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.

 

Learn more

Design Products
Habitus Loves

Habitus Loves… The Big Design Market

Zaishu

 

Created by: Helen Punton & Matthew Butler

Why we love it: Zaishu is a social art project using a slot together seat / table as the canvas to create installations and exhibitions around the world. Inspired is drawn from culture and creativity to make work that bridges the gap between visual art and product design.

Where you can get it: The Big Design Market

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'Music in the Park' Mossarium

 

Created by: Petite Green

Why we love it: Petite Green create miniature worlds which capture the imagination and ignite whimsy. They are more than just terrariums, they are living pieces of art. Petite Green terrariums and mossariums are not just a jumble of lovely plants and moss, but a snapshot into a moment, far away but still so close.

Where you can get it: The Big Design Market

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Sign Bench 450

 

Created by: Trent Jansen

Why we love it: The Sign Bench 450 is fundamentally a sustainable piece of furniture design. Constructed from re-used road signs, the rubber feet and rivets are the only new materials used in the manufacture of this piece, so the burden placed on natural resources is lessened. The re-used road signs used to construct the Sign Bench 450 come complete with all the characteristics of their previous use, including colourful vinyl labels and the odd evidence of their life by the roadside. This not only provides character but tells the life story of this road sign, serving its public duty on the freeway.

Where you can get it: The Big Design Market

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321 Water

 

Created by: 321 Water

Why we love it: The unique, patented filtration method of the 321 Water bottles is designed to provide free-flowing, instant filtered water. The bottles are made of durable, easy to clean, BPA free copolyester (Tritan Eastman) and use Activated Carbon to filter water. 

Where you can get it: The Big Design Market

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Hide and Seek Wallet

 

Created by: Bellroy

Why we love it: Conventional only on first impression, the Hide & Seek Wallet separates cards & bills according to how often you use them. 

Where you can get it: The Big Design Market

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Tea Boxes

 

Created by: Duncan Meerding

Why we love it: Inspired by organic forms with a particular interest in how light performs around objects, the work of blind designer Meerding explores light emanating from the peripheries, and the highly tactile nature of his work reflects the alternative sensory world within which he designs.

Where you can get it: The Big Design Market

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Ceramic Works

 

Created by: Bridget Bodenham

Why we love it: Working in Country Victoria, Bodenham makes decorative and functional clay objects which possess a refined, organic appeal. 

Where you can get it: The Big Design Market

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Big Bowl

 

Designed by: Sands Work 

Why we love it: The Big Bowl is a rather large wooden bowl crafted from specially selected slabs of Black Walnut. The contrasting wood tones are shuffled before being joined to produce a subtle, toned centrepiece for the table or kitchen bench. The large surface area of the Big Bowl is perfect for fruits such as apples, apricots, kiwi, mangoes, nectarines and peaches, which should be exposed to air at room temperature until ripe.

Where you can get it: The Big Design Market

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People
MAGAZINE
Design Hunters
Conversations

Impy Pilapil

Philippino-born and educated until travelling to complete further studies at the Accademia Italiana in Rome followed by the Pratt Graphics Centre in New York, sculptor Impy Pilapil has developed an extensive oeuvre over a 35-year career and continues to be very active in the art world from her humble studio back in the Philippines. Along with her impressive sculptures and installation pieces Impy is an active member of the World Print Council at the International Sculpture Centre and spends a lot of her time hosting art workshops for underprivileged children. She also contributes to writing a column in the bi-monthly modern living and lifestyle magazine the ‘Philippine Star’.

Impy Pilapil’s work deals with themes of discovery and extends into her own personal philosophy of the world. It is this that feeds her practice and exists within and around her - it is also this sense of the universe that has strengthened her creative energy and allows her to embody her work and project a positive response to the viewers through her interactive and synergistic installations.

To see some of Pilapil's works in architect Renato Vidal's home, pic up a copy of Habitus issue 18, available December 12. 

