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… Picnics

Paolozzi Accent Plates


Designed by: Royal Doulton

Why we love it: Based on Sir Eduardo Paolozzi’s designs, this set of bright colorful bone china plates is playful but refined, and makes the perfect frame for your picnic delicacies. 

Where you can get it: Royal Doulton


Baggy Winecoat


Designed by: Jakob Wagner for Menu

Why we love it: Now that there are some decent wines sold in boxes, dress them up and keep them cool with this stylish and convenient winecoat.

Where you can get it: Scandinavian Design Centre


Fida mat


Designed by: Patrick Frey for Vial

Why we love it: The Fida is a cushioned mat that with a simple latch can become a reclined seat. Made of waterproof polyester and weighing only 2.6kg, it is the perfect accessory to lie or lounge away the summer days on. 

Where you can get it: Vial


Element Portable


Designed by: Fuego

Why we love it: Press a button, snap the legs into the cooking position, lift the lid and click the ignitor. You now have an even, powerful grilling surface. 

Where you can get it: Fuego


Handpresso Outdoor Set


Designed by: Handpresso

Why we love it: Containing a small, portable and manual espresso machine called Handpresso as well as four unbreakable cups, a single-hand thermos-insulated flask (to keep hot water even longer) an a small napkin, the outdoor set delivers machine quality espresso wherever you are, and allows you to revel in the envy of your fellow park-goers.

Where you can get it: Handpresso


Cool Bag


Designed by: Jakob Wagner for Menu

Why we love it: Two innovative buckles mean Cool Bag can be used both as a standard bag with a short handle or as a shoulder bag with a longer strap. The insulating inner bag is easy to remove, allowing the outer bag to be used as a spacious shopping bag – under the arm or over the shoulder.

Where you can get it: Menu




Designed by: Skincom

Why we love it: Quick and easy to setup and weighing less than 2.5 kgs, the Easy for Two solartent is ideal for protecting skin, food and wine from direct sunlight. 

Where you can get it: Skincom


Akiko Petanque Set


Designed by: J. Herbin

Why we love it: Any picnic worth its salt should include some form of outdoor activity, and Petanque is a particularly apt example. This set, designed by Hans Sandegren Jacobsen & Akiko, features an integrated teak handle for easy carrying and attractive teak finish. 

Where you can get it: Danish Design Store



What's On

Curated Space at SID Singapore

The Curated Space at Saturday in Design is always a big crowd puller, given that it houses not one, not two, but many different exhibitors, designers and project installations in one central city location.

This year, the Curated Space will be located at the red dot design museum in the heart of the Singapore CBD.

Thinking Ergonomix will be there to launch no less than five products; Deco Expression will introduce a unique range of Vorwerk carpets by renowned designers such as Zaha Hadid and Jean Nouvel; and Bode and Vantage will be collaborating with Studio Daminato on a project installation and presenting brands such as Tsar Carpets, Timorous Beasties and Kinnasand.

Also check out Create Stone, which will be launching in Singapore for the first time, Korla’s colourful made-to-measure handprinted fabrics, and Stylecraft’s showcase of products from Ritzwell, Arper, Derlot Editions and Tacchini.


The Curated Space will also play host to Australian designers Björn Rust, Alexander Lotersztain and Jason Bird, as well as the works of David Shaw, Surya Graf and Marc Harrison under Quench, a collective that aims to promote the works of designers from Queensland.

While there, feast your eyes on an installation by MINUS made out of Cubes magazines, and don’t forget to join in the “Neighbourhood Game” organised by Design Hotels. Simply describe the cities shown on maps for a chance to win a hotel stay for two at New Majestic Hotel and Tokyo’s Park Hotel.

Saturday in Design Singapore


Tropical Clusters

From its birth, the Mont Timah project sought to bring something new to the city-state’s residential panorama; in the words of architect Chan Sau Yan of CSYA Associates, “The intent… was to create an alternative typology in landed housing which distinguishes from the traditional bungalow, semi-detached and detached developments – a first of its kind in Singapore.”

To achieve this, the firm arranged unites in clusters of four, arranged as a square block divided into quarters or “quads”. This allows each unit to include the ‘landed’ characteristics of bungalows, with their individual enclosed space on the ground floor inclusive of a water feature, lawn and timber deck. Every quad also enjoys an open corner and a compact plan, enabling generous daylight penetration and views out.


