the owners, "so simple but so effective!"

The aesthetic of the space is seamlessly synchronised with the culinary concept of central, south american and caribbean cuisines, reinterpreted for contemporary sensitivities. Serving throughout the day the menu spans Mexican breakfast staple huevos rancheros, jerk chicken or Sichuan beef tacos, tequila-spiced gravlax salmon and a serious-looking burger. Executed with Kaplan and Mills' signature finesse the dishes are presented beautifully and are a welcome contribution to Sydney's long overdue latin-american revival.


Panama House


Design Products

Aruku & Kashi by SKEEHAN

Aruku and Kashi are the first commercial products released by Canberra-based designer Tom Skeehan's label and demonstrate a clear aesthetic that is as versatile as it is functional. Influenced by the restrained beauty of Japanese culture, Skeehan's current body of work revolves around notions of perception and connection and seeks to revive the value of 'play' in design for manufacture. The sheet aluminium from which they are produced has been laser cut and folded using techniques which maximise strength without complicating the design, and powder-coated finishes inject vibrant colour into the finished product. 



Both stools enjoyed strong positive responses at their launch and were bought by a number of Canberra's better bars and cafes, an encouraging note for the company which aims to release a tall stool and some lighting later in the year. 



Up Late in Design with Habitus lights up the James Street Precinct

A new addition to Brisbane Indesign, Up Late in Design with Habitus made it’s debut on Thursday 24 May at the James Street Precinct. Collaborating with the Precinct, architects, fashion designers and artists deployed their skills to create installations, food stalls and bars, keeping late-night shoppers and browsers well fed and watered. The street-party vibe was rounded out with music and live performances, making Up Late in Design a fairground of activities and treats!


Special thanks to all the showrooms who participated and everyone who came along for making it such a great night!

What's On

Arik Levy at Hong Kong Art Fair

Exploring the fantastical idea of rocks growing and evolving as plants do RockGrowth, Arik Levy's latest exhibition at the Hong Kong Art Fair retraces the elementary particles that compose plants back to their mineral state. 

“RockGrowth represents the evolution of my project “Absent Nature”", states Levy, "an investigation of the genetic intimacy, bio-mimicry and patterns of nature alongside the social codes and rational understanding of our environment."

The inspiration for the art works comes, as Levy explains from "The impossible assumption - from a biological point of view - of planting a “Rock” (mineral) as a vegetal seed and observing, as a witness, its germinating  process and growth, taking part of an evolving nature within its genetic intimacy, contemplating the natural progress of growth, generate new landscapes of forms and scales."

Arik Levy

Hong Kong Art Fair

Around The World

The Park on Holiday Beach

Claiming a perfect location from which to enjoy the idyllic Goan seaside, the Park on Holiday Beach combines fresh, white-cotton elegance with bursts of colour and quirky details to create a reserved but cheerful mood. The 30 rooms and suites demonstrate Park Hotels owner Priya Paul's commitment to reinventing a contemporary India; taking traditional elements and expressing them in different ways by pairing them with modern design. As such the Park on Holiday Beach's palette contrasts minimal white with deep purple and vivid pink, and accommodation is decorated with contemporary artwork that references local culture. The four suites offer another level of luxury – the Studio Suites each have their own private plunge pool, while the Deluxe Suites have a private balcony with beach views. The boutique hotel borders the bustling Candolim and more relaxed Calangute beaches, offering it's guests a range of beachside experiences. However with the attention to gastronomy, relaxation, nightlife and entertainment that has gone into the project many guests may not wish to leave at all, or at most will venture to the private beach reserved for hotel patrons. The LOVE restaurant offers around the clock meals, with a particularly indulgent option being to have them on the beach (possibly watching the sun set over the Arabian sea...), wheres the PEACE bar caters to guests' thirst with an assortment of libations, perfect for cooling the sun's heat. The Park on Holiday Beach is The Park Hotels' seventh property in the Design Hotels community, attesting to the superb quality of its design, service and amenities. For more information visit Design Hotels  abc
Design Products
Design Accessories

Inhouse and Interstate Longboards

You may have met Arch and Jane MacDonnell already, through one of the wine labels, books or logos they have designed.

Inhouse has an enviable list of clients spanning creative entities, corporate and boutique clients. Most recently, they created the label for Dada2, a premium blended red wine from Hawkes Bay (a follow up to Dada1 designed in 2007).

Something a little left of field though, is a project from 2008 with Insterstate longboards. Inhouse collaborated with artists, fashion designers, typographers and graphic designers to create limited edition longboards. It was an opportunity to “get off the computers and get our hands dirty and actually make something,” says Arch.

“We had recently set up a screen-printing room in the back room of the studio so we invented a project to ensure we had some output. It was also a great opportunity to collaborate with a bunch of different creatives on a project that was outside of both of our regular practices.”

Interstate longboards are 11 ply pintail decks that feature a unique cut-out handle in the tail. A great cruiser and carver, they will conquer any hill. The decks are individually screen-printed with the contributing artists' designs and spray lacquered for a hard-wearing mirror finish.

“There were challenges at every step,” Arch admits. “Getting the shape right, sourcing the right materials, the screen-printing itself, to the sheer amount of time each deck took to create. The easiest part of the process was the collaborating with the artists. Everyone who participated was into it and a dream to work with.”

Participating artists include Billy Apple®, John Reynolds, Richard Killeen, Michael C Place (Build UK), Liz Maw, Andrew McLeod.

See Arch & Jane MacDonnell’s home in Habitus 16, out now.

The Billy Apple boards are currently exhibiting at Starkwhite Gallery in Auckland.


Starkwhite Gallery