Impy Pilapil

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Design Hunters
People

Design Hunter™ Q+A with John Tsiavis

Your name: John Tsiavis

What you do: Commercial photographer - John Tsiavis Photography

Your latest project: I recently returned home from shooting a reportage story of Philip Treacy’s London Fashion week show. It was such an amazing job, I ended up shooting Michael Jackson’s most iconic outfits back at Philip’s studio.

We’re now in preproduction for a heap of diverse & fun jobs. I’m shooting the key artwork for a feature film and a couple television shows and putting all the components together for big advertising job that includes a cast of thousands.

It’s an exciting time.

 Who are three people that inspire/excite you: 

     1) Leigh Bowery

     2) Pedro Almodovar

     3) Grace Jones


What is your favourite…

Car/bike/plane/boat model: I have my eye on the new Range Rover Evoke.  It’s a well designed car I can fit all my equipment and it looks badass!

Chair model: I much prefer a comfy couch

Residential space: I love my home.

Commercial space: I was at lighting designer Christopher Boots’ new studio/showroom to discuss an upcoming job. It’s in a huge, old warehouse in Fitzroy. Has amazing natural light and is filled with great people creating beautiful things surrounded by his lights hanging all over the place. I wanted to move in myself.

Decorative product: my collection of photography and art books, though it distresses me to call them decorative

Functional product: Wacom pen tablet, makes my life so much easier    

Handmade good: anything I mange to grow in my vegie patch

Mass-produced good: screw cap on wine bottles

mealnothing beats watermelon on a hot day

restaurant: HIX in London. We ate there the other week and had an unexpectedly fantastic meal. Who would have thought a roast chicken could taste that good?! mmm and fries cooked in duck fat. 

drinkRaki and water

barThe Roof Top bar in Melbourne

item in your studio: my speakers, I’d go mad without my music

piece of technologyiPhone that I attach to my speakers 

historical figure: Leigh Bowery

fictional character: George Costanza

vice: indulgence

virtue: restraint

What does the term ‘Design Hunter’™ mean to you? It’s what I hope my stylists do when we’re putting a job together. Search out every option and then rethink our approach to create something unexpectedly beautiful and unique. I’m considering printing it on a t-shirt for them!

 

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Architecture
NOT HOMES
Places

Brasserie Ananas

“The authentic brasseries and bistros of France reflect the sensibilities of the owner and the locale”, explains Rachel Luchetti, co-owner of Interior Deign firm Luchetti Krelle “This colonial outpost celebrates the exotic – through the symbolism of the pineapple.”

The heritage listed site dates from 1826 as one of the city’s earliest still intact warehouses. As such special attention had to be paid to the original elements of the structure. At the same time, incorporating surfaces of worn, rough-hewn sandstone and brickwork provided excellent turf in which to anchor the more refined and luxurious aspects of the fit out.

Most strikingly, the restaurant boasts items sourced from Paris flea markets during a trip taken by the designers earlier this year. A dressing table from an old theatre with an oak base, marble top and three mirrors for applying makeup was appropriated and rearranged, with the mirrors in the ladies’ bathrooms and the table on a mirrored plinth in the bar. A chandelier composed of hundreds of glass rods that diffuse light hangs over the maître d’, and a variety of pineapple-themed bronze pommels and decorative pieces sustain the ‘Ananas’ motif. These trophies of the expedition both decorate and infuse the space with hints of vintage France.

Glass and mirrors are used extensively to brighten the interiors, with mirrored faux windows and doors at either end of the bar enlarging the space and angled mirrors throughout the restaurant capturing and refracting slivers of action and movement. Coupled with the chandeliers and polished metal fittings, they punctuate and bejewel the more textured, unreflective natural materials.

Furnishings are classic but updated, including custom walnut stained timber table tops with Paris inspired coloured cast iron table bases. Banquettes backed with bentwood chair cane, and Thonet chairs and stools mixed with Frag Titti stools in the bar area, which feature the aesthetic flourish of intricate laser cut leather upholstery.

