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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Designer Rugs – behind the scenes

Sometimes a picture is worth a thousand words. And a thousand minutes worth of planning and effort involving many hands.

Take the image on page 61 of Habitus 16 (out now). A simple shot of Julie Paterson’s studio in the Blue Mountains was the product of a full day’s shoot. As well as Julie who sketched out the scenes for the shoot, Lia Pielli of Designer Rugs was on hand to ensure the product was shown to its best advantage. And photographer, Geoff Sumner, played master technician on the day to produce a series of print-quality shots.

Here’s an insight into the making of this particular image.

Learn more about Julie Patterson's 'Remixed' collection for Designer Rugs here.

Habitus 16 is out now.

Designer Rugs



Preshil School

First commissioned to build a school hall for Preshil in 1962, Borland's project evolved and expanded over the course of fifteen years, resulting in an assortment of adventurous, playful and finely executed buildings. 

The structures exemplify a geometric whimsy that conceals studied purpose under their eccentric exterior: spaces are suited to their purposes, ranging from ample group-sized volumes to nooks and alcoves where a child can nestle to read, and the complexity and variety of the details in the building are designed to elicit visual and tactile stimulation amongst pupils and thus enrich their educational environment. 

In reference to the underpinning elements of the design Evans, Borland and Conrad remark that "in an overarching theme Borland spread a pattern of diamonds, hexagons and triangles across the site, through visual axes, building shapes, stage-decking on the western classrooms and other linkages" (from Architecture from the Heart).

The Preshil school also marked an important shift in Australian architecture as it moved from away towards a more confident, expressive interaction with the unique Australian context. As Ian McDougall, in describing Preshil in 1981, comments,"the anti-formalism, naive lumping of lean-to shapes, bush carpentry and natural timber walls, express the idea that to be Australian one identifies with the bush. Here the casual shapes reflect a new informality, a coming-out for the real Oz. The building foreshadowed a whole style of the seventies, based on the idyll of the Australian bush". 

Unsurprisingly, in recognition of the importance of the project and the success of it's design the Preshil School buildings were collectively awarded the Victorian Architecture Medal in 1972, and in 2005 it was included in the Victorian Heritage Register as a place of architectural, social and historical significance.

Now, forty years after Borland began his redesign the school continues to operate, offering students an educational experience that focuses on individually tailoring the curriculum to their needs and developing strong relationships with peers and teachers. 

Like any predominantly timber structure in constant use for almost four decades the school has suffered wear and tear, and requires a strategy for  long-term care, maintenance and adaptation of the buildings and grounds. To this end the Preshil Foundation has been campaigning to gather support and resources, and is in the process of having a Conservation Management Plan approved, which will enable the school to care for its heritage assets within the context of a prioritised supporting conservation strategy in the short, medium and long term.

Preshil School

Photography: Christine Francis

Pick up a copy of Habitus 16, out now, to learn about a considered renewal of Kevin Borland's Mount Eliza house. 

Fixed & Fitted
Design Products

Steam Ovens from ILVE

The sophisticated ILVE Built-in Steam Oven features the latest in styling and function, with durability of the highest quality and an emphasis on versatility. The new ILVE Steam Oven completes the ILVE compact cooking collection range, along with the ILVE Combination Microwave Oven. Reaping the benefits of steaming, the ILVE steam oven allows optimum retention of vitamins, nutrients, flavor, colour and texture of delicate cuisine like fish and Vegetables. The result is great looking and tasting food. ILVE’s steam oven allows the food to absorb only the moisture it requires, with no need to add oils or fats to keep food from drying out, and no over cooking. Four separate cooking levels, with two included stainless steel trays, provide ample separation for the different meal aspects, while a large interior means that there’s enough space to get creative with the cooking options. ILVE  abc
Design Products

Neon Wood

From the inaugural collaboration between David Moreland and whimsical fashion label World comes Neon Wood: a series of shelves to be configured as desired. In accordance with colour specifications provided by World (synonymous with their clothing ranges) morsels of fluorescent green and orange find their place bridging corners of naturally uncoloured or gloss black solid American white oak.


For these pieces, David Moreland makes use of traditional cabinet making techniques such as half lap joint, bored and plugged screws and 45 degree angled supports for triangulation. Perspex surfaces are cut using a computerised CNC router, and corners and faces are flame-polished. These shelf plates can be removed and repositioned to reorient the shelving units, creating either a sideboard or tall self. 