Circulation is concentrated in the centre of each cluster to maximise peripheral floor space. “This forms a structural lift core, from which party walls extend outwards” explains “Each unit is then duplicated four times in rotation around this core, giving rise to a pinwheel plan.” 

First and second floor

Third floor and roof

Beyond their architectural innovation, the appeal of the units owes much to their superb natural context. Situated next to the Bukit Timah Nature Reserve, the project revels in exclusive views of dense forest. The compound was contoured as a series of terraces gently cascading from the entrance down to the farthest south-western end to create an unobstructed central vista, capitalising on the site’s original sloping topography.


The structures themselves are characterized by a restrained material palette comprising off-form concrete with pinewood board grain details in natural and charcoal grey stain, Brazilian teak for the interior spaces and Composite timber for exterior decking, Silver travertine for bathrooms, granite/granolithic finishes for exterior spaces and aluminium for all doors and windows, with canopies made of powder-coated dark bronze. The spare concrete cladding is softened by abundant vegetation throughout the site, including an extended vertical green wall.

Overall the development demonstrates an intelligent fusion of the best aspects of bungalow and cluster housing, combining seclusion and private outdoor space with spatial efficiency and consolidated amenities. 

For a more in-depth review of the Mount Timah project, pick up a copy of Habitus 19, available March 27.

CSYA Associates

Photography: Aaron Pocock

Design Hunters

Petit Parterres

Following in the French tradition of a formal ‘parterre’, Artisan Gardens constructs new gardens, making meticulous use of topiary and soft landscaping. Popular among inner city dwellers and people renovating homes for re-sale,Artisan Gardens rejuvenates old garden beds, recycles dying plants and beautifies small spaces at top speed.

Installing garden beds edged with border plantings or tightly clipped hedging, semi-established plants are arranged in a pleasing symmetrical pattern to suit each client’s needs. Styles range from the traditional to modern, and include evergreen and formal options, floral examples using edible plants and herbs, and balcony gardens that make use of pots, planter boxes and walls.

Gardens can be installed within a balcony, courtyard, front entrance, back yard or side garden, and the company’s  signature ‘9-5pm installation’ program means new gardens can literally pop-up over night. Standard gardens include soft landscaping only, but bespoke parterre may be customised to include vintage or recycled objects, sculpture and water features.

Founder and creator of Artisan Gardens Richard Marshall says their client base consists of ‘aesthetes and inner city dwellers’ who love formal gardens, but aren’t yet in touch with their green thumb. “Our clients want to create something beautiful, but they don’t know where to start. Some are moving to a new home and reclaiming a dilapidated front terrace – while others are simply re-vamping a property for valuation. Either way they require a slick, professional service that improves and beautifies their home while also adding value. The transformation gives them an instant kick too! Most of our clients say they feel as if they’re coming home to a completely new property after we install their parterre!” Marshall says.

Artisan Gardens


Iberic Instinct

Starting with the objective of creating an honest and pared back aesthetic, Mandy Edge (of Edgedesignstudio) was very conscious of avoiding the distinctly themed, stylised feel of other venues.

That said, the site was rich with character, and presented a number of opportunities for playful and particular details. Located at the ground floor on the corner of an iconic ocean-liner style building near the Oxford Street thoroughfare, the space is replete with porthole windows, 4m high ceilings and a splayed entry door, where the triangular room tapers to a narrow wedge. Bi-fold doors and sliding windows on two surfaces give abundant access to the surrounding street area, begging for outdoor seating that (we hope) will come this summer.

As part of the concept the fit out aimed to use materials that already felt a little lived in, including hand made wall tiles from Spain, a custom zinc bar top, hand blown glass pendants and recycled timbers and antique leathers. The nautical subtext of the building is lightly referenced in the white, curved ship-like façade and in the brass bunka lights, brass gallery rails and tile trims, adding some flavor to the décor without overtly defining it.

Overall the palette of honest materials in their raw states and restrained colours creates a reassuringly utilitarian feel, which is then softened by the discovery of more nuanced details that speak of consideration and good taste.

This is paired with an equally uncomplicated culinary concept; developed by owners Nathan Moses and Julian Marachetto, the menu is unequivocally Mediterranean and features many single serve dishes. The philosophy with presentation seems to stress more the confident pairing of ingredients that look and taste good together (read Smoked Salmon, white garlic and caper berries) rather than laboriously sculptural arrangements, which further sustains the generally un-fussy feel of the space.