 

Ultimately the appeal of Ananas is not isolated to one of its elements, but produced by the chemistry between them, with curated details revealing themselves as the space is explored and inspected more closely. 

Ananas
Luchetti Krelle
Photography: Huw Lambert

 

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Design Products
Furniture
MAGAZINE

Living Edge Original Designers Collection

a:         Store Jars by Established & Sons.

Established & Sons was launched in Milan 2005 with a mission to produce products at the vanguard of design and become a name that is recognised as an innovator in the industry.  

Established & Sons is committed to quality UK-based production and fostering the best of British design talent on an international platform. From extraordinary and ambitious domestic pieces to functional workspace solutions, the collection is a reflection of the creativity and skill of the best contemporary design has to offer.

b:         Sharp Series by Craig Bassam

Craig Bassam is an Australian-born designer and co-owner of BassamFellows, who made their interionational debut in Milan 2003. Warm, graphic and organic, their work celebrates traditional materials and techniques and displays superb craftsmanship.

c:         Leather Desk by Craig Bassam

d:         Soft pad Chair by Charles and Ray Eames
With a grand sense of adventure, Charles and Ray Eames turned their curiosity and boundless enthusiasm into creations that established them as a truly great husband-and-wife design team. Their unique synergy led to a whole new look in furniture. Lean and modern. Playful and functional. Sleek, sophisticated, and beautifully simple. That was and is the "Eames look."

e:         Showtime Vases by Jaime Hayon

Born in Madrid in 1974, Jaime Hayon can boast one of the most glittering careers to be seen in the recent history of contemporary design. Although born and trained in Madrid, he was forged as a designer with Fabrica, the breeding ground of creativity run by Benetton near the Italian city of Treviso, where he arrived in 1997, when he had barely turned 24, to work under Oliviero Toscani, who would soon put him in charge of the design department. It was at Fabrica that he first worked with BD on the Mail Me project. 

In 2004, Hayon decided to branch out on his own, so he settled in Barcelona and began working on a number of projects while also exhibiting his more personal work in art galleries.

f:          Tray Rack Side Table by Craig Bassam

g:         Torch Lights by Sylvain Willenz

Sylvain Willenz is one of Belgium’s leading designers. After graduating from the Royal College of Art in 2003 and having lived in the UK for seven years, Willenz set up his studio in Brussels in 2004. Willenz’s work deals with projects from lighting to product design and furniture. His approach to design is characterized by a clear love for materials and processes. The work-spirit is straightforward and frank. Whilst remaining simple, design solutions are relevant, innovative and powerful. Projects celebrate design, archetypes and industry.

h:         Showtime Chair by Jaime Hayon

i:          Two Time Clock by Sam Hecht

Sam Hecht, born in London 1969, British industrial designer. Sam Hecht and Kim Colin are retained designers of Muji. Sam Hecht and Kim Colin founded Industrial Facility in 2002, a design studio based in London.  

j:          Desk and Storage Unit by Charles and Ray Eames

k:         Limited Edition Wire Base Table by House Industries

Known throughout the world as a prolific type foundry, House Industries has made a considerable impact on the world of design. In their illustrious career, House artists have mastered a large cross-section of design disciplines. Their typography deftly melds cultural, musical and graphic elements. 

From early forays into distressed digital alphabets to sophisticated type and lettering systems, House Industries’ work transcends graphic conventions and reaches out to a broad audience. What ultimately shines in the House Industries oeuvre is what always conquers mediocrity: a genuine love for their subject matter.

l:          Walnut Stool by Charles and Ray Eames

 

m:        Executive Task Chair by Charles and Ray Eames

n:         Font Clock by Sebastian Wrong

Sebastian Wrong’s ten-year career in the manufacturing sector has accumulated in an impressive array of technical skills. Wrong first studied sculpture before going on to establish his own successful manufacturing company.