"To play with the graphic constructs as well as the functionality of home and office furniture has been a dream of WORLD's. Being able to give David Moreland's sleek and modern designs a feeling of WORLD's character has been nothing but fun. Neon Wood as a piece of furniture not only has the beauty and strictness of contemporary architectural shapes but also a refreshing personality of its own that is humorous, pedantic, and nostalgic...much like its creators." Benny Castles / WORLD



David Moreland


Design Hunters

Design Hunter™ Q+A with Andrew Waller

Your name: Andrew Waller    

What you do: Interior Architect                 

Your latest project: A new Graphic Design studio for a long time creative partner - Spring in Alaska

What first inspired you to be a designer? Growing up in the UK there is such a weight of history and diverse architectural styles. I remember as a youngster always being enthralled by the idea of design and working with space.  

 How/why did you choose the medium/format you work in?

Studying architecture gave me such a fantastic and broad set of skills when it comes to applying design in the real world. I have tended to focus on interior built spaces which allow me to have more control over detail within a project. My particular passion when it comes to interiors would be joinery and how this structures space.

 What do you believe the role of design is in the modern world?

You can come at this question from so many different angles - especially when dealing with interiors, which today are much more accessible to everyone through massive media exposure. One could argue the role of a trained designer is more important than ever.

Who are three people that inspire/excite you:

1) The Classics (Frank Lloyd Wright, Le Corbusier, Gerrit Rietveld) - it's hard to go past these brilliant minds for pure inspiration - I won’t be missing the Power House Museum’s exhibition on Corbusier later this year. 

2) Friends and Family

What is your creative philosophy

When it comes to my work I am not so concerned with applying a standardised 'Waller Design' stamp to each project.  I approach new jobs with a sensitive understanding of client needs that take on board both the physical and emotional requirements of a space.

What does the term ‘Design Hunter’ mean to you?

Always keeping your eyes open. Being aware of your environment - you never know when a design solution or idea will present itself!

What is your favourite…

travel destination: Paris

hotel/place to stay: I just returned from Milan and the Salone. We normally stay in a hotel but this time we used AirBnB which was brilliant. I love how it gives you access to stay at a locals place - such a better way to become part of the city. 

periodical: InDesign, Domus, Habitus, World of Interiors, Monocle

luxury goods company:  Established & Sons

value for money company: Thonet  

design classic: BestLite

new design: Luminous’ table by Glas Italia (Designer Tokujin Yoshioka)

type of chair: This week its …… Walter Knoll's CUOIO lounge chair

meal: Rain, hail or shine I go to the beach every Sunday morning for breakfast - it’s one of the most superb aspects of living here in Sydney.

restaurant: there’s a great pizza place in Bondi I go to it makes the best pizza’s in the world

drink: I’m not a big drinker, I rarely go out to bars, in fact I am a complete hermit. Ha!

gallery/museum: Historic house Villa Necchi - I just recently visited in Milan  

item in your studio: my library

artwork: I just recently bought a John Olsen for a job – the colours are stunning.

piece of technology: iPad

What's On

‘Totem’ at Butler Goode Gallery

If you have a soft spot for dogs, you’d undeniably delight in the works of John Giese; a painter whose works emulates such affection and explores the irrefutable parallels humans share with animals.  His latest exhibition Totem Animal Art favours bold colour and accentuating form over natural animal portrayal, proving that figurative art is still very much alive.


Australian born with a background in graphic design and sign writing, Giese has flourished into a visual artist whose colour schemes hold a symbolic language for the audience and stimulate rhythm and tension with his application of mixed surface finishes.  

Look at one of John Giese’s superb dog portraits and you are seeing how he views these glorious animals. "Dogs and horses have a long term relationship with our species and more personally myself. They are metaphors for human beings and our journey through life.”

Giese undoubtedly brings to life any animal he endeavors to depict, engorging it with power and strength through his wonderful use of colour. The result is a decorative beauty and a crafted portrait that brings movement and magnificence to the personality his creatures express.

Held at the Butler Goode Gallery on Thursday June 21st, John Giese will be in attendance on the night giving a talk on the influence behind his animal inspired paintings.