Foley Lane

Photography: Steve Back

What's On

Digital Crystal

How is memory created in a digital world? Once, we relied on photo albums and other tangible objects to shape our recollections. As our lives are led increasingly online, to what do we attach our memories, and what shape do they take?

These are the ideas explored in a new exhibition at London’s Design Museum. Fourteen projects, commissioned by Swarovski and showcasing the company’s trademark crystal, play with traditional notions of memory and perceptions of what is digital. The exhibition marks the 10th anniversary of Swarovski Crystal Palace, a project which has seen the crystal makers collaborate with some of the most well-known designers in the business – including Zaha Hadid, Yves Behar and Missoni – to create custom pieces that play with technology and light. Digital Crystal features four existing installations and ten created especially for the exhibition.

The collection was inspired by a conversation the museum had with Swarovski about “how to frame the notion of digital design going forward,” says the show’s curator, Nina Due.

“The idea of memory came about – how we interact less with objects than we did in the past and how, potentially, memory starts to manifest itself in different ways.”

Each designer offers a different alternative. Some play with our perceptions – Paul Cocksedge’s floating laser-projected diamond shapes shift and change form; Hye-Yon Park creates polar bear shapes within a smooth white ring of crystal, revealed only when it is cut into. Yves Behar’s large, quivering crystal forms turn out to be single cut stones amplified by LEDs and projected onto paper shades.

Marcus Tremonto’s HOLO Centre Table asks us to consider whether anything is truly digital, his piece relying on human interaction to reveal its form. Maarten Baas’ Thought Cloud offers an opposite view, suggesting that if physical objects become obsolete, all we are left with is our thoughts. Ultimately, the exhibition offers no solutions – but instead encourages visitors to question the digital world they live in and the way they interact with digital media.

Digital Crystal is on display at London’s Design Museum until 13 January 2013.

Digital Crystal


Contemporary Colonial Chic

A collaboration between Creative Director of Visvim Hiroki Nakamura and Architect Naohiko Hino, the project references the historic setting of the Raffles Hotel in Singapore and pairs the brand’s luxury casual aesthetic with 19thcentury elegance. It also continues Visivim’s series of ‘Free International Laboratories’ (F.I.L) and sustains the brand’s core philosophies of simple refinement and artisanal quality.

A defining theme of the fit out was that of celebrating the architecture of the iconic Singaporean landmark and elaborating it within the boutique. From the textured geometry of the parquet floor and the weighty timber bench and cabinets to the antique tin ceiling, the architect went to enormous lengths to create a mood of beautifully worn grandeur. The end result is so convincing that it is easy to assume these elements were pre-existing.

Part of this success is due to the dedication with which materials were sourced – the flooring is original European parquet, and the bar and cabinets are built from 19th century timber salvaged in the United States from abandoned structures. The wall plaster, while not antique, is a special variety available only in Japan; known as shikkui plaster, it is all natural and made of limestone. This exacting research reflects Nakamura’s belief that antique materials deserve to be revived to find new purpose modern society; in his own words it is “breathing new life into this beautiful material.”

Ultimately the boutique creates a wonderfully rich context within which to display Visvim’s products – the blending of classic cuts with bursts of colour and design or suede moccasins updated with contemporary rubber details fits perfectly with the broader interaction between old and new, giving the Singapore Free International Laboratory an aesthetic sophistication rarely found in modern retail environments.


Habitus Loves
Design Products
Design Accessories

Habitus Loves… Stationery

2000 Fountain Pen


Designed by: Gerd A. Müller for Lamy

Why we love it: Made from a combination of fibreglass and ‘Makrolon’ brushed stainless steel with a 14kt gold nib, the Lamy 2000 fountain pen is revered by scribes of all stripes. Piston filled with a a spring operated clip it creates inimitably smooth script and is a delight to write with.

Where you can get it: ikonink


Graph Gear 1000 Mechanical Pencil


Designed by: Pentel

Why we love it: From it’s strong, sleek stainless steel exterior to the retractable nib and finely chiseled metallic grip inlaid with soft pads, the Graph Gear 1000 drafting pencil is a perfect fusion of comfort, function and aesthetics. 