The Spun lamp, designed by Wrong in 2002 and produced by Flos, won the prestigious Red Dot Design Award. Wrong is also a founding member and currently the Design Development Director of Established & Sons.

o:         Mono Executive Desk by Wolfgang CR Mezger

Wolfgang C. R. Mezger, born in 1951, is one of the world’s most renowned specialists for executive offices and was a lecturer in London, Berlin and Schwäbisch Gmünd. Harmonious concepts and intelligent details are the hallmark of Mezger’s aesthetic philosophy. He finds the answers to complex questions with ingeniously simple solutions. His feeling for the spirit of the times speaks to the customer. This can be seen in products for names such as Renz, Artifort and Davis. At Walter Knoll, it can be seen in the office lines Icon, Headoffice 3200 and Frame, as well as the Lipse chair.

 

Photography: Tim Robinson

Living Edge 

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Happenings
What's On

‘Works in China’ at Ausin Tung Gallery

Pieces as diverse as sophisticated highly polished cast aluminum chairs, transformed newspaper-based furniture and a marble grave in the exhibition of work by British born designer Michael Young gives an insight into his passion of connecting art and design with the opportunities presented by China’s manufacturing revolution.

Michael sees the work not as Design but as Industrial Art where some of the highest levels of manufacturing have been employed. His decision to centre his practice in China and the integration of the sophisticated manufacturing techniques available there have resulted works that are not only consumer products but works collected by galleries and institutes around the world.

Michael Young’s collaboration between Western designers and Chinese artisans and industry is a great example of the interaction that the Australia China Art Foundation seeks to develop with Australian artists.

Founded in London in 1994, Michael Young Studio subsequently set up a base in Hong Kong in 2006. Young recognized the strength in the responsiveness and versatility of Chinese industry and quickly formed strong links with local manufacturers. These connections provided Young with the opportunity and means to experiment with progressive materials and innovative methods of manufacture. Young’s inquisitive nature and willingness to experiment are his greatest strengths and his border-defying designs continue to push the limits of what is possible.

In a practice that spans electronics, furniture, transportation systems, consumer products and interiors, Young has provided innovative designs for numerous brands including Chivas, Georg Jensen, Lacoste, Lasvit, Shanghai Tang and o.d.m. Young is currently Creative Director of EOQ, a company he helped launch in 2012. Most recently Young has been appointed as the head of the design team at Moke International to re-launch the beloved car that last rolled off the production line more than 20 years ago.

Young has played a major role in developing new design systems including the Zipte Link Installation, premiered during the Hong Kong International Art Fair in 2009, which functions as a sculptural installation as well as being an example of intelligent design. Similarly the Folded Newspaper Table utilizes a traditional Oriental paper folding technique to create from individual paper components an interlocking and self-supporting structure, which forms an artistic sheath for the modern table body that can be viewed through the polished glass tabletop.

These and a selection of other iconic pieces from Young’s career will be making the rare journey to Australia for Michael Young: Works in China.

This exhibition will be on display from 6th – 22nd December 2012 at Ausin Tung Gallery, 164 High Street Prahran, Victoria

For more information visit: acaf.org.au/exhibitions/michael_young_works_in_china

michael-young.com

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Fixed & Fitted
Design Products
Accessories

Porcelanosa at Eliza

Designed by Tony Owen & Partners, Eliza sets new benchmarks in six star, luxury city living to create a whole new genre of apartment residence, each generously scaled and beautifully appointed and, unlike other Hyde Park residences, Eliza is limited to just nineteen select residences. Its unprecedented, innovative and sophisticated floorplans, details and finishes are a true revolution in style and substance offering a contemporary luxury lifestyle like no other.