Butler Goode Gallery

What's On

‘In-Habit: Project Another Country’ at Sherman Contemporary Art Foundation

Considering the idea of place, the Aquilizans will present two separate but interconnected works that address the ideas of journey and diaspora; settlement and resettlement; home and land; plight and displacement. Using this process of collecting and collaborating to express ideas of migration, family and memory, the husband and wife team will work with local schools and the community to construct small houses using recycled cardboard boxes and tape. The houses will contribute to a growing community of dwellings installed on scaffolding, resembling a sprawling construction site continuously evolving and always in transition. The cardboard dwellings reference the makeshift Badjao houses on stilts.


An indigenous ethnic group of Southeast Asia with a long history of nomadic seafaring, the Badjao are now among the displaced poor in the Philippines and are at risk of losing their identity as they integrate with their adopted, land-based communities. Many Badjao families are now forced to move further and further inland, along the docks of city seaports because of hardship and deprivation.

The Badjao must now seek alternative ways to survive, while their children are out in the streets begging and performing in exchange for money and food. The Badjao children express themselves by combining foreign popular music with their local dialect, rapping and creating rhymes accompanied by "ad-hoc" tin drums. It is these performances and the children’s abilities to spontaneously and rapidly compose lyrics that interest the Aquilizans, and a multi-channel video work focussing on the children of the Badjao accompanies the interactive installation. 

A full-colour catalogue, published by SCAF with an essay by Felicity Fenner, Acting Director, College of Fine Arts Galleries, UNSW, accompanies the exhibition.

Sherman Contemporary Art Foundation 

Exhibition dates: 22 June - 25 August

Design Hunters

Ingo Maurer at Milan SDM 2012

In a dark hall at the Spazio Krizia the exhibition ‘A Dozen Red Things and A Lot of Green’ displays Maurer's latest creations. 

On using LEDs.

Well, I must say I was the one – and I really want to emphasise this – I was the one who did, in ’98, the first product of LED for the home. And the people forget [that]. Everybody is in LED and LED is awful but it’s a matter of how you use it and what kind you are using.

On traditional light sources vs. LED.

I think we shouldn’t just say this is the only way to go. I am for a very diverse world and different smells, colours, characters. I like to live…and we live in a rich world of different impressions. This is what I like.

On the current state of contemporary lighting design.

I think that the way things go now is strictly functional, [leaving] emotion out. Light is something like has a spirit although it’s artificial. Light is very close to religion if you want to, not religion as in [Christianity, etc.], but really, [in] the adoration of our universe [and so] we must react to it in a better way. There are great things done but it’s not conscious enough yet…function…business…another product and not regarding mankind – the human being – enough.

On ‘LED Candle’

This light is a work of a friend of mine, Moritz Waldemeyer. We always wanted to work together and he had this idea of a flame. This is a prototype of course. And then you see, we will do chandeliers, big variations. It’s a new development in LEDs. It’s a mad thing to do and an enormous investment but you have to do new things to go into new dimensions. 

On ‘LED Wallpaper’ (produced by Architects Paper)

This is wallpaper, which you can dim on and off…set on a program. We can do it with different colours. We can have it colourful or very minimal. I think it’s a very nice, elegant solution. 

On ‘Zak  Zarak’

This is a completely new technique and it creates a new aesthetic. It is a magnet-based desk light. It doesn’t have springs or conventional [mechanisms]. [The magnet] holds [the light] together and you [can] put it in different positions. It’s not [static]. A guy who works with us – Lutz Pankow – had this idea. I thought it was brilliant and we decided to do it. 

On the green wall installation.

This started last year. We had a job for an 8-metre-high dining room, which used to be a catholic chapel. We had the problem of sound so I thought of sponges. These are natural sponges, but cultivated. It’s really quite stable. We gave it this colour. We needed insects so we found this guy – Graham Owen – the master of insects. He’s magnificent. We had a very good collaboration. This is going to a very wonderful new modern house in Switzerland. Each one we create is different. I’m looking forward to the next one. It takes weeks [to make].

On ‘J. B. Schmetterling’

There’s this song by Marlene Dietrich [with the lines] ”…when the moths and insects come too close and they burn, it’s not my fault…” This is what [the lamp] wanted to say. [It’s] one of a kind. 

Ingo Maurer


What's On

‘Yes Is More’ at Flinders Lane Gallery

Utilising contemporary media to explore his fascination with real and virtual boundaries, Richard Blackwell employs veneers, digital projections and aluminium printing techniques to play with ideas of spatial distortion. Inspired by architectural forms and landscapes, his playful illusions lie flat on the wall yet challenge our visual preconceptions. In his upcoming exhibition, he presents a series of wall sculptures which explore the idea of scale and blur the boundaries between accessible and inaccessible space.  