Where you can get it: Pentel


Cotton Roll Pencil Case


Designed by: Delfonics

Why we love it: Combining the refinement of linen with a compact and flexible design, this pencil case allows you to simply undo and unravel into a flat case stitched to hold 13 pens or pencils. 

Where you can get it: NoteMaker


Cowhide desk pad


Designed by: Manufactum

Why we love it: After scrupulously searching for the perfect writing instrument and paper, what a shame it would be to have one’s diligence undone by too hard or soft a surface upon which to compose. Cowhide leather gives a perfect mix of cushion and support, and the ample size of 50 x70 cm ensures generous space to spread out on.

Where you can get it: Manufactum


Tuscany Journal


Designed by: Corban & Blair

Why we love it: Combining debossed and smooth leather to create a pleasing tactile contrast, this A6, 80gsm notebook is the perfect repository for momentary thoughts, sketches and inspirations. 

Where you can get it: Corban & Blair


Garden Letter Set


Designed by: Elm

Why we love it: Comprising 10 writing sheets, 15 envelopes, 5 cards, 1 gift card and 3 gift tags, this letter set is decorated with finely detailed botanical imagery, adding a cool, soft feel to the paper. 

Where you can get it: Elm


Accordian File


Designed by: Il Papiro

Why we love it: The marbled paper of this file is hand decorated one sheet at a time according to the procedure of Mace Ruette, famous book-binder of Louis XIII. Irregularities in the pattern form part of its individual nature, creating an elegantly colorful container for your documents.

Where you can get it: Il Papiro


Wax Seal


Designed by: J. Herbin

Why we love it: Perhaps more than it’s original security purposes, a wax seal lends an archaic flourish to a letter (or better yet, scroll). The comforting weight of french made Brass Steel, and a varnished wooden handle add further gravitas to the process of imprinting your personal image, initials, monogram or logo in the soft substance.

Where you can get it: telegram




More With Less

Originally presented with a brief for a three-bedroom house across two stories, architects Clinton Cole and Johnny Mrljack quickly realised that the budget of less than $500,000 would not allow the project to be satisfactorily executed. Instead they advised the client to consider a two-bedroom home on one level, rather than diluting the budget and reducing the build quality. 

The end result was a plan for a 100 sqm home on a 200 sqm lot with a garden and 2 fish ponds. The house is divided by a spine containing joinery and aguest toilet, with dining, kitchen, living and outdoor living areas on one side and alternating bedrooms and ponds on the other.


Whilst the new plan reduced space in the home, it allowed a much greater attention to materials and detailing, with the latter benefitting from the firm’s strong in-house and contracted craftsmen. In particular the quality of the joinery is impressive, and the ample built-in storage and design flourishes like the island bench top further elevate the build above its price bracket. Mrljack, the Project Architect, even went so far as to turn the front handle and screens over the windows himself.

Materially the house makes extensive use of different timbers to suit different functions. Externally the building is clad in cedar planks, painted charcoal on one side and left untinted where they flow into indoor spaces, where the warmth and lustre of natural timber are sustained with hardwoods for flooring and engineered timber in the joinery. Clean white paintwork celebrates the freshness and brightness of the coastal location (Curl Curl in Sydney’s Northern Beaches), further illuminated by a skylight that borders the living area on one side.


The budget was also able to accommodate a 5000 litre rainwater tank underneath the house and a number of accessibility features requested by the client, including concealed grab-rails, accessible cupboards and minimisation of trip hazards. 

The project demonstrates how close collaboration between architects, constructors and contractors can produce excellent results with limited resources; as Cole comments about the home, “It’s my perfect house: humble in scale, as a one off custom house at under half a million, close to competing with a project home.”


CplusC Architects

Photography: Simon Whitbread

What's On

Singapore gears up for Saturday in Design

The one-day design event is set to take place within central Singapore as 35 of the city’s most significant design showrooms open their doors to the architecture and design community and design lovers.

Visitors will have access to special product launches, introductions to new brands and inspiring installations born from collaborations between local creatives and showrooms under The Project initiative.

A series of VIP Events and Workshops will take place in the days leading up to the event on Saturday, while International Guests such as Shashi Caan, President of the International Federation of Interior Architects/Designers (IFI), will be making their way into Singapore to join in the festivities.