Detail and quality exude throughout the specification. The sensational high end kitchens feature combinations of seductive dark veneers and black glass, with smooth, electrically operated handle-less drawers throughout. Laundry units and butlers pantry’s maintain the impeccable high standards, finished in a highly durable matt white lacquer that is applied during a process that takes up to 2 weeks for each panel and then finished by hand. Porcelanosa Grupo’s involvement extends deeper into the home, as can be seen in the walk-in closets and wardrobes, with the full-floor residences featuring high quality veneered shelving and fireplaces designed from products within the Porcelanosa Grupo range. Unusually for European suppliers of high end joinery products, Porcelanosa Grupo have the facility to enable ‘made to measure’, allowing us to accurately interpret the architecturally designed interiors with each scheme meeting the exacting standards required of the highly acclaimed Tony Owen & Partners team.

Introduced into the Australian market in 2011 Porcelanosa Grupo are quickly establishing themselves as the product of choice for high end developments. With an emphasis on affordable high-end products, the Porcelanosa Grupo collection is both inspirational and surprisingly cost effective. With amabassadors that include George Clooney, Nicole Kidmand and Prince Charles, it is one of the few brands that could add value to a property’s description and is therefore perfectly suited to developments that seek to add that something extra. As part of a global network of Porcelanosa Grupo distributors, the extensive and flexible collection can be seen in some of the world’s finest residential developments, including the Aspire Towers in Phillipines and the Wave Project in Oman. The full collection of products from within the group include washbasins, taps, baths and sanitaryware ensuring that most design briefs can be addressed from within the groups portfolio.

The Eliza development is due for completion in May 2013.

Porcelanosa

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Design Products
Furniture

‘Tablet’ table from Poliform

Tablet tables are a series of low tables with both round and square sizes, which are now completed with a round dining table. The tables' design is signified by the distinctive wooden legs which have been carefully crafted with curved surfaces and rounded corners. The inspiration for their form comes from ornamental pendants fashioned and worn by the Maori peoples of New Zealand. Thanks to the table structure, the tabletops appear to float above the legs, giving the Tablet tables an elemental, sculptural quality.

Legs in canaletto walnut, wengé stained ash, white or black lacquered beech.
Top in white Carrara, black Marquinia or brown Emperador marble.

Available from Poliform

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People
Design Hunters
Conversations

Paolo Piva at Poliform

Who is Paolo Piva?

Born in Adria, Italy in 1950, Paolo Piva studied architecture at Venice University under Carlo Scarpa, graduating in 1968. In 1975 he began working for the Institute of History and Architecture of Venice together with the Academy of Applied Arts of Vienna, on an important exhibition about Vienna during its socialist period. This research ended in 1980 with the exhibition Vienna Rossa, where, together with Manfredo Tafuri, he took care of the catalogue and the organisation of the exhibition.

Since beginning his industrial design career in 1970, Piva has collaborated with some some of the world’s leading and most innovative furniture companies such as Poliform, B&B Italia, Fama, Giovannetti, Dada, Tetrad, Wittman and De Sede. He has been involved in many projects such as the restructuring of the head offices of French fashion designer, Charles Jourdan in Paris in 1985, the restructuring of the Palazzo Remer in Venice and in 1988 he became the Professor of Design at the Academy of Applied Arts in Vienna.

Vienna and Venice are still today the poles of his life, he has studios in both, and in Vienna he also teaches at the college of applied arts. And both are an inspiration for his success: “Vienna motivates me intellectually, in Italy I profit from spontaneous vitality.” Piva has created designs for renowned furniture companies, but also for numerous impressive buildings.

What makes his work so unique and successful?

For Paolo Piva design is “a continuous process which starts with consciousness”. And that is how he sees his work too: a design is not just the product of a certain idea or a certain order, but develops out of a continuous occupation with the theory of design.

What is his relationship to Poliform?

In 1970 he formed a partnership with Poliform, and has been a key creative for the company. From 1989 to 1998 designed the factories of Poliform at Arosio, Inverigo, Lurago,

What are his most famous pieces?

The Abbinabili collection was introduced over 20 years ago and is still in production today. It is constantly being updated with current finishes. In more recent years the axia sideboard was brought into the collection in 2010 and has evolved into a family of furniture pieces in a wide range of finishes.

He has also been involved in significant architectural work across the globe such as galleries within the Florence's Uffizi and private projects including the ‘Hummingbird’  Villa in St Vincent and the Grenadines.

Do you have any of his pieces in your home?

Yes, I invested in an Alea kitchen a few years ago and it is as beautiful & functional today as the day it was installed.  

Currently I have my eye on an Angie bed by Paolo Piva. A beautifully resolved, elegant bed fully upholstered in leather.

Poliform

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Architecture
Around The World
NOT HOMES

The Como Hotel, Melbourne

Home to a dress circle of retail outlets, cafes, designer hotels and purveyors of high-end goods, South Yarra is a popular destination for Melbourne locals and visitors alike. The suburb’s fashionable Chapel Street–Toorak Road junction could be described as the pulse of the precinct encompassing, among other things, The Como Melbourne, a boutique hotel that sits within the Signature series of Accor’s MGallery Collection.

Boasting a 23-year tenure, The Como Melbourne is popular among patrons for its spacious rooms, extra deep bathtubs, secret Japanese gardens and notably, its recent interior refurbishment.

Embarking on the refurbishment of the hotel was a slow and painstaking process, with the hotel booked out more often than not, and management opting to keep the hotel open while simultaneously renovating floor-by-floor.

 Melbourne design studio Elsie + Betty are well versed in the design of contemporary hospitality fit-outs and undertook a considered briefing and design development period on The Como.

 

Its original Japanese cultural themes and interior aesthetic provided a strong frame of reference for Elsie + Betty’s Valentina Kopilas who says: “We were inspired by the strong Japanese theme and Japanese gardens which lead off the rooms.” Here she highlights design details such as the recurring maple leaf motif found within many of the rooms.

The hotel building, shaped in a semi-circle, houses myriad room configurations across multiple levels. Taking this into account, The Como commenced its renovations with the utmost tact, transforming its many spaces floor-by-floor, over a 7-month period.

While rooms sport new interior structures and furnishings (many of which are sourced from notable Australian designer-retailers such as Jardan), the designers chose to retain some of the more iconic features, such as the extra deep Japanese style bathtubs – “all original, but resurfaced,” notes Kopilas.

The most exciting of The Como’s accommodation is its exclusive penthouses, of which there are three, each fit-out to a theme of Pearl, Gem and Gold.

Here high-end European pieces from Space Furniture are complemented by custom-patterned rugs from Brintons.

 

The penthouses are spread across two levels; the upper levels of Pearl and Gem housing luxury bathing and showering areas, with a sauna room to top it off. By far the most opulent of all three is Gold, an entertainer’s playground complete with baby grand piano.

While the bedrooms are very much the highlight of the hotel, Kopilas highlights the corridors as her favourite design element.

“They have such a great mood when you walk in, with their beautiful halo lights and Brintons custom-patterned carpet.”

True to word, the corridors are spacious and inviting, populated with colourful breakout areas featuring richly upholstered occasional seating, decorative pendants and distinctive graphic panels.

The Como

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Happenings
What's On

The Cool House

Pacific Bondi Beach is a recently completed luxury residential development in the heart of Sydney’s iconic beachfront. A select group of designers, including PTW, Koichi Takada and SJB Interiors were involved in the design of the multi-storey re-development of the Swiss Grand Hotel.

After a whirlwind opening weekend, which marked the sale of the majority of apartments, marketing of the signature “lighthouse” penthouses, is in full swing. As expected, the panoramic views, ultra-luxurious specs and hefty price tags ensure that these iconic havens ultimately remain in the domain of high net worth individuals.

However, thanks to Bill Tikos, the Australian founder of global phenomenon, The Cool Hunter - the design platform that exposes ultra-cool, worldwide trends - everyone with an interest in design will be given access to view a lighthouse but to also get their hands on some of the designer finishes, fittings and accessories on display.

Following a design consultation on the development, Tikos approached developers Rebel property Group and Capit.el Group about creating a pop-up boutique in one of the penthouse display suites. “I suggested creating an interactive viewing and shopping experience in an attempt to challenge the ‘grey’ aesthetic of a regular display suite,” explains Tikos. “I also find that, surrounded by so much choice, people aren’t all that confident about what to buy for their homes. The pop-up shop also represents my recommendation about what goes with what, a one-stop shop of sorts.” Tikos’s fusion of store and interior design, is a prelude to the launch of The Cool Hunter’s online store which will go live in in February next year. 

Everything in the apartment will be on sale, from the kitchen appliances to the furniture, accessories and artwork. Tikos has hand-picked every item, a collection which features a selection of Australian-designed furniture and exclusive, globally sourced items from Zuster, Jardan, Hub, Hay, Dennis Abalos, Loom Rugs and paper artist Ben Jay.

Not content with a single show, Tikos will also be creating a Cool House at Rokeby Studios, a photographic studio in Melbourne owned by Mariija Ivkovic. Given the “empty” nature of the space, Tikos has taken advantage of the blank canvas to create a compelling design that challenges current bricks-and-mortar shopping experiences. “It seems like the fun and wow factor from retail has disappeared,” says Tikos. “This pop-up attempts to show retailers how retail can be done. It’s an attempt to bring the joy and the unexpected back to the shopping experience.” The Cool House will feature installations by Paul Hecker, a car filled with Christmas goodies from Porsche, expect the unexpected from Electrolux and many Australian and global products including Tikos’s “Koo Koo”, a bird-shaped letterbox, which makes its designer debut.

The Cool House at Rokeby Studios, 1/90-94 Rokeby Street, Collingwood, from 29 Nov - 2 Dec

The Cool House at Pacific Lighthouse, Swiss-Grand Resort & Spa, Bondi Beach from 7 Dec – 16 Dec. 

For further inspiration visit thecoolhunter.com.au

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Architecture
Homes
MAGAZINE

Armature for a Window

"Over the past few years we, together, have designed and built this house for ourselves; our friends and family have helped and in return enjoy the hospitality now allowed. 

The inner city site looks to the north-west through a canopy of divergent tree species and up to the ridge along which snakes the cacophonous King Street. The site as we first experienced it held a small timber semi right up on the street with the kitchen/bathroom lean-to leading to an overgrown garden, a Jacaranda at its heart surrounded by a Bangalow Palm, a Norfolk Pine, an Ironbark and a Paperbark creating an eclectic silhouette to the sky.

In the front room of our semi is a small counterweighted sash window, for a while it was the only source of natural light in our living space. So meagre was its luminance we painted every interior surface white to best amplify its presence. By this window we sat for many months talking, sketching and planning and as we talked and sketched and planned our small window took on mythical proportions. The action and detail became synonymous with light and air and as our affection developed these familiar features where manipulated and became the window to our garden, the house little more than an armature.

During the construction we traveled to Kyoto, Japan and in the traditional timber dwellings of the place we discovered an aesthetic of delicate timber construction that resonated with us. It was evident in these buildings that the natural state of decay is intrinsic to the material and hence the architecture. We carried this knowledge back with us and so today the western red cedar’s naked pink hues and the wonderful smell of the first few rains have faded, and the colour is now streaking across the façade. The tougher grain is beginning to stand against the softer, a pattern emerging, and as the timber settles into its neutral grey state it will match the colour of the adjacent concrete and the compressed fibre cement sheeting. We hope to see it eventually blacken and the remaining silver sheen catch the afternoon light and make evident its growth and decay.

The house is like those sandstone escarpments on the water, what we imagine as the first of Sydney’s homes. The outside all rough and making evident the passing of wind, rain and time, whilst the inside is smooth and polished and offering sanctuary."

To learn more about the project pick up a copy of Habitus 18, available December 12. 

panovscott

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