With a particular focus on drawing, scale and facsimile, Blackwell’s playful abstractions mimic architectural interiors and building facades as well as basic materials like metal, paper and rope. Referencing traditions in modern painting, Blackwell’s works are materially and spatially deceptive but also simple, bold and direct.

Speaking of his upcoming exhibition Richard says,

"My work since the Grotto exhibition series has turned back in on itself and although my interest in illusion shows strongly in this body, this show is looser than Grotto was. The Foil and Paper derive from the faceted, shaded polygons of prints from Grotto. My fascination with the shadows my works cast on the wall have prompted me to mimic them on the surfaces of the works themselves. They are kinds of paintings in this show.

This work explores my influences in Modern art and many of the works in the show evoke those artists and artistic traditions. The show’s title Yes is More is a play on Mies van der Rohe’s’ famous philosophy that less is more. Yes is More is also the name a book by and about Bjarke Ingels and BIG Architects - which sits in my studio.  Some of the influences for the show are obvious - Riley, Rauschenberg and Stella to start with. I’m also interested in the scaled mark and the facsimile - Canberra’s Ruth Waller and Peter Maloney play a big part in this interest for me.

I still consider all of this work to be Abstract but in Yes is More, I have started ‘drawing’ abstract imagery with representations of architecture and every day materials such as rope, rolled hollow section, and paper. Of course these are representations in themselves.’

'Yes Is More' will be on display at Flinders Lane Gallery from 19 June to 7 July.

Flinders Lane Gallery

Fixed & Fitted
Design Products

Kaldawei Asymmetric Duo Bath

Its timeless elegance and straightforward design transform the Asymmetric Duo bath into a stylish centrepiece in a modern bathroom. The ingenious synthesis of comfort, functionality and aesthetics makes for a high degree of innovation, which also impressed the juries of the Red Dot design award 2012 and the Universal Design award 2012. The Kaldawei Asymmetric Duo Bath is available from Batheabc
Around The World

Cemagi Residence

Built on clayey soils in southwest Bali that only a few years ago were still rice paddies, this minimalist, three-bedroom beachside villa is situated 30 minutes drive from bustling Semanyak and offers guests an exclusive, intimate sanctuary from which to enjoy the island's natural and cultural attractions. 

The aesthetic concept for the project was to create a contemporary, understated residence using materials suitable for the tropical context. From this GFAB architects extrapolated a spacious structure that capitalizes on the site's gorgeous ocean views while balancing the clean simplicity of its design with lush landscaping and inviting touches of comfort.

Regarding the brief and original site of the project Gary Fell, Principal at GFAB comments that "[the firm was] presented with a largely flat site directly on the coast and a client willing to embrace a resolutely modernist aesthetic without compromise". " The owner not only allowed us to use the materials we did" he adds, "but actively sought such a material palette". This palette was considered especially for the salty air and humidity and consisted mainly of 'off-form' concrete, highlighted sparingly with limestone and timber accent.

Internally, living spaces feature seamless continuity between indoor and outdoor spaces and generous downlighting, giving them a breezy luminescence both during the day and nocturnally, with sunken sofas and a semi-covered pool contributing a playfully indulgent mood.

Private spaces are cozier but still ample and include views of the ocean and surrounding nature without compromising privacy. The furniture that populates the rooms is all locally made and continues the paired-back aesthetic of the building, with outdoor furniture chosen to be easily removed in case of storms and clad with water/sunproof fabric. 


A staff of five completes Cemagi's luxury, catering to guests' every need and serving feasts of local seafood and produce.





Neeson Murcutt’s Castlecrag project on Radio National

Join an audio tour of the four-level family house in Castlecrag on Sydney Harbour that won Neeson’s firm the Australian Institute of Architect's 2011 Robin Boyd Award (one of Australia's most important awards for a house).

A substantial re-development of an old family house, its palette is re-cycled bricks, steel and timber, and concrete. The house sits in the sandstone in the Australian bush overlooking Sydney Harbour; due to this site, it is built to be as safe as possible in bush fires.

To hear the radio program click here.

Audio courtesy of Radio National:

Janne Ryan interview with Rachel Neeson for By Design, ABCRN


See the Castlecrag project in Habitus 16, out now.

Nesson Murcutt