After the enthusiastic response from just under 3000 visitors to last year’s Saturday in Design, the event expects an estimated 4000 visitors this year. With the support of industry partners including the DesignSingapore Council, the red dot design museum, the Singapore Institute of Architects, and the International Federation of Interior Architects/Designers, this year’s event promises to be one to look forward to. “The event is already recognised in Asia. We’re only in our second edition, but already we have overseas companies using Saturday in Design as a platform to launch in this region,” says Raj Nandan, Publisher and CEO of Indesign Media Group. “The founding concept is to entertain somebody in your own house, with your own culture, on your own premise. It’s far more realistic, cost effective and enjoyable.”

To attend, simply register for free at saturdayindesign.com.sg. You will receive a day pass in your email, which you can print out and bring with you during the day of the event. In addition to the updates you’ll receive once you register, an event guidebook will also be available for downloading on the website prior to the event. Alternatively, you can pick one up from any of the participating showrooms on the day. Complimentary shuttle buses plying four fixed routes provide a convenient way to get around. Alternatively, you can choose to move around on your own and see where theday brings you!

Saturday in Design Singapore


A Walk on the North Side

Drowned river valleys characterise Sydney’s North Shore. They have created impressive ridges which, in early days, posed problems for getting from one place to another. The idiosyncratic Long Gully Bridge linking Cammeray and Northbridge was built in 1892 and helped link the lower and middle North Shore. But the Harbour Bridge itself was not opened until 1932, so getting to these suburbs before then involved ferries and long car journeys. 

Still, some of Sydney’s most notable domestic architecture is found on the North Shore, with the suburb of Castlecrag offering the most concentrated snapshot of the city’s architectural history. 

Castlecrag began with Walter Burley Griffin, who started designing 50 houses there in 1921 as part of a visionary development. At that time, the ridge which makes up the suburb was scrubby. Now it is almost tropical in its lushness – a transformation engineered by Griffin whose vision was for a garden suburb, but one which responded to the topography and native vegetation.


Griffin designed a suburb which has an organic unity. The roads follow the contours (rather than the typical grid), linking walkways, even a communal outdoor amphitheatre where the residents could get together.

In the end, only 16 houses were built. But these can still be easily seen from the street, most notably the Fishwick house which has been beautifully restored and subtly transformed internally into a contemporary home.

Fishwick House

The narrow peninsula of Castlecrag is easily walkable – following Edinburgh Road with short diversions on either side, mainly on the south where the curving roads still bear Griffin’s quaint names – The Bulwark, The Citadel, The Rampart etc.

Inspired by Griffin, later architects have also built notable houses in Castlecrag. Peter Muller, for example, has designed three houses there – the Gunning House (1960, 369 Edinburgh Road), the Patrick House (1961, The Scarp) and the McArthur House (1965, Tor Walk). A little further along Edinburgh Road on the left is a fine Alex Popov compound house which is hard to see from the road, but a small pubic reserve runs down the side which gives a better view.

Right the bottom of Edinburgh Road there is also a Donovan Hill house. But probably the most talked about house is the Buhrich House. It is just as you get to the bottom of the road at 375 Edinburgh Road. A public right-of-way runs down the side of the house to the water. So, you can see the house from front, side and from the bottom near the water looking back up. This small, but revolutionary house (built between 1968 and 1972), changed the way architects thought about house design, especially on the North Shore.

Buhrich House

Pick up a copy of Habitus 17, available September 19, to explore a 1973 house in Castlecrag by Andre Porebski.

Design Products

Nick Radford Rugs from Carpet Republic

Because it is the whitest available, New Zealand wool takes dye exceptionally well, resulting in pure colours. NRR yarns can be matched to any shade of paint, Pantone colour, sample of fabric, or the huge range of colour tufts available at Carpet Design Centre.

Each Nick Radford rug is unique and custom-made to order. They hand-tuft their rug  products which gives them the flexibility to create cut or loop piles ranging from 8mm – 150mm (⅓” – 6″) in height with yarn densities of 2.0kg – 9.0kg per square metre (60oz/sqyd – 265oz/sqyd). There are no size, shape or colour limitations on their rugs.

NRR aim to redefine the concept of carpet with their luxurious and extremely durable wall-to-wall collection. Their carpets are available in any colour, have no minimum order size, and the machinery NRR use enables them to manufacture very precise dimensions, thus avoiding wastage.  

Nick Radford Rugs
Carpet